Guided by Erin Fletcher, explore the innovative book structures of French binder Ben Elbel in this hands-on workshop. Learn unique techniques to craft four innovative bindings while gaining new insights into the art of bookbinding.

Sep 16, 2024 - Sep 20, 2024

Levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced,
Workshop Fee: $1595 (Includes materials kit)
Workshop Duration: 1-week (Monday-Friday)
Workshop Location: On-campus
Class Size: 8

In this workshop, we’ll traverse the innovative book structures developed by French binder Ben Elbel. We’ll explore four of his bindings that are suitable for prints, loose ephemera, and artist books. 

We will cycle through these four bindings: Shrigley, Tue-Mouche, Dos Rapporté, and Pianel. Each of these structures has its own unique features, yet students will find some similarities with the techniques used to create them. The best feature is that each of these structures opens flat.

Tour de Elbel 4 - by Erin Fletcher

Tour de Elbel 2 - by Erin Fletcher

Shrigley – The folded pages can be assembled in a variety of ways and can be used to house loose ephemera, postcards, photographs, and more. 

Tue-Mouche – This paper binding is quite elegant with its sleek design and yapp feature at the fore-edge. The covers can easily be decorated through their layered construction. 

Dos Rapporté –With a similar profile to the Tue-Mouche, this binding utilizes hard covers and allows for the use of materials such as decorative paper, book cloth and leather.  

Pianel – This binding explores the piano hinge technique through a more modern and sleek design.

Tour de Elbel 1 - by Erin Fletcher

Tour de Elbel 3 - by Erin Fletcher

While constructing each structure, students will discover new ways of binding a book through interesting folds and board attachments. We’ll play with a variety of materials from handmade paper to bookcloth to leather. Students will walk away with 4 unique models with the opportunity to play around with each structure.   

Course Requirements

There are no requirements for this class. All skill levels are welcome!

Erin will supply a material kit for each student. This kit will have all the necessary materials required to complete all 4 structures (except for decorative paper). The cost is included in your tuition. 

Tools to bring if you have them:

  • Beeswax
  • Dividers
  • Glue Brush – 30mm
  • Pin Vise
  • Small Flat Glue Brush
  • Small Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • #18 needles 

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Instructor: Erin Fletcher

Erin Fletcher is a fine binder and book artist who graduated from the North Bennett Street School. She opened Herringbone Bindery in Boston in 2012 and offers a variety of hand bookbinding and box-making services to a range of clients and institutions. She teaches in the Continuing Education department at North Bennet and as a co-teacher for the Middle School Book Arts Program. Her work has been exhibited domestically and internationally, and is held in both private and institution collections.