Dear Friends, Students, Faculty Members and lovers of books,

This is Deb Stevens. I am the administrative director for the American Academy of Bookbinding based out of Telluride, Colorado. This blog was started as a way for all of us, those who have studied at AAB, friends of AAB, as well as those who want to find out more about this place, can keep in touch with each other during the year. I'll be posting all kinds of photos, news and updates as regularly as possible (or newsworthy). I hope you will also share any bookbinding thoughts, questions, revelations, etc. Send me your photos and let us all know what you're up to. Keep connected!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

AAB has a NEW Website!

This blog is no longer active. Please view our website at bookbindingacademy.org

Thank you!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Stiff Board Vellum


Learning a new structure and completing it in a week, especially using a notoriously uncooperative material like vellum, is quite a feat, but the students in the Vellum Over Boards class are up to the challenge and hit the ground running the very first day!

Sewing text blocks on double raised cords.

Monique took some time from working on her own fine binding which she is completing for the Designer Bookbinders International Bookbinding Competition to show students how to do a double core french headband. Of course, Don was happy to let her use his book to demonstrate.

Jeanne Goodman's first attempt at a French double core headband

The most interesting part of this structure is the attachment of the covering to the boards. A card is attached to the front of the board cover only along the spine side. When the book is covered, the vellum is adhered only to the loose cards on both boards and turned-in over the board. The vellum over the spine is slotted to show alum tawed covered cords but with no adhesive. Leaving the cards and the spine detached allows for the vellum to move freely but still keep its correct shape.

Posting by Jeanne Goodman.

This past week in Telluride, the one week Box Making for Conservation class went on and students got to learn several new box structures to take home and apply in their own libraries! 

Structures taught were a clear spine, four flap box, a clamshell box with a shelf, and rounded spine box. Students brought in their own books so to make custom boxes for each.

Patricia Selinger hard at work putting the walls of her box together.

Tools, Tools, Tools!

"It was so exhilarating to finally make a well-fitted clamshell box that has the vaccuum effect and makes a swooshing sound when closing!"

Posting by Jeanne Goodman, Finishing student.



 Students from around the country joined AAB this spring for the class on Finishing taught by Don Etherington. During the first week, students prepared plaquettes and false spines with raised bands to practice hand lettering for titling, blind and gold tooling using fillets and palettes, and making leather labels using the QuickPrint.

Students covered plaquettes in goat, calf, alum tawed and parchment.

False spine and hand lettering tools
Don expertly pulling gold leaf to the cushion

Calf plaquettes were finished as a cambridge panel, its distinctive qualities include sprinkling of the leather and a centered panel design.

Cambridge panel

Students tool black lines onto leather by holding the tool over an open flame. Carbon deposits are then tooled into the leather.

Eric Nye preparing tool with carbon

Gabby Cooksey tooling carbon line on her cambridge plaquette

Onlays and Inlays by Marc Arend
Don also demonstrated the handtype setter and onlays and inlays that students were able to practice on their own plaquettes.

Second week is the most exciting, students take all the skills they learn in the first week and start tooling on real books! Many of the students brought books in from previous classes such as Forward and Covering to be finished.

Katie Anderson's calf, goat, alum tawd, and cloth.

Katy Anderson with her books!

Mark Arend

Eric Nye
The Finishing and Vellum students with Don Etherington

This class is a requirement for the Conservation Diploma students.

Posting by Jeanne Goodman,  Finishing student.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Sialia Reike, Monique Lallier, Don Etherington, Patty Bruce, Judy Ferenbach, Gabby Cooksey, Lesa Dowd, Pam Wood, Myssie Light Acomb, Gale Buffett, Lang Ingalls.

Yesterday was the big farewell for Monique's Intermediate/Advanced class. As everyone begins the finishing up/packing up process, it seems the atmosphere becomes more subdued as students start to move their focus from their current project to returning home and the responsibilities that await them. The studio becomes more and more quiet as, one by one, they depart. Eyes mist over as goodbyes are said. But it's a happy sad... we know that everyone will be back sooner or later.

Of course, then the vaccuum comes out to override the quiet. Tools are put away until needed again. The studio gets a big cleaning and reorganization to prepare for the next class. I also turn my focus toward the next group and what their needs will be. But before I do so, let me reflect a bit and share some more photos!

Pam with her embossed gold inset.

Gabby's first onlays and tooling.

Gale with the two she was working on.

Myssie happy to have finished this one!

Myssie's bench.

Lesa and her minis in the press.

Don, Lesa and husband David.


Pam and Gale.

Don't know what Don said, but it must have been good!

Gale watches Monique.

Sialia and Gale win the prize for 'midnight oil' burning.

A skiff of snow in the second week.

Thanks to Myssie for these beautiful photos.

Is this the holiday greeting photo or what?    

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Now that the Intermediate/Advanced Fine Binding class is well underway, books that were formally just a glimmer in the creator's eye, are starting to emerge as objects d' art. The diversity of design and intent is amazing. Books are definitely as individual as the individuals who create them. Though they are still in the unfinished form and we know that much more will be done by way of decoration, I couldn't resist giving you a taste. Check back for the finals next go around.

Monique Lallier has been in house for over a week now and we've enjoyed every minute. The students also get the extra bonus of having her husband, well known Conservator Don Etherington, working on his own project (and lending a little advice along the way). A two-fer... not quite, but almost. Wonder if the reverse will be true next week when Don teaches his class? What a package deal! It's been totally delightful to have them both here at once. I think these are nine very lucky students.

Monique and Lang (Teacher's Assistant) do final inspection prior to pasting leather
Learning Monique's French headband - no easy task
Myssie's decoration
Molly gets some 'advice' from Patty
Lesa using her mini plough for her mini books
Patty's stack o' stuff
Gale in the spotlight
Monique works with Gabby as Don looks on from afar
A cover is born...
... of box calf no less
Monique's demo book
Demos aren't always serious when Patty's around
One of Don Etherington's projects
We can't wait to see where the hole leads in one of Sialia's projects
Pam is having a blast in her first class with Monique
Glasses seem to be mandatory for this class
Not bad for Gabby's second class in fine binding
Gale's book after covering and before final decoration
Bird's eye view
 To be continued....