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!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Three Students Graduate at GBW Standards in San Francisco!!!!

AAB Director Monique Lallier presenting the
Fine Binding Diploma to Coleen Curry.

Don Etherington and Monique Lallier in their Halloween costumes.
(Don, where's yours?)

Bob and Karen Hanmer in their matching "Marking Time" outfits.
Very clever!

Graduate Brenda Parsons with Marilyn Mohr and
new graduate Sophia Bogle.

Juror Betsy Palmer Eldridge shows off one of her earlier bindings done when she was 25 years old. Monique, Sophia and Don decide if she would have passed the jury. The verdict: yes!

Don and Monique with the new graduates.

Students Lily Hall, Annette Steele and Ethan Ensign visit the AAB table. We'd hope to see you back in Telluride to continue your studies!

A visit from Evan Ballinger (we want you back in Telluride!)
and Brenda Parsons.

Eleanore Ramsey, Don Glaister and Don Etherington take a
focused look at Coleen Curry's books.

The annual gathering for the Guild of Bookworkers was held in San Francisco over Halloween weekend. Three AAB students presented their Diploma Projects to an esteemed group of jurors for review, and all students passed and were awarded Diplomas at the final banquet on Halloween night. Yeah! This is quite an accomplishment. We have two new graduates in Conservation, Sophia Bogle of Ashland, Oregon, and Ruth M. Strach of North Scituate, Rhode Island. Coleen Curry of Muir Beach, California received a Diploma in Fine Binding.

The jurors for Conservation were J. Frank Mowery, Betsy Palmer Eldridge and Bill Minter. Jurors for Fine Binding were Don Glaister, Eleanore Ramsey and Don Etherington. The jurors were able to meet afterward with the candidates and offer feedback. Many thanks to the jurors for coming early and spending the day reviewing the candidates' work, and to Don Etherington and Monique Lallier for overseeing the juries.

New Oriental Binding a HIT!

Students made incredible bindings with Monique Lallier in her class, New Oriental Bindings. New Oriental Binding is an elegant technique that allows the book to open flat with each page. As Monique describes it: "The beauty of the New Oriental binding is that the book opens flat and no glue touches the sections of the book. The technique is linked to the Japanese style that we all know without the visible sewing. The difference is the preparation of the text block as each section is sewn separately. The covers are also worked on individually and attached to the text block at the end of the process."

Students could use leather, cloth or paper for the covers, and the eight students used a variety of materials for their beautiful books.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Students in Fine Box Making were very ambitious, making more boxes than we had anticipated. This was the kind of class where some students stayed in the studio late into the night (or even into the wee morning hours...I'm talking about you, John!) The boxes were gorgeous. It is always a treat to see new students, some who had never before made a box or a book, jump in and find a new passion. This is a common theme here at the Academy—book lovers who don't know anything about the art of fine bookmaking get a taste, and they become hooked for life. It's fantastic!

We are now deep into our final week of classes, and our full class of 8 students is going well. When I walk into the studio students are engaged in their work and can barely look up at me...every minute counts in a week-long workshop. New Oriental Binding is a simple yet elegant technique that allows the book to open flat without any glue touching the sections of the book. I don't have any finished photos, but I'll post some at the end of the week. Here are a few shots of students focused on their work.....

Thursday, October 15, 2009


It snowed a little this week, but that didn't deter students in Monique Lallier's Fine Box Making Class. Students started with fundamental box making and learned some of Monique's secret techniques. Some students worked in cloth, and others in leather. Monique finds the Buffalo Skins excellent for boxes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monique in Ann Arbor and Telluride

Director Monique Lallier is in her fourth week of teaching, having taught for one week in Cheerio, NC, then two weeks in Ann Arbor, and now two weeks in Telluride. What a busy schedule! Her two week class in Ann Arbor, Fundamentals of Bookbinding, was outstanding. Her is a photo of Monique with her students.

This week in Telluride she is teaching Fine Box Making, and next week she'll teach New Oriental Bindings. Talk about diverse! That's our incredible director! Stay tuned for more photos.


Many of you know that the Old Stone Building is getting a complete remodel. Yeah! The roof was completely taken off and is getting redone, the drywall downstairs was pulled off to expose the stone from 1900, and stairs will be relocated and an accessible bathroom will be put in downstairs. Here are a few photos to see what is happening. The building should be ready by April 1, 2010, just in time for Spring classes.

Buffalo Skins from France

We ordered some beautiful Buffalo Skins from Remy Carriat. Don and students are cutting the skins into quarters. There are lots of colors to choose from, and the skins are excellent quality...very few nicks and dings.

DON GLAISTER: What was the Alternatives Class really about?

Don Glaister's class that ended on Friday, Introduction to Alternative Techniques, was fabulous. It was everything the description said it would be: learning really cool decorative techniques and concentrating on how to implement these techniques into a design binding. Students explored all sorts of neat techniques that Don has developed and perfected. Students were also challenged to think about how to incorporate these new techniques in a design for a leather binding....that was the hard part! I personally think the design part of leather bookbinding is the most interesting, and can be the most creative. I could feel the intense thinking going on in the studio each day, as participants used their imaginations to come up with visual imagines that related their books. Some of the techniques that Don demonstrated were: drawing on leather, using an airbrush, feathered onlay, board forming, leather molding, blind tooling, and different techniques for paring and sanding. They also made some custom brass tools. Enjoy the photos!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


On the weekend between Don Glaister's Intermediate Fine Binding class and his Introduction to Alternative Techniques class, the students who stayed over took an excursion up to the top of Imogene Pass. This is a pass over 13,000 feet that is just above the Telluride valley. Daniel Tucker was the tour guide, and at one point, everyone had to get out and push the Suburban up the hill through some snow!

Don's "Alternative Class" started this week. Students are busy thinking about how to design their covers using interesting techniques that Don has developed and perfected. This class will be offered in San Francisco at the San Francisco Center for the Book next March, so I'll post more photos the in the next few days to give you an idea of what you could be learning.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

2010 Schedule Now ONLINE!!!

Our 2010 schedule of classes is now available on our updated website:


What isn't posted there yet are two classes at satellite locations: Boston at the North Bennet Street School, and San Francisco at the San Francisco Center for the Book. Here is a short description of those two classes:

SATELLITE CLASSES: San Francisco and Boston
The American Academy of Bookbinding is partnering with the San Francisco Center for the Book, the Hand Bookbinders of California and the North Bennet Street School to offer specialty classes with AAB faculty members. By expanding some of AAB’s offerings to the east and west coasts, students will have an opportunity to study with AAB faculty and not have to travel to Telluride or Ann Arbor.

San Francisco, California
March 22-26, 2010, five days
Donald Glaister, “Introduction to Alternative Techniques”
Course Fee: $800

Boston, Massachusetts
June 2010, dates TBA, five days
Monique Lallier, “New Oriental Bindings”
Course Fee: $800

For more information and to register, please contact Judy Kohin, aab@ahhaa.org, 970-728-8649.

Photos from Don Glaister's Class

Don Glaister's two week class, "Intermediate Fine Binding" is wrapping up. What a wonderful two weeks it has been. With the Old Stone Building being remodeled, classes were held in the Depot. I was nervous about the temporary space, but it worked out just fine. We had only one board shear, and with eight students it was not a problem (hey, maybe we don't need three board shears after all!)

Students traveled from Vancouver, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Wyoming.

Don will teach "Introduction to Alternative Techniques" next week. Stay tuned to find out what that is all about!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Don Etherington working with Student Marta Gomez from Madison, WI.

Don Etherington with Students in Ann Arbor, Fall 2009.

Eric Alstrom in the front of class at Hollander's.

The master, Don Etherington.

The fall session of the American Academy of Bookbinding started in Ann Arbor and Telluride. Don Etherington is teaching a combined class, Treatments of Textblocks and Sewing, and Finishing, in Ann Arbor. From what I hear the class is going well, Don is in top form, and students are loving it!

In Telluride, Don Glaister is teaching Intermediate Fine Binding. With the Stone Building under construction, classes are being held at the Depot, and though the studio is a little smaller, the location next to the San Miguel River is charming. Students are out sanding on the patio next to the river. Fall colors here in Telluride are about to peak.

Check out a few photos with more to come in the following days.

Our 2010 Schedule of classes is now posted on our updated website, www.ahhaa.org. Click on American Academy of Bookbinding. The site still needs some work, but basic information is available. Please call or email if you would like more information or if you want to register for any 2010 classes. They should fill fast!