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!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Class started Sunday, May 2

Don Glaister, the new director of the Fine Binding Program at the American Academy of Bookbinding, is in Telluride for three weeks teaching Fundamentals of Bookbinding and Gold Tooling.

After 17 years of watching other students bind books, I am attending my first leather binding class. Yeah! So I'm enrolled in the Fundamentals Class that started Sunday. And I must admit, I'm having a blast!

Attending the class will make it easier for me to describe more completely what is being taught. Here we go:

Day 1:
We met Sunday evening to put our textblocks in the press. I'm making a blank sketch book, so I used 2 1/2 sheets of Arches Text and folded pages to roughly 6.5"x6.5". Then we stacked the paper in boards and the pages were set for the night.

Jeanne's textblock all sewn.

Day 2:
We took our textblocks out of the press and put them together. We sewed them, glued them, rounded and backed them, and glued Japanese paper to the spine.

Don sands the top of the book.
Day 3:
We sanded the top edge and made headbands out of leather and a batonnet that we made from mat board. Then we cut our boards to size and covered our textblocks. Then we made a hollow core for the spine and started paring our leather. We are making a half leather book in a case binding for our first book, and some people are doing spine and corners, and some are doing spine and edges in leather. We sanded our boards (chamfording them). Some people finished paring leather and were able to cover their books today as well.

Don demonstrates how to make a headband with a homemade batonnet and a small piece of pared leather.

Don shows us how to sharpen our knives.

Kirsty pares her spine leather.

Don attaches the leather to his book.

"I can't believe I get to do this!!!" - Don Glaister

What has been such a thrill for me is to see the intimate and personal 'artist' side of Don Glaister as he makes his book. Don is actually binding his own book during the class, and demonstrates all of the techniques right on his own book. This is really a treat—to see a master bookbinder experiencing such joy throughout the process. When he sands his board he holds it up to us with a big smile on his face and says, "See? Isn't that just graceful?" He treats his book not just as any old object but as a perfectly beautiful possesion. He says things like, "I can't believe I get to do this!" while applying paste to his leather spine as he prepares to cover. And he's talking about the fact that he gets to make books for a living. He describes books as either looking "clunky" or "like a dream." Yes we are learning to bind books in leather, but we are also experiencing a gifted artist making his art. This is worth all of the money you pay to attend classes here...it is so much more than just learning bookbinding. It is a two-week immersion into the heart and mind of an artist. Wow. It is a gift for me to be able to attend this class.

1 comment:

  1. Great idea! Love seeing a creative mind work and gain success!!!!!! Hope it continues to grow!