2022WKSP-09 The Ethiopian Binding - Online

  • 07 Nov 2022
  • 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Online using Zoom


Registration is closed

Instructor: Karen Hanmer

Location: ONLINE using Zoom

Length of workshop: 4 Evenings, Mondays, 2.5 hours per session

Dates: November 7, 14, 21, & 28, 2022

Hours: 6:30 PM – 9 PM Eastern time zone (Toronto/NY Time)

Course fee: $730 members / $790 non-members

Materials Kit & shipping fee: Included in course fee if participant is in Canada or USA

Prerequisites: Bookbinding 1 or instructor’s permission. Students should be making sewn books independently, outside a workshop setting.

Registration closes Sunday, September 25, 2022, 11:59 PM


NOTE: The workshop fee includes the costs for a full materials kit and shipping. Registration must close comparatively early so that kits can be shipped to registrants so please register as early as possible! 

Any registrants outside of Canada or the US must contact workshop@cbbag.ca PRIOR to registration because there might be additional shipping costs.

This is a fast-paced intermediate-level workshop. Please contact workshop@cbbag.ca to discuss the requirements of this workshop if you don't have the pre-requisites but are still interested. 

The workshop will be recorded, so participants can work along or watch and do the work independently in between sessions.  CBBAG recommends attending even if not intending to work along so that participants can benefit from the opportunity to ask questions live.

Each recording will be available within 24 hours of each session being completed. All the recordings will be available for 90 days after the final session of the workshop.

The Ethiopian binding structure may have emerged as early as the fourth century and has been in use unchanged for centuries. This humble, elegant binding opens flat and is the inspiration for many contemporary “Coptic” book arts structures.

Characteristics include wood boards trimmed flush with the text block, paired sewing stations, and chain stitch-sewing that enters the board edge to incorporate board attachment.

Historically the text blocks were made of vellum. Any covering would be done with goatskin. If the boards were to be left uncovered, no endband was added. If the boards were partially or fully covered in leather, braided leather endbands were sewn on after covering.

In this workshop, students will make a full-leather binding with braided leather endbands and cloth board linings. We will begin by folding and punching sections, and drilling holes into wood boards. Simple tooling will enhance the finished binding.


Binding and covering:

·        Bone and Teflon folders, a variety of sizes, one coming to a fine, tapered point

·        Scissors

·        Awl

·        Ace bandage

·        Small cutting mat, 9 x 12" is adequate

·        X-acto knife/scalpel/Olfa with several extra blades

·        12" ruler

·        Large and small brushes for paste and PVA

·        Beeswax for sewing

·        Pencil and paper for notes, diagrams, calculations, measurements

·        Old washcloth/dishcloth to keep book and workspace clean

·        Sponge and a dish for water

·        Section punching cradle (Instructions to make one are here: www.philobiblon.com/bonefolder/vol1no1contents.htm)

Wood and leather working:

·        Dremel or hand drill (like Fiskars #85167097J)

·        1/16" drill bit

·        Please note: To use small drill bits in a Dremel you may also need the #4486 MulitPro keyless chuck (www.dremel.com/en_US/products/-/show-product/accessories/4486-dremel-chuck)

·        Scrap of wood or stack of scrap board to drill into, about 1" thick and 4 x 6"

·        6 x 4" piece of non-skid shelf lining

·        Small C-clamp or quick-grip clamp

·        1/4" (6 mm) chisel

·        Microspatula, Talas #TTB002001 or similar

·        Square with base, Talas #TTB041001, or some device to aid in marking sewing stations in boards. This item will also keep text block square.

·        Dividers, Talas # TTB033004 or similar

·        For the woven leather endbands a small chisel, 3/16" (4 or 5 mm) is ideal, though a large awl will work. A beautiful micro chisel from Shanna Leino is available through her website or Talas. Micromark.com carries mini chisels, and tools this size for wood or linocuts would also work.

·        Needle-nose pliers for sewing endbands


·        A small vise is useful to hold the boards when drilling the diagonal holes.

·        Finishing tools in geometric shapes (traditional for these bindings), or any desired.


Karen Hanmer’s artist-made books are physical manifestations of personal essays intertwining history, culture, politics, science and technology. She utilizes both traditional and contemporary book structures, and the work is often playful in content or format. Hanmer’s work is included in collections ranging from The British Library and the Library of Congress to Stanford University and Graceland. She has served on the editorial board of The Bonefolder, as Exhibitions Chair for the Guild of Book Workers, twice as a presenter at the Guild’s annual Standards of Excellence conference, and as juror for CBBAG’s 2013 The Art of the Book travelling exhibit. She offers workshops and private instruction focusing on a solid foundation in traditional binding skills. www.karenhanmer.com

Online Workshop Process:

Materials should be prepared in advance of the workshop to the specifications which will allow participants to take the best advantage of the live format. Please review the technical requirements below prior to registration to be sure you can participate. Questions should be directed to workshop@cbbag.ca

Technical requirements for participation:

·       Access to the internet and to the Zoom application

·       Screen large enough to follow instructor’s video feed (cell phone is not ideal)

·       Microphone or Headset / Webcam

·       How to join a zoom meeting information https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193

Participant-requested cancellations will be accepted up to 3 days prior to the published cut-off date for registration and will be subject to a 10% cancellation fee (a minimum of $5). After that, the full fee will be forfeited. In the event of the workshop being cancelled by CBBAG, the workshop fee will be fully refunded. Membership fees included in the non-member fee above are not refundable.

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Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG)

Charitable Business Number 89179 5445 RR0001

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