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state library of queensland
Australian Library of Art

Bookbinding Workshop

By Christene Drewe | 19 June 2012

On Monday 28th May 24 participants gathered in the Studio at the State Library to begin a five day workshop with leading U.S. book artists Keith Smith & Scott McCarney. The workshop was proudly sponsored by The Siganto Foundation. Although the participants’ experience of making books varied from none to accomplished,  all were keen to learn from ‘The Masters’!


 During the introduction to the workshop Keith & Scott suggested that they aimed to demystify binding techniques so that artists could create books which complemented their art practice.

Monday‘s workshop addressed the idea of folding as a mechanism for binding. Various ‘fold-outs’ were prepared and covers attached using ‘3-hole’ pamphlet sewing. 

 ‘Concertina Concentration’ was the focus of Tuesday’s workshop. Concertina folds provide endless possibilities for book artists. Keith & Scott introduced the concept of decorative spine pleats which resulted in some lovely samples being created by workshop participants.


 Lunches, morning and afternoon teas punctuated the workshop for well earned time out!



 There was also time for sharing. Participants were encouraged to talk about their personal work with each other.

 Coptic binding was the topic for Thursday and after learning & practising the techniques the group was treated to some fine examples of Coptic bindings held in the collections. 

Each afternoon, the group was invited to view works selected from the Australian Library of Art collections. Chosen by Helen Cole, these works represented many of the techniques learned in the days workshop.

The Friday workshop stepped through a sewn boards binding. French sewing was used to secure 6 sections of folios. The beautiful stitching is hidden when the cover is attached!



Artist at work.
Keith’s instructional publications are an excellent resource for book artists. Find them in SLQ one search.
More information about Keith's & Scott's artists’ books.


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