Going to Focus on Book Arts!

Focus on Book Arts logoRegistration for the Focus on Book Arts conference opened up this week and I’m thrilled that I can now say that I’m going! I was afraid to commit to saying it until I had the registration confirmation. This will be my fifth time attending the conference.

Not surprisingly, a number of the workshops are already full. This includes Jill Timm‘s fantastic The Amazing Dremel workshop, which I had the pleasure of attending several years ago.

I had a difficult time making my workshop selections – they all sounded so good. I finally settled on the following:

Sharpening and Maintenance of Tools for Book Arts with Jim Croft:

People learning about sharpening and how to shape specialty knives People obviously do great work without knowing much about sharpening, but knowing how to sharpen and how to shape specialty knives gives you one more ability to overcome the abrasive nature of paper, leather, and paperboard. The blade that can shave any wood for many hours without sharpening will be lucky to last one minute on binder’s board. I cut binder’s board with a utility knife for 27 years before I got a board shear. I also trimmed book edges with many styles of blades and cut into book boards of all ages to reback broken hinges and spines. All of the above require more time spent sharpening than actual working time, which gives one a lot of practice and therefore “long term” maintenance comes quickly. One should be paid for sharpening anyway, but when it’s two thirds of one’s labor, it becomes much more of an issue. We will be using sandpaper for sharpening, but water stones will be discussed as interest demands. Sharpening is “simple” but easier said than done. Three words: 1. Establish 2. Angle 3. Polish.

I was gifted a large paring knife several years ago and it desperately needs to be sharpened. Hopefully, I’ll come back with something that’s actually usable.

Medieval on the Go: The Girdle Book with Karen Hanmer:

The girdle book is a medieval binding featuring a long extension of leather that could be attached to a traveler’s belt. The leather extension terminates in a decorative knot. In this workshop, students will construct a girdle book on the foundation of a typical Medieval binding: text block sewn on double raised supports; wooden boards shaped all around with special attention given to the inside spine edge to match the text block’s natural shoulder, then laced on and pegged; sewn headbands; covered in vividly-colored leather; strap and pin closure, simple bosses at the corners. This is a fast-paced workshop for students who already have some experience with traditional binding.

I’ve taken two workshops with Karen before and they were fantastic. I’m looking forward to developing my skills further with regards to traditional bookbinding. I just hope that I can keep up with the pace of the class (I tend to be slow).

I highly recommend attending the conference if you can. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, Hedi Kyle will be presenting one evening – this is sure to be amazing.

If you’re thinking about attending but need more convincing, shoot me an email. I’m more than happy to share my experiences with the conference.

2 Responses to “Going to Focus on Book Arts!”

By Brea - 13 March 2015 Reply

Yippee! I registered too. I really wanted to take Karen’s class but I know my limits. I’ll just live vicariously through you.

By Elissa - 13 March 2015 Reply

Brea –

I’m a bit nervous about Karen’s class. I have to do some practice sewing before June…


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