The Medieval Girdle Book

$ 695.00

April 23rd, 2018 9:30 AM

  • Instructor: Karen Hanmer
  • Workshop Type: Binding
  • Workshop Status: Open
  • Workshop Start: April 23rd, 2018 9:30 AM
  • Workshop End: April 26th, 2018 5:30 PM
  • Sessions: 4

The girdle book is a Medieval binding structure featuring a long extension of leather which could be attached to a traveler’s belt. The leather extension terminates in a decorative knot.

In this four-day 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 shoulder, then laced on and pegged; sewn headbands; covered in vividly-colored leather; strap and pin closure, simple bosses at the corners, parchment page markers.

Pre-Requisite: This is fast-paced, advanced-level workshop for students experienced with traditional binding.  Students must be able to perform the following tasks with proficiency and at a reasonable pace: mark up, sew on cords. Students should be successfully making books on their own outside a workshop setting.

Materials to Bring: Small triangle, 45/45/90; small container with lid for student's portion of paste; Ace bandage; pencil and paper for notes; old washcloth/dishcloth to wipe unwanted PVA from hands, book and workspace; signature punching jig (instructions to make one here:; small tube rice paste ( OR OR; wood rasp (less than $10) with both rough and smooth surfaces, or low angle block plane (about $90) with freshly-sharpened blade (,41182,41189,46791 OR # 102 or 102 I); scrap of wood or stack of scrap board to drill into, about 1” thick and 4x6"; sandpaper and sanding block, 120 grit; Dremel or hand drill ((like Fiskars #85167097J) Please note: to use small drill bits in a Dremel you may also need the #4486 MulitPro Keyless Chuck; drill bits, like Micromark item # 14143 you will need 3/32” and 3/64”; a sharp 1/4” chisel; strong tweezers or needle nose pliers; dust mask; 6x4" square of non-skid shelf lining; small C-Clamp or quick-grip clamp; 1/16” brass rod, one 12” piece should be adequate; set of needle files; strong wire cutters that can cut 1/16” brass rod and steel upholstery tacks; ball-peen or other small hammer; round nose pliers.

Recommended:microspatula, Talas #TTB002001 or similar; small wire suede brush; square with base, Talas #TTB041001, or some device to keep text block square; freshly-sharpened knife for paring leather; strop for honing leather paring knife; small steel jeweler’s bench block.

Optional and available at SFCB for student use during workshop: bone or teflon folder; ruler; straightedge that can be cut against – this can be the ruler; utility knife; cutting mat; scissors; awl; beeswax for sewing; small and large glue brushes; large paste brush if you use a separate brush for paste; dividers

Workshop Fee (includes $95 materials fee): $695.00

Date & Time: Monday-Thursday, April 23-26, 2018 :: 9:30am-5:30pm

Location: 375 Rhode Island St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Note: Please read over the SFCB Registration Policies before signing up for a class


About the Instructor | Karen Hanmer

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 is winner of the Jury Prize for Binding in the 2009 Helen Warren DeGolyer American Bookbinding Competition. One of only nine graduates of the American Academy of Bookbinding’s Fine Binding program, Hanmer has studied with many notable fine binders. She holds a degree in Economics from Northwestern University. See more of her work on her website at:

Past Student Reviews:

“Good pace, great knowledge.”

“Very professional environment for learning. Time and projects were very well organized.”

“Karen is obviously very experienced, and wants to pass on her knowledge to students.”

“Best class I've ever taken.”

$ 695.00
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103-5133
United States