Fire-Proof Box

July 2nd, 2024 6:00 PM

  • Instructor: Dominic Riley
  • Workshop Type: Binding
  • Workshop Status: Open
  • Sessions: 6
  • In-person or Online?: In-person

Workshop Fee (includes materials fee): $500
Click here to apply for a Windgate scholarship

Masks are no longer required for workshops, though anyone is welcome to wear one if they wish.

The fire-proof box is the ultimate in Victorian bookbinding craftsmanship. First made by the famous bookbinding firm Zaehnsdorf for Quaritch, the London bookseller, its fire-resistant qualities became legend after the great fire at Riviere's when those bindings already put into their boxes survived the blaze, while those waiting to be boxed perished.

The structure is fairly straightforward and comes out of the fancy leather goods trade, resembling cigar and spectacles cases. Good quality paper is wrapped around a form made to the exact shape of the book. When the desired thickness is achieved, this first, inner case is cut to size and covered in leather. A second form is made around the first, cut to size, capped head and tail and cut in half. After covering, the lower portion is stuck around the inner case, the upper part forming the 'lid'. The whole may then be tooled.

The fire-proof box is strong, functional and elegant. Since it is a time-consuming structure, it is not often made nowadays except for special books.

*This workshop takes place over six Tuesdays to allow for the extensive drying time required*

>> Prerequisite: Experience working with bookbinding leather: paring, handling, etc. <<

Materials to Bring: A leather bound book no larger than 5 x 8"

Date & Time: Six Tuesdays, July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 & August 6, 2024 :: 6-9pm

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

NOTE: Please read over the SFCB Registration Policies before signing up for a class. Registration will close approximately three days prior to the start date of the workshop to allow the instructor time to prep materials for class. We recommend you not wait to register, as workshops that don't meet our minimum enrollment will be canceled, sometimes as much as a week in advance.

About the Instructor | Dominic Riley (he/him)

Dominic Riley Is an internationally renowned bookbinder, artist, lecturer and teacher. He has his bindery in England, from where he travels across the UK teaching and lecturing. He spends part of the year teaching in San Francisco and across the USA. His work is mostly restoration and Design Binding, for which he has won many prizes in the Designer Bookbinders competition. He was elected a Fellow of DB in 2008 and is Patron of the New Zealand Association of Book Crafts. His bindings are in collections worldwide, including the British Library, the Grolier Club in New York and the San Francisco Public Library. In 2013 he won first prize, the Sir Paul Getty Award, in the International Bookbinding Competition. Dominic is a past President of the Society of Bookbinders. Dominic and Michael Burke are co-founders of Book Camp, an immersive residential bookbinding experience which aims to teach new generations of binders.

He has taught masterclasses in the USA, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, at the Centro del Bel Libro in Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Canada.

Past Student Reviews:

“Dominic is a master binder. His skill level is unsurpassed. It is a privilege to learn from him.”

“I have taken many classes from Dominic and he is always a pleasure to learn from, and demanding. He sets a high personal standard of work.” 

Register Now
375 Rhode Island St
San Francisco, CA 94103-5133
United States