Our first workshop of 2016 was Magic Boxes taught by Emily Martin.  In this one day class, Emily introduced the construction techniques of this unique box form. This intriguing variation on the Jacobʼs ladder makes a lidded box with divided compartments. The lid can be opened in two directions revealing different compartments depending on the opening direction chosen. The Jacobʼs Ladder is a 2,000-year old Chinese toy. It and its variations have many wonderful applications for contemporary artist bookmakers. Construction and operation of the Jacobʼs ladder was demonstrated and students assemble a model of the magic box using a variety of patterned Japanese papers.

When:    Saturday, June 11, 2016, 10:00 to 5:00
Where:   Folger Shakespeare Library, Werner Gundersheimer Conservation Laboratory
Cost:      $100 for members, $125 for non-members plus a $30 materials fee paid directly to the instructor.


Emily Martin is an artist, bookbinder, and proprietor of the Naughty Dog Press, Iowa City, IA and she teaches at the University of Iowa. Emily earned a MFA degree in painting, from the University of Iowa in 1979, having previously earned a BFA and MA in drawing and painting, respectively. She started the Naughty Dog Press in 1996 to produce her own limited editions of primarily sculptural and movable artist’s books. Martin joined the University of Iowa Center for the Book in 1998, to teach a variety of classes exploring artists’ books, including Movable & Sculptural Books, Paper Engineering & Pop Up Books and Artists Books. During her career she has produced over 35 limited edition artist’s books using a variety of production techniques including letterpress printing, intaglio printing, silkscreen printing, inkjet printing and photocopies. Martin’s books are included in public and private collections throughout the United States and internationally. See the collections page for the full list. Martin is very interested in the intersection of the book as an art form with the traditional craft of bookbinding.

Emily’s books are in many museum collections including Yale, the Library of Congress, Harvard, the University of California at multiple locations, the Newberry Library, the SanFrancisco and New York Museums of Modern Art, The Tate, The Victoria and Albert and many, many more..  Emily has given many workshops, presentations, critiques and seminars.  She has also appeared in many group and color exhibitions as well as multiple publications.
To listen to an interview with Emily by Steve Miller check out the BOOK ART @ ALABAMA! podcast.
In related events, Emily gave an illustrated talk at the Library of Congress on June 9 2016. Sculptural Books: Finding My Way to Shakespeare, focused on her recent work using Shakespeare’s tragedies as source material. Rosenwald Room, LJ 205 of the
Jefferson Building, 2nd Floor.

Tips & Tricks workshop with Master Italian Bookbinder, Luigi Castiglioni
In this “Tips & Tricks” workshop, Luigi Castiglione shared a selection of practical techniques refined over his 20-year career as a fine binder.
Castiglione began bookbinding at the age of 19 and hasn’t stopped since.  He completed the program in 2006 at Centro del Bel Libro in Switzerland under the Master Bookbinder Edwin Heim.  Later he studied with Jean-Luc Honegger, where he perfected binding in box calf.  He returned to Italy to study gold tooling at the Atelier of Hélène Jolis, and later traveled to England to master edge gilding, working under Julian Thomas.  Since 1999 Castiglione has lived in Rimini, working out of his atelier, Anonima Amanvensis.  In 2005 he exhibited 30 bindings at the Antiquarian bookseller Fata Libelli in Paris.  For the past ten years he has worked exclusively for collectors while continuing to research and develop innovative techniques.  Castiglione is considered one of the premier fine binders working in Europe.  His bindings are characterized by a fusion of traditional crafts with contemporary technologies and electronic media.  His process blends the pure spirit of an artisan-craftsman with the working habits of an efficient binder.  Castiglione’s recent work includes non-traditional bindings, sculptural books and collaborate projects with engravers and painters.  His work can be seen on Facebook and at
When:    Saturday, October 29, 9:00 to 5:00
Where:   Folger Shakespeare Library, Werner Gundersheimer Conservation Laboratory

Karen Hanmer’s Springback Binding Workshop


We are very excited to welcome back Karen Hanmer to offer a workshop on the Springback Binding on October 15 and 16, 2016. Karen is a terrific teacher and her previous workshop with us a few years ago was a great success. We look forward to spending more time with her learning new binding techniques and acquiring tips on how to create beautiful books.

The nineteenth century Springback Binding with its enthusiastic opening is ideal for journals, guest books, sketch books, or any application where it is desirable that the book open flat, and then some. The book both opens and closes with a satisfying jolt.

The Springback Binding is also a perfect way to delve more deeply into traditional binding. The book features two-part “split boards,” reinforced “made” endsheets, and a “spring” made of layers of card and paper. With its robust aesthetic, the Springback Binding is a great way to begin working with leather. The paring requires minimalfinesse, and the modest leather headcap is easy to form.

Note: This is a fast-paced workshop for students who have some experience with traditional binding. Students should be comfortable sewing on supports and have successfully made books on their own outside a workshop setting.

When: Saturday and Sunday, October 15 and 16, 9:00 to 5:00

Where: Folger Shakespeare Library, Werner Gundersheimer Conservation Laboratory, 2nd Floor

Cost: $250 for members, $300 for non-members plus a $80 materials fee paid directly to the instructor

This workshop is close to full, please inquire at gbwpotomacchapter AT

In addition to the workshop, Karen will give a talk on her artist’s books and bindings in the Rosenwald Room, Library of Congress, 2nd Floor, at 3:00 PM on Thursday, October 13th. Entitled “Retro Tech”, the talk will discuss how her interest in history and the history of the book inspires and informs her work. We hope you can join us there as well.

Pierced Vellum Binding


The Potomac Chapter welcomed Jim Reid-Cunningham in February 18-20, 2017.

Vellum stiffboard bindings were common from the 16th to the 19th centuries throughout Europe. This course will explore a hybrid modern structure utilizing historical elements found in early versions of the vellum stiffboard binding, but with flexible joints that create less stress. This binding is sturdy and elegant, takes gold tooling well and is suitable for conservation re-bindings as well as for presentation and design bindings.  Using this structure, students will create modern versions of the 17th century pierced vellum binding, with the design created by utilizing a punctured vellum cover revealing decoration on the boards beneath. This course will cover: lap link sewing on vellum tapes; back bead endbands; fabricating and decorating the boards; constructing a stiffboard case; creating a pierced vellum design; and covering in vellum.

Historical examples of pierced vellum bindings can be seen at

And some of the instructor’s at

James Reid-Cunningham studied bookbinding with Mark Esser at the North Bennet Street School and received the distinguished alumni award from NBSS in 2006. He spent thirty years as a conservator at Harvard University and the Boston Athenaeum, and served as the President of the Guild of Book Workers from 2006 to 2010. From 2009 to 2013, he was the adjunct lecturer on book conservation in the graduate art conservation department at Buffalo State College. He is a conservator in private practice in Cambridge, MA. His website is

When: Saturday,Sunday, and Monday February 18-20, 9:00 to 5:00

Where: Folger Shakespeare Library, Werner Gundersheimer Conservation Laboratory, 2nd Floor

Cost: $375 for members, $450 for non-members plus there will be a materials fee.

NOTE: This class assumes basic binding skills.

Animated Structures: Adding Moving Elements to Books

an overhead shot of a star or flower shaped 3 dimensional paper structure
Thomas Parker Williams, still shot of animated paper structure

The Potomac Chapter is excited to announce a workshop on pop-up books with Thomas Parker Williams.

When: Saturday June 16, 2018. 

Where: Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd 20812

Cost: $125 for members, $150 for non-members.  In addition, there will be a $45 materials fee payable in cash directly to instructor at the time of the workshop. We must receive your payment by May 31 for this workshop to run. Workshop registrations are extended to June 5!


IF YOU PREFER TO PAY BY CHECK, please write to the gbwpotomacchapter [at] gmail [dot] com for the mailing address.