The Jacob's Ladder: A Modular Approach
Instructor Karen Hanmer

Virtual Writers' Workshop
Saturday May 13, 2023
10 AM to 1 PM Eastern Standard Time
From wherever you are, via Zoom
(This workshop will be recorded, and video will be available to registered students for two weeks after the workshop)

The Jacob’s Ladder book structure is borrowed from a folk toy traditionally made of blocks of wood held together with ribbons. The structure is held from one end and allowed to dangle vertically. When the block being held is tilted, the remaining blocks flip over in succession, producing a cascading visual effect.

The structure functions on numerous levels: as a codex held in the hand and read page by page in sequence, as a sculpture, and as a delightful object to play with. It looks complex but can in fact be assembled quickly from easily prepared modules: three strips of ribbon attached to a piece of board. It can be made in a home studio with minimal specialized equipment. Instruction will focus on both craft and content.

Students will have the opportunity to examine a variety of finished pieces and models. The importance of creating and refining prototypes will be stressed. Your finished book, plus detailed instructions, will be a valuable reference for future work.


Advance registration is required for all JCBA workshops. For more details or to register, please email JCBA Director John Cutrone ( John will send you an email explaining how to pay your tuition online. It's a simple process.


This workshop has a set tuition fee of $100.


Tablet or computer with Internet connection, access to a printer or copy shop, plus the supplies and materials listed here in this PDF document.


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's work is included in collections ranging from The British Library and the Library of Congress to Stanford University and Graceland, and of course the Jaffe Collection. She offers workshops and private instruction focusing on a solid foundation in traditional binding skills.