Jacob's Ladder
Instructor Karen Hanmer

Virtual Writers' Workshop
Saturday April 10, 2021
10 AM to 1 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From wherever you are, via Zoom

This artists’ book structures function 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 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. 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 (jcutrone@fau.edu).


This workshop has a set tuition fee of $100.


Required Tools:

• Letter-size waste paper
• Bone or teflon folder
• Small self-healing cutting mat
• Small scissors
• Ruler
• Metal straightedge that can be cut against (this can be the ruler)
• X-acto, scalpel or olfa knife and a few extra blades
• Small glue brush


• Dividers (do NOT purchase just for this workshop)
• Sandpaper to tidy up the edges of the book board
• Corner rounder that will cut board
• Rice or wheat paste for application of tissue to board edges (unnecessary but will give you more open time)
• Whatever tools not on this list you always find useful

Required Materials:

The workshop model has a folded page size of 3x3". Of course, future books you make using this structure can be any size you wish. The dimensions given for some pieces are rough cut only. The workshop will provide information for cutting each piece to size in relation to other parts of the binding.

If you are making an important book that has a very large page size or is significantly thicker than the workshop book or a book that is significantly smaller in scale, make a model first to determine if the structure is appropriate, and what materials need to be scaled up or down.

Unless noted, all materials are grain direction parallel to the spine. Dimensions below are (height) x (width).

• Imagery printed on cardstock (or images from old calendars/books/magazines mounted to cardstock, or simply two different colors or patterns of cardstock). At minimum: 12 pieces at 3" square, plus a few extra in case of mishaps.
• Book board: 6 pieces, cut into 3 1/8" squares.
• Ribbon, 3/8" wide, in two colors: Color #1: 5 pieces at 6". Color #2: 10 pieces at 6".
• Thin, colored Japanese tissue to wrap edges of board: 6 strips at 13" x 1/2".
• Cardstock to use as jigs to mark placement of ribbons.


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.