The Sewn Boards Binding
Step One in the Series
Instructor Karen Hanmer

Virtual Workshop
Saturday October 29, 2022
10 AM to 1 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From wherever you are, via Zoom.
(This workshop will be recorded, and video will be available to registered students for at least 30 days after the workshop.)

The Sewn Boards binding is Gary Frost’s elegant, modern adaptation of an ancient method of board attachment. Stiffened outer signatures sewn along with the text block function as the book’s boards. The book opens flat. It can be dressed up or down with a variety of spine treatments, board-covering materials, and edge decoration techniques. It can be constructed quickly, lends itself to edition work, and can be made in a sparsely equipped home studio.

The sewn boards is also excellent structures for new binders. Students learn to work with common bookbinding tools, materials, techniques and principles such as grain direction, marking up for sewing, tidy application of adhesive, and measuring one component of the book to fit another.

There are a total of four workshops in this Sewn Boards Binding Series. They are designed to complement each other, but each workshop may be taken as a stand-alone, with no prerequisite of taking the other workshops in the series. Taking all four workshops, however, will give you a firm foundation in this important book structure. The four workshops in the series are The Sewn Boards Binding on Saturday October 29, The Sewn Boards Binding with Hugging Spine Wrapper and Panel Boards on Saturday November 12, Sewn Boards with One-Piece Covering on Saturday December 10, and Sewn Boards with Sewn-In Wrapper on Saturday January 14.

Note: This is a fast-paced, intermediate-level workshop. Students should be making books regularly and independently, outside a workshop setting.


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.

What You'll Need

Computer or tablet with Internet connection plus the tools and materials listed on 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.