The Sewn Boards Binding
with Hugging Spine Wrapper & Panel Boards

Step Two in the Sewn Boards Binding Series
Instructor Karen Hanmer

Virtual Workshop
Saturday November 12, 2022
10 AM to 1 PM Eastern Standard Time
From wherever you are, via Zoom.
(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 folios 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.

This workshop highlights the versatility of the Sewn Boards structure by presenting two alternatives to the “classic” quarter cloth with breakaway spine.

• Hugging spine wrapper which does not break away from the spine. Rather when the book is opened the wrapper goes concave, conforming to the spine, providing support without restricting opening. This option is a great solution when the “classic” sewn boards break-away spine is inconvenient for display, function, or aesthetic reasons.
• Dimensional panel boards: the card stiffeners are moved from their usual position inside the outermost cardstock folios to the very front and rear of the structure and covered with decorative paper before being attached to the binding. This sewn boards variation resembles a Bradel or simplified binding.


Advance registration is required for all JCBA workshops. For more details or to register, please email JCBA Director John Cutrone (


This workshop has a set tuition fee of $100.


Tablet or computer with Internet connection, 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.