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Artists' Books Coterie




As a book artist and teacher I've always wanted to teach a class like this. A class where we work together over a longer period of time to form a community to support each other's growth. Where we focus on ideas from beginning to end. How to have ideas. How to develop them. How to choose materials and design an artists' book to fulfill your creative vision. Fortunately San Diego Book Arts was open to this idea!


Each month we'll practice new techniques for idea generation, layout and design. We'll learn art-making skills such as printmaking and pop-ups. We'll learn binding structures and their advanced variations to bind our ideas. We'll support each other online as we work on our own between classes. Ultimately we'll have a gallery show of our work.

2020 Schedule

  • Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 8

  • Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5

  • Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3

  • Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7

  • Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12

  • Saturday, August 8 and Sunday, August 9

  • Gallery show of our completed work, hosted by San Diego Book Arts, Date TBD


What will I learn in class?

Why take a series of classes over 6 months?

Can I take this class even if I'm a beginner?

How will I be challenged if I am an experienced book artist?

What happens if I miss a class?

What kind of support will you provide between classes?

What will I be expected to do between class sessions?

What materials and tools will the instructor provide?

What will students need to provide?

What are the materials fees?

What should I do if I have more questions?


What will I learn in class?

Each day's class will have a theme. We'll have activities, learn new techniques, and create a book for each theme. The class is currently structured in the manner below. I expect it will change some as we go along to meet the needs of our class as it develops.

  • Day 1 - Finding Ideas and Images

    • Collaging with found images.

    • Pamphlet stitch book with variations: Gate Fold and Do-Si-Do.

    • Writing book titles, colophons, image titles

    • Basic poetry ideas


  • Day 2 - Idea Generation

    • Make a Single Needle Coptic Stitch Idea Journal

    • Brainstorming exercises

    • Magazine image and word collection

    • Miniature books


  • Day 3  - Translating Daily Practice into Artists' Books

    • Daily photos, sketches, gatherings.

    • Which comes first, the idea? The image? The writing? The materials? 

    • Field Trip: Choosing materials to support your ideas - or finding an idea for the materials you can't resist.

    • Experimenting with image and text placement

    • Miniature accordion books with variations - double sided, interleaved, stitched.


  • Day 4 - Finding Inspiration and Making it Your Own

    • Altering existing images​

    • Clarifying your ideas through writing

    • Learn basic pop up techniques

    • Make an Accordion Book with Pop-Ups


  • Day 5 - Color Theory and Movement

    • Painting in artists' books​

    • Learn how to make Volvelles (Rotating circles)

    • Make Post Bound Color Book with Volvelles

    • Bindings as tools to support your ideas.


  • Day 6 - Printmaking and Texture

    • Gelli plate prints​

    • Carved plate prints

    • Creating texture with printmaking

    • Japanese Stab Bindings and variations.

    • How to create your own design in Japanese Stab Binding.


  • Day 7 - Book as Object/Books with Objects

    • Create artists' book concepts around gathered objects.​

    • Create artists' books that can be objects

    • Finding containers to hold your book and objects

    • What book design to support objects?

    • Make book and container combo.


  • Day 8 - Object as Book

    • Create unique artists' book​s with objects disassembled and reassembled as book parts.

    • How to support the object with text and image.

    • Make Piano Hinge Books using objects.


  • Day 9 - Layout and Design

    • Pacing, page layout​

    • Using text as image

    • White space/negative space

    • Create star tunnel books


  • Day 10 - Photography

    • Editing, storing and using photos​

    • Printer tips and techniques

    • Create Accordion Book with Sewn Pockets for Photographs

    • Make Coin Envelope Books


  • Days 11 and 12 - Presenting Yourself and Your Art

    • Make portfolio wrap​

    • Make "candy" box

    • Create 2 variations on softcover slipcases

    • Make a clamshell box

    • Writing an artist's statement

    • Writing a bio

    • Creating a website


Why take a series of classes over 6 months?

Creating artists' books is a multi-layer, long term process. As fun as it is to take (and teach!) binding classes, students often end up with a shelf full of empty books. Your ideas are important. And fun. And interesting. And artists' books are such a great way to showcase them. We need time - you need time - to develop the ideas, to make prototypes, to create the final version. This class will provide the time and the expectations of making those artists' books.

We want to create a community. My hope as a teacher is that you will continue to meet, give feedback and support each other in your art-making even after the class is over.

Can I take this class even if I'm a beginner?

Of course! It will help if you know what a handmade book is. But each of us will be working at different levels. Some of us will just be starting out. Some of us will have made art and artists' books for years. By meeting regularly over a six month period we will inspire and teach each other. Whether you're new to bookmaking or you're a pro, you'll find that seeing other people's ideas, challenges and solutions can make a huge difference in your own artistic practice. 

How will I be challenged if I am an experienced book artist?

This class is meant to be comprehensive. For those of us who are experienced it will be a way to keep us on track, to create deadlines and expectations. We'll explore why we make artists' books and refine our goals. We'll explore advanced versions of each binding and you can work at your level. I'll give you resources each month to expand what we've learned - you'll be able to stretch your own knowledge, ability, and goal-setting. (And, if you have a particular area of interest you can let me know and I'll make sure to fit it into our curriculum in a way that supports all of our learning.)

What happens if I miss a class?

It's inevitable. You'll miss a class or two. Every class I will provide written instructions and exercises with examples and photos for each step. If you miss a class I'll send you everything by email after I've taught the session. You can also designate a person in the class who will collect physical materials for you. You'll also get online support through our private Facebook group. You can ask questions and get answers quickly.

What kind of support will you provide between classes?

We will have our own private Facebook group. We'll use it to communicate during the month between classes. Have a question? Take a photo of your project and post it. Need feedback on something that is partially done? Take a photo and post it. Binding not working quite right? Can't remember something we talked about? Excited to share something you've found online that supports what we're learning? Post it! You can also email me directly.

What will I be expected to do between class sessions?

Each Sunday afternoon I'll give you the "homework" for the next session. This will include making at least two books in the month between sessions. It will also include activities such as daily art practices for idea journaling, collecting materials for our next session, watching videos that expand on what we've learned, and visiting websites of artists that are experts at whatever we're working on. 

We are each busy and we will have things come up. The idea is to keep you energized and working between the sessions so that you come back the next month with work to share and get feedback on. Some months you'll have more time than others. You will never be "behind." If you don't get to everything during our month break, you'll still have the information to use at a later date.

What materials and tools will the instructor provide?

I will provide the basic materials for every book such as pre-cut Davey Board, cover paper, inside papers, waxed linen, and glue. I'll also have extras of all the tools you'll use so that you can try them in class and decide if they're useful to you before you invest in them. I will also provide written instructions for all of the books, exercises and theories we'll be working on.

What will students need to provide?

Students will provide basic tools such as a bone folder, a ruler, scissors, a craft knife, and a cutting mat.  Each month you'll be asked to bring materials to personalize your work. For example, in the second month you'll be asked to bring 2-4 discarded books with images. Each month I'll tell you what you'll need for the following month. I'll show you examples of what we're going to make so you can have some idea while collecting things.

Students will also provide the materials for the books that they make with their own ideas in between class sessions. 

What are the materials fees?

The materials fees will be $10 per month.

What should I do if I have more questions?

Please feel free to email me at

What will I learn?
Series of classes?
Instructor provide?
Students provde?
Materials fee?
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