Since 1993, Telluride, Colorado has been home to the American Academy of Bookbinding. The historic Old Stone Building in downtown Telluride houses the bookbinding studio. Built in 1909 and constructed of native stone and indigenous red limestone mortar, the building was first used as a livery stable and assay office, and then by old Step-and-a-Half Adams, the local undertaker, for his trade. The building experienced many business incarnations over the decades. Completely gutted and remodeled in 2009 and 2010, the beautifully renovated facility consists of a well lit, 1,400 square foot bookbinding studio and a comfortable student lounge, where books are available for further study, and students may relax before and after class. Students have access to the building 24 hours a day.
Telluride is a spectacular backdrop for this intensive program. In addition to being a designated national historic district and Colorado creative arts district, the town is surrounded by 13,000-foot peaks . . . the sheer force of their beauty and solitude instill a level of peace that welcomes creativity. Out of class, students can hike trails in easily accessed wilderness areas, or amble along the San Miguel River. With cool nights and warm days, nothing beats the Colorado Rocky Mountains as a perfect setting for the American Academy of Bookbinding.
Many of the courses offered at AAB begin with a Sunday evening gathering to meet the other students and the instructor, to become familiar with the studio, and to spend some time preparing for the week ahead. Students in these courses should plan to arrive on the Saturday before class or early on Sunday. It is also advised to arrive on Saturday in order to become accustomed to the altitude if traveling from a lower elevation.
Classes are generally held from 9 AM to 5 PM with an hour break for lunch. The time is divided between presentation of the information, demonstration, and hands-on work. Students have 24-hour access to the studio throughout the duration of the course and are often found working late, coming back in the evening or coming in early, and on weekends for two-week classes. Though this is not expected or required, most students find that they wish to make the most of their time at AAB and are encouraged to approach their learning experience in a serious and focused manner.
In addition to class time, AAB often schedules time for an instructor slideshow and a class party. The instructor presentation usually occurs on Tuesday evenings and the class party is usually on Friday evenings. These gatherings are not mandatory, but they can be a wonderful opportunity for deeper discussion and enhanced relationships within the bookbinding community.
In Telluride, students can choose to make their own housing arrangements or they may stay in AAB-arranged housing if they would benefit from the reduced price. In arranged housing, students stay in condominiums and houses within walking distance of the AAB studio. Usually students are paired in two and three-bedroom accommodations; occasionally a student will have the opportunity to stay in a one-bedroom unit at a higher rate. AAB-arranged housing is available at 4pm on the Saturday before class and must be vacated by 10am on the Saturday after class. The Academy is dedicated to finding accommodations for students as economically as possible, so please let us know your situation and we will try to find a creative housing solution. Seasonal camping (mid-May through mid-October) is available within walking distance of the Academy studio, and there are several National Forest campgrounds within 10 miles of Telluride.
The facilities are excellent and it was great that we were allowed access even late into the night if we wanted. I was glad to take advantage and use the space and equipment as much as possible during the two weeks.