Telluride Summer



The Classical Decorative Techniques and Inventive Decorative Techniques classes are offered consecutively and it is highly suggested they be taken in order. If that is not possible how- ever, the two classes may be taken separately in different years with Classical Decorative Techniques as a prerequisite for Inventive Decorative Techniques.

This class will familiarize students with many of the decorative techniques that we associate with design bindings, both historic and modern. Students will focus on a number of techniques with emphasis on inlay and onlay. Each student will work on one or two leather-covered panels, following a progressive series of exercises that become more complicated and introduce a new element of challenge with each step. Using a variety of materials such as wood, metal, different kinds of leather and small objects, students will learn new ways to approach traditional inlays and onlays.

Students will also learn about board preparation, leather paring and shaping, various adhesives and their uses, as well as the precision practices that are necessary in the successful execution of these techniques. The finished plaquettes provide the student with an excellent reference to these techniques for future study.

The objective is to lead the student to a technical understanding that will serve to stimulate creativity and encourage a high level of finesse. This course does not include gold tooling and titling, which are offered as separate comprehensive AAB classes.


JUNE 11 – 15 | MONIQUE LALLIER | $800
This one-week course is an exploration of decorative techniques not typically associated with leather bookbinding. Students will use the rich array of materials and techniques learned in the Classical Decorative Techniques class, and expand on them as the foundation and springboard for improvising applications unique to their ideas as contemporary design bookbinders. With Monique’s guidance, students will explore design, combine, alter and develop their own versions of traditional decorative techniques and invent new ones. Students will also learn to use such simple and effective techniques as leather sanding, leather painting, craquel, lacunose, and feathered onlay.

The experience gained in this class will result in the student’s ability to adapt and grow as a design binder, creating exciting and innovative bindings for a wide variety of texts.

Taking a workshop with Monique is always a special experience. To have the benefit of her incredible knowledge, her problem-solving skills, and her creativity make for a unique learning experience.


JUNE 25 – 29 | LANG INGALLS | $800
If you have never taken a bookbinding class before, this is the class for you. This is a one-week class devoted to the fundamental building blocks of bookbinding; it is an introduction to the binding of books into cloth and paper covers.

Starting at the very beginning, students will learn about paper grain, cutting and folding, making and sewing the signature and producing a pamphlet binding. From there they will expand to learning different sewing structures for multi-signature books, exploring various ways to highlight the beauty of exposed sewing as well as preparing a simple case binding. Introduction to the essential tools of the trade will be covered. Students will learn techniques, tricks and habits that will prepare them to progress to the next level or to practice and explore on their own at home. The marvels of paper, the details of sewing, the characteristics of an attractive book cover and more are taught in this class.

To have Lang there sharing her positive perspective and being the recipient of her generous instruction doubled the quality of an already incredible experience.


JULY 2 – 6 | COLEEN CURRY | $800
The ‘Tue-Mouche’ is a sewn hinge, soft-cover binding that was first developed by Ben Elbel. The binding will make use of vellum (parchment), paper, thread and a little glue and yet offers all the features of a more formal leather binding – protection, accessibility and durability. A nifty structure, and an elegant one, with its yap edges (covers folded at the edges) and discreet exposed sewn hinges, this structure offers generous portions of simple construction, intelligent design and understated elegance.

The ‘Tue-Mouche’ binding provides an excellent stress-free opening and protection for the text. The structure allows for a myriad of decorative opportunities: color choice in both paper and thread; sewing variations to create subtle but effective design features; loop or clasp closures; and embossing and decorative hole punches in one layer of the cover.

Students will make two bindings during this one-week course. The first will be of a heavy paper called Zaansch Board, made exclusively at a working windmill in Holland since the 16th century. The second binding will be made of limp vellum.

This class is open to those interested in bookmaking and binding, though some experience with binding materials, tools and processes will be helpful.

What I love about Coleen is her ability to embrace invention and run with it. To learn new structures and techniques from her is such a joy.


JULY 16 – 27 | SOL RÉBORA | $1800
This two-week master class with Sol Rebora is inspired by two very different facets of her personality: her interest in conservation techniques that prolong the life of art objects (specifically books), and her passion for elegant design and craftsmanship in bookbinding.

Students will first learn Sol’s method of binding construction using her “reversible stub” structure. With this technique she sews books in such a way that a book’s signatures can be removed, repaired and re-assembled without damage to the binding. Students will utilize this technical element and many others, as they are guided through the development of a full leather binding

Next, there will be discussion and consideration of techniques, materials and design options as students explore Rebora’s fine binding methods. Specifically, the class will investigate and make bindings that incorporate some of her prize-winning techniques such as leather incision (with Japanese paper underneath) piecing leather and layering of materials. Students will explore these techniques and be guided in choosing the ones that best achieve their desired result. The end product of this class will be an inventive and elegant binding that will remain healthy for many, many years to come.

The American Academy is always pleased to bring special guest artists to our studio who offer new, uniquely challenging approaches and insights to serious and experienced professional level book- binders. This year we are proud to host Sol Rébora from Argentina. Sol’s innovative techniques and artful aesthetic will inspire all who participate in this master class opportunity.


AUGUST 13 – 17 | RENATE MESMER | $800
Participants will learn various repair techniques for tears and losses, humidification, basic washing and deacidification of paper. Morning lectures will cover history of paper making, basic paper chemistry, material studies as well as damage analysis and condition reports. The goal of this course is to apply as much of the theory in hands-on treatments as possible and give ample time for practice. Students who are interested in the Diploma Program should bring 3 textblocks in need of treatment and sewing, preferably not more than one inch thick and 12 inches tall. If possible, the texblocks should have been printed before 1850. No prior conservation experience is necessary to attend this class. Students should have some basic working knowledge of bookbinding to maximize their learning experience in this class.

Without a doubt, Renate Mesmer exceeds my expectations of what conservation is all about. Her instruction is professional and thorough and, she makes this serious business fun!


AUGUST 20 – 24 | SIALIA RIEKE | $800

“Cuir-ciselé” means carved or cut leather. Used in medieval bindings for its immediacy, cuir-ciselé was revived by the Art Nouveau binders for a spontaneous and expressive line. In this simple process a blade is used to emulate the fluidity of a pen in motion. With experience and finesse these cut lines create a drawing, abstract or realistic, on the surface of the leather. Unlike a drawing on paper, cuir-ciselé delivers the visceral punch of being three-dimensional. The dynamic motion of incising the line leaves its mark of authenticity on the finished book.

This class will explore cuir-ciselé and other techniques that have been used in conjunction to enhance the effect: molding, cold-punching, dying and painting. We will use specialized leather working tools to depress and raise a low relief and to punch patterns into the background. Students will experiment with water based and alcohol based dyes, inks, and acrylic paint. We will do some drawing exercises to develop a “vocabulary of line” so that the lines ultimately incised onto the leather will speak in harmony with what is being depicted. These exercises will help those new to drawing, as well as those with some experience, to move their hands with confidence and clarity. There will also be plenty of practice cutting with the blade. With Sialia’s guidance, more experienced binders may wish to challenge themselves to inlay a panel of cuir-ciselé into a maquette or binding. No previous binding experience is required, but good hand skills and focused attention are necessary for maneuvering the blade.

Sialia’s talents are a rare combination of painting finesse and meticulous care in bookbinding — her unique style is impressive and not something you see everywhere.