Hands On Workshops for Fall 2018                                               

Classes at HANDS ON focus on sound structure and use of materials for traditional bookbinding and the execution of artist books. Students will benefit from Priscilla’s years of production binding, learning methods that offer speed and efficiency without compromising quality of the work.

Registration details appear at the end of class listings. Truth or Consequences is a popular hot mineral water spa town with a range of accommodations. 

Hotel recommendations will be made upon registration.

To reserve space or ask questions, please email me: Contact Priscilla



 The Flatback Case Binding

Saturday, August 25, 2018

9:00am – 4:00pm // $100 ~ materials included                      

LEARN OR REVIEW THE BASICS  for making a traditional case bookbinding at this one day workshop.  Students will hand bind one 1/4 cloth, flatback case binding (cloth on the spine, decorative paper on the boards). Methods learned prepare students for all future Hands On Bookbinding workshops,  whether choosing a path to traditional fine binding or focusing on artist book structures, or box making.  

  • Sewing text sections
  • Measuring & cutting
  • Working with adhesives
  • Importance of material grain direction
  • Easy casing-in methods for text to case attachment

Bookbinding Warm Up is a Prerequisite for all other Hands On Bookbinding workshops. Class limited to 6 students, 3 minimum. Repeats  September 14, prior to the next level class.


THE ROUNDED SPINE for Case Binding.

September 15 & 16, 2018

(Saturday & Sunday) 9:00am – 4:00pm
$195. ~ materials included.

Building on the techniques taught in the Bookbinding Warmup class, students will learn to shape (round and back) the sewn text, paying close attention to the control and use of spine swell created by the folded and sewn sections. Two rounded case bindings will be made during this workshop: one bound in quarter cloth and decorative paper and the other covered in full cloth. Students gain more experience in measuring, cutting, assembly and casing-in books.

Prerequisite: BOOKBINDING WARMUP (Repeats Friday, September 14).  

Class limited to 6 students, minimum of 3.



October 13 & 14, 2018

(Saturday & Sunday) 9:00am – 4:00pm
$235. ~ materials included.

The drop-spine box, popularly known as the clamshell box, opens like a book. It is constructed with an outer case, which has two interlocking trays attached to it. Versatile, it can be used to protect and house books, prints, photos, or other unusual objects.

Each student will first make a pre-cut 8-1/2 x 11 inch box to learn the sequence of assembly and covering. Then they will have an opportunity to custom make a box for their own personal item, no bigger than 11 x 14 inches, by 1-3/8 inches deep. All boxes will be covered in bookcloth, and lined inside with paper.

A clamshell box is a three-dimensional object, and will require spatial thinking and some precise measuring and hand cutting. Simple and useful techniques will be taught to ease this challenge. Class limited to 4 students.   BOOKBINDING WARMUP is a Prerequisite (may be repeated upon request October 12)



November 17 & 18, 2018 

(Saturday and Sunday), 9:00am – 4:00pm  
$235. ~ leather, materials included.

Further refinements of the case binding are featured in this class that introduces working with fine goatskin leather. Students learn to pare leather on paring machines. Two books will be completed: a 1/4 leather rounded case with decorative paper on boards, and a 1/2 leather rounded case, which adds leather to the four corners and decorative paper in the center of the boards. Case joints (hinges) will vary in width between the two bindings, the first with the usual pressed groove used on most case bindings; and the other, bound with a tighter joint for a continuous contour, enhanced by back-cornered boards and a shaped, rounded headcap at each end of the leather case spine.

Prerequisite: Hands On Bookbinding’s Bookbinding Warmup and The Rounded Case classes. Upon request, The ROUNDED CASE may be repeated again just prior to this leather course, an option for many out of town students, becoming a 4-day intensive course!

Class limited to 5 students, 3 minimum.

More Structure for Artist Books 
Additional fun with alternative book structures.

December 1 & 2

(Saturday & Sunday)   9:00am – 4:00pm .

 $195. ~ materials included

More variations of structures designed to help the artist/student to think ahead when binding an artist book, but without compromising the spontaneity of their creation. Simple structures using little adhesive will be constructed that give room at the spine to compensate for later additions, such as collage, photos or for engineering pop-up spreads.

Two books will be executed during this workshop with techniques including sewing on exposed straps for one, and the second book made with folded text pages that are tipped (glued) together instead of sewing. Both bindings allow the text to lay flat hen opened to view full spreads. Bindings require no pressing and very little adhesive. What could be more perfect for the artistic temperament?

Prerequisite: BOOKBINDING WARMUP. Class limited to 6 students, 3 minimum.


Some previews for Winter 2019:

Millimeter detail


2 DAY 9:00am-4:00pm 
$225. ~ leather, materials included.

This class transitions the student from the case bound book to the concept of the spine hollow and “in-boards” binding, where the boards and the book spines are attached to the text block before it is covered.

Students will focus on one elegant binding based on the Millimeter style. This structure utilizes an attached spine/paper component that acts like a spine hollow and extends over the spine shoulders to the endpaper linings, eventually to be used as a flange for the board attachment. Small amounts of leather are applied to the spine and fore-edge of the book boards, then trimmed down to literally millimeters along edges, which brings attention to the decorative paper on the boards.

Prerequisite: Hands On Bookbinding classes: Bookbinding Warmup, The Rounded Case, and Case binding Refined (to be repeated before this class). Class limited to 6 students, 3 minimum.

This class is designed to transition students to future classes in laced-on boards binding, or fine binding. 


The Authentic Sewn Boards Binding

To be offered Spring 2019

One day,  9:00am to 4:00pm 

$115,  materials included.

This one day class presents the Sewn Boards Binding as originally designed by Gary Frost in the late 1980s. It is not a case binding. Cover boards are sewn on to the text and the spine component allows for a completely flat opening. The edges are trimmed on three sides creating a clean looking, squareless book. Very little adhesive is used on this binding and it does not require pressing.

Priscilla Spitler worked with Gary Frost at BookLab in Austin, TX, when he the developed this structure.   Prerequisite: Bookbinding Warmup preferred but not necessary.



Class size limitations depends on course, from 4 to 6 students (depending on class) minimum of 3. Priscilla’s past students may bypass the Bookbinding Warmup prerequisite, upon approval.

A deposit of $50. is required to hold a place in a class, $75. for leather classes. Balance due by workshop date. Deposit by check is preferred, but Paypal payments may be sent for balance of tuition.  A two week notice of cancellation is necessary to receive full refund of deposit or any prepaid payment.

After an email regarding class space availability, you will be given instructions about options for deposit payment.  To place your name on a mailing list for future classes, contact Priscilla Spitler:  prispit54(at)



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