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Bookbinding Course Feedback

In response to Peter's call for information on courses attended etc I
would offer the following.

During a recent one month visit to Britain I spent two weeks in the
Bindery of the library  of the  University of Newcastle upon Tyne
(Newcastle is in the north-east of England). The visit came about
from me posting a request for courses in Britain on this list server.
The bindery consists of 12 staff doing a range of jobs from journal &
thesis binding to book repairs and book conservation work both
for the library and for outside bodies, plus presentation bindings.

My interest in binding stems from an interest in letterpress printing
and the art of the book. On arrival my bookbinding skills were minimal,
having attended but a few beginners courses here in New
Zealand. The objective for Newcastle was to receive an introduction to
binding in leather and gold tooling. Owen Bradford (Deputy Bindery
Manager) started me from a zero base, I went through paper grain
to sewing on tapes and cords, hand sewn headbands and ended up with
one old favourite quarter bound book repaired, another newly quarter
bound in leather and a third full leather (the latter two decorated with
gold tooling by my own extra-ordinarily nervous hand!).
Even though it took much more time to do than to summarise I sure left
with a grin like the Cheshire cat.

The things I liked about the "course" was that I was the only student
amongst 12 very pleasant people getting on about their business of
being a bindery. I don't know if there is a mechanism for grading
courses so I'll offer my own. On a 0 (lowest) to  9 scale
everything would be 9, for competence of  the instructor, access to
knowledgeable advice,  access to equipment and materials, opportunity
to follow your own project, pleasant environment and value for money.
Newcastle is quite a nice little city & I would give it an 8. If there was
one thing that I would change it would be to stay for longer and
have a bit more leisurely pace to maintain.

For those located in Britain, or who will be visiting, I would
recommend you consider contacting Owen who will design a course to suit
anyone's needs. Having the opportunity for such concentrated and
individual tuition is worth taking, and the environment adds a positive
flavour to the experience.  You can contact Owen Bradford via this list
or at owen.bradford@newcastle.ac.uk

Lawrence Roberts

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