We are holding off on offering the GAS Summer Institute until the economy improves. Please do if you are interested because your interest will help us gauge when we should schedule this. In the meantime please consider coming for private study. We are offering a concentration of workshops during the summer of 2011, including The Leather Intensive. Please see the Workshop section of this site for information on our 2011 workshop program.
GAS Summer Institute
(You may download a PDF of the following program description.)
The subject of the GAS Summer Institute is leather bookbinding, including design techniques such as leather onlay and dyeing, gold tooling, and stamping. Students will produce full leather bindings as well as a series of models at various stages of completion. This is a six-week, full-time curriculum of study. Students should expect to work some evening and weekend hours. Because the Summer Institute will welcome up to twelve students for the six-week period we have arranged to provide meals and lodging at the residential housing of nearby Williston Northampton School.
instructor: Daniel Kelm and guests
dates: full time, six weeks (not on the schedule currently)
location: One Cottage Street #5, Room 5-03, Easthampton, MA 01027 U.S.A.
Garage Annex School classes take place in Daniel Kelm’s studio, the Wide Awake Garage.
Daniel has built a production studio/classroom that easily accommodates twelve students. The classroom is a fully-equipped hand bindery—spacious, well-lit, air-conditioned. Facilities include a kitchen area where students may prepare their own lunches.
Students have additional access to the studio evenings and weekends, allowing them extra time to practice techniques and develop their cover designs.
room and board: Lodging with breakfast and dinner is available at Williston Northampton School, just two blocks from the studio. This fine prep school has offered us use of a new residential building that was constructed as an addition to a Victorian home.
enrollment: limited to twelve
Materials: $500 (includes one book of gold; does not include optional stamping dies)
Room and board: $2,850 (includes breakfast and dinner; double occupancy—inquire about single occupancy)
prerequisites and application: Persons at all levels of experience are welcome to apply.
No prior leather experience is necessary, however, even experienced students will advance their skills. Please contact Daniel Kelm at . Application includes an interview (in person or by phone); review of your work; and providing references.
The course is designed in four sections, and the order of study allows students to engage quickly in developing the cover designs for their final bindings.
section one: Students are introduced to cover design techniques and start to practice leather dyeing, onlay, tooling, and stamping. They will begin to plan the cover designs they would like to execute on their finished bindings.
section two: Each student will produce a full leather binding as Daniel guides them through approximately 60 hours of instruction—gaining an overall view of the process.
section three: Students will produce a series of models at various stages of completion. This allows for practice and review, and the student is left with a very useful set of references for further independent work.
section four: By this time, each student will have three leather bindings ready to decorate with the cover designs they have been developing since the first week of the course.
section one (approximately seven days of instruction):
Daniel will begin with a general discussion of the properties of leather—a discussion that will continue throughout the course.
Design techniques, specifically leather dyeing and onlay, hand tooling, and stamping with gold leaf and other metals, will be taught and practiced. Daniel will be joined by Peter Geraty of Praxis Bindery who will demonstrate additional surface treatment techniques.
The onlay cutting system that will be demonstrated and practiced is applicable to untooled, hand-tooled, and machine-stamped designs, and is equally useful if one book or many are being produced.
Participants will practice on leather-covered boards. Details of paste production, leather preparation using the Schärf-Fix paring machine, knife selection, cutting surfaces, and onlay application will be covered. Students will begin by creating and practicing a very simple design, e.g., a single letter.
Two systems of traditional leather tooling will be demonstrated and practiced. One gives control, the other is fast. Students will practice both the French varnish technique and the more production-oriented English egg glaire technique.
Gold tooling will be practiced on leather-covered boards (including those from the onlay exercises) as well as leather-covered wooden book blocks (for spine work).
Stamping Foil and Leaf
Foil versus leaf? Blind versus color? Loose type, or a photo-etched die mounted on a stamping press? What kind of die do you need, and how do you order it? What about the variables of stamping: temperature, pressure, and dwell? These questions will be explored.
Students will compare and contrast common stamping equipment and techniques. They will prepare a set up board for die stamping as well as learn substrate preparation and registration. Then they will practice using die stamping machines.
We will explore combinations of onlay and hot stamping that Daniel has developed for his design bindings (what he refers to as Interpretive Fine Bindings).
section two (approximately eight days of instruction)
Each participant will produce a full-leather binding using techniques traditional to English and French construction.
Variations in structure and the characteristics of materials will be discussed extensively. Endsheet configuration, text sewing, rounding and backing, hand-sewn endbanding, spine lining, leather paring (both with knife and manual paring machine), covering, and leather joint application will be explored.
section three (approximately ten days of instruction)
Students will produce a series of models at various stages of completion.
1. sheets ready for sewing (plus examples of various endsheet configurations)
2. sewn textblock with spine pasted (plus representative sewing cards)
3. rounded and backed textblock with endbands and cutaways of progressive linings
4. leather-covered book showing stages of interior joint work and board linings
5. finished binding
section four (approximately five days of class time)
By this time, each student will have three leather bindings ready to decorate with the cover designs they have been developing since the first week of the course.