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Islamic Box Binding

June 22 - June 26

Instructor: Michael Burke
Duration: 5 days, Monday-Friday, June 22-26
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Course fee: $975 members/$1,035 non-members
Materials fee: $100 payable to the instructor
Prerequisite: none


This workshop will introduce students to an intriguing historical structure referred to as the Box Binding. This early bookbinding structure flourished from the 8th-12th centuries throughout the Islamic world.

The text block is sewn, unsupported, laced into wooden boards, and has woven endbands in the traditional Islamic style. The book is covered in North African goatskin, and, as its name suggests, will be built into the protective box that makes this binding one of the most unique and interesting of the historical bookbinding structures.

Useful tools/materials for students to bring along: Japanese (or other small) hole punch, small, pliers, sandpaper, small hand drill with bits to make holes from 1mm to 3mm, small block plane for smoothing the board edge, small quick-release clamps, small woodcarving chisel for cutting 1 mm grooves (could use scalpel or utility knife instead). CBBAG Student tool kits will be available as usual, but students are welcome to bring their own tools instead.

*Please note: We will be dyeing the leather and shaping/sanding wooden boards, please wear working clothes or bring an apron.

Michael Burke studied bookbinding with Dominic Riley and paper conservation with Karen Zukor. He lives in the United Kingdom in the Lake District, where he teaches bookbinding. In recent years he has taught and lectured at Society of Bookbinders conferences and seminars, and at Guild of Bookworkers meetings in the USA, as well as teaching tours in Australia, New Zealand and Brazil. Each year he teaches summer school at the San Francisco Center for the Book and across the USA. Michael researches the structures of ancient and medieval bindings and has a master’s degree in the History of the Book from the University of London.


June 22
June 26


CBBAG Bindery
180 Shaw Street, Suite 102
Toronto, Ontario Canada