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North Bennet Street School

Two North Bennet Street Bookbinding students recently returned from the
Book Arts 2000 Conference in Alabama and reported that there were quite
a few people who were not at all familiar with our bookbinding program.
I thought it would be helpful to post this description of the program to
remedy that situation.  It's a bit long, and I apologize for that.

North Bennet Street School has had a full-time bookbinding program since
1986.  The two year course is the only full-time bench bookbinding
program in North America.  Class meets 30 hours a week from September
through June.  Six students are admitted each year.

Students spend the first year learning basic bookbinding techniques
which include:  tool use and modification, non-adhesive bindings, cloth
bindings of various styles, the production of limited editions and an
introduction to book repair and conservation.  First year students will
make approximately 20 different binding structures.  Students who enjoy
working with their hands will find the projects enable them to develop
the skills, techniques and philosophy associated with this traditional
craft.  Conservation and repair projects include repair of cloth and
paper bindings, paper repair, making boxes and enclosures, and
documentation.  Towards the end of the first year leather bindings are

The second year curriculum provides a comprehensive understanding of
17th, 18th, 19th and 20th century leather bindings, decorative tooling
and finishing, and rebacking and repair of leather bindings.  Second
year students will make approximately 15 leather bindings from the
English, German and Northern European bookbinding traditions.  They will
conserve at least three leather bindings and will have the opportunity
to repair several more if they wish to emphasize repair and

There is ample time provided in both years for students to apply the
skills and techniques learned to their own projects.

The class will take twelve field trips to binderies and conservation
labs over the two years of the course. The visits include the North East
Document Conservation Center, Harcourt Bindery,  Boston Athanaeum,
several Harvard University conservation facilities, Acme Bindery and
Boston College.

Students will find our facilities compliment their hands-on instruction.
We have two board shears, 2 combination presses, a job backer, Kwikprint
stamping machine with several fonts of type, 10 presses, finishing
tools, photo copy stand, guillotine, and an extensive library on

The students are required to photograph their work which results in a
portfolio.  The portfolio, combined with contacts made during field
trips, alumnae contacts, and help from Student Services, assist them in
find employment upon graduation.

Our graduates find themselves well prepared for positions as handbinders
at instutional binderies in educational or museum settings, in custom
binderies or production shops.  Some students have become self-employed
as book artists, conservators, consultants or as edition binders.

Mark Andersson heads the Bookbinding program and is an alumnus of the
school.  After completing the program in 1992 he worked at the
University of Washington and built a successful private conservation
practice with clients across the United States.  In 1996 he received a
Fulbright Grant for the study of Scandinavian bookbinding and European
conservation practices at the Carolina Rediviva Library in Uppsala,

If anyone wants more information about the program you may contact Kevin
McGinnis, the admissions director at North Bennet Street School; 39
North Bennet Street; Boston, MA  02113.  617-227-0155.

If there is interest in a more specific project list, please email me at
this address.

Mark Andersson
Bookbinding Instructor

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