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Re: [BKARTS] core skills

On Wednesday, October 29, 2003, at 08:07 AM, april henry wrote:

 Traditional methods of binding are falling to the wayside as
are traditional methods of training.  I really see the two issues being

In my experience there is a distinct lack of alternatives for those new
to the craft who want to learn.  Apprenticeships would make so much

I've only just started to learn bookbinding, and yes, it was difficult to find instruction. I tracked down some local fine binders and asked them how they got their training. The answer was invariably a confused look and a hesitant "Well, I trained in England (or Germany)". They had no knowledge of any local training except that possibly there was someone whose name they couldn't remember in a town 30 miles away who might train me. I would have to track her down and persuade her. And this in a city (Vancouver) with more than a million people and an active arts community.

I have found formal training offered in Montreal and in Toronto, a mere
2000 miles away but still in Canada. And, of course, in Europe and in
the US. So training and apprenticeships seem to be a "stage of life"
thing, requiring a major lifestyle change, and the ability to move. Or
lots of money, as somebody has already pointed out.

But, hasn't it always been that way? The history of the Guild of Book
Workers recounts the founding "Around the turn of the last century a
number of American gentlewomen went to England to study hand
bookbinding with Cobden-Sanderson, ..." It seems to be a craft you're
either born to, learn early as an apprentice or take up later in life
with your spouse footing the bills.

Back to the current learning environment: eventually I signed up to
learn the basics through the correspondence course offered by CBBAG
(Canadian Association of Bookbinders & Book Artists Guild). I'm aware
that it is not the best method of training - for example, I've now made
3 cased books and I've never even *seen* a book press, getting by with
two pieces of hardboard and three covered bricks. But my other option
was no training at all. I think that for easy access by people with
restricted means, a correspondence course is probably the only choice.

Now I'll go back to lurking ...

Adele Shaak
North Vancouver, BC, Canada

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