It seems I'm always pondering about bookbinding in one aspect or another. Over the years it has pleased me enormously to discover how many other people think about bookbinding--perhaps not as obsessively as I do--but at least some of the time. It would be lonely without kindred spirits.
When I started Cat Tail Run Hand Bookbinding in 1991, I little imagined that a life-long journey had begun. Starting first as only a bookbindery, Cat Tail Run quickly became a place where interested folk would come seeking instruction in the craft. Over time, what began as simple one-on-one instruction has grown into the entity we call The School for Bookbinding Arts, offering well over a dozen workshops each year with the bulk of those courses being held in our on-site instructional facility, Studio 2. Exciting news for us is that in 2019 we will be putting finishing touches on Studio 3. As an addition to Studio 2, Studio 3 will serve to greatly expand our workshop space and provide opportunities for us to bring a greater number and variety of workshops to our students.
The philosophy behind our workshops is one that I developed as a result of my own experiences during my bookbinding apprenticeship and internships. I came to believe that bookbinding could be effectively taught through short, focused courses within a carefully designed curriculum. In this way, people who were interested in the craft but who were unable to apprentice full-time could still gain competence and satisfaction in bookbinding by taking classes and then devoting regular periods of time to practicing what they learned. I have been gratified over the years to see my instincts in this were on target as I have watched our students learn and enjoy bookbinding, with quite a few working in the field of book repair and some going on to institutional conservation training.
The School for Bookbinding Arts is a place where those of us with a love of the book can continue the traditions of a craft that has been practiced continuously for hundreds of years and shows no sign of becoming obsolete. If you've never studied with us, please consider taking some of our workshops. I know your hands will enjoy the feel of the craft and your brain will be challenged as you come to understand something as commonplace as a book is at the same time one of mankind's most elegant, delightfully complex, and versatile inventions. Most of all, we will enjoy having you on our journey--we still don't know where it's going, but we can absolutely say there appears to be no end in sight.
Jill Deiss, Bookbinder