Bound! Books, that is! Bookbinding Investigations Workshop

“A pdf doesn’t do this…” is a phrase that Irma Boom, renowned Dutch book designer, uses in lectures. “It refers to that which is tangible and tactile rather than screen-based,” says Graphic Design Prof. Sondra Graff.

It was also “the premise” says Graff, for the “Bookbinding Investigations” workshop and exhibit that she and various students, faculty and staff members recently held in the Pomerantz Art and Design studio.

Graff led participants in paper folding techniques such as “Folding to the Mountain” and an accordion method of Hedi Kyle‘s (an inventor of creative book structures), as well as non-adhesive Origami structures.

Graphic Design Prof. Sondra Graff demonstrating a folding technique

Lobsang Tsewang, Exhibition Installer for the School of Art and Design, taught a binding method using screw posts.

“It’s fun binding a book the traditional way rather than leaving it to technology,” says Tsewang (’17) who learned bookbinding from an art collective club while a Fine Arts student at FIT.

“You have more leverage and understanding of how the needle and thread works on paper,” says Tsewang who as an intern at the Joan Mitchell Foundation had initiated and led a bookbinding workshop. “We mostly use that for clothing, not paper. With clothing you pierce, with paper you puncture.”

On display were student, faculty and staff projects, as well as books on the topic of bookmaking.

One Graphic Design student, Emily Kelly, who is abroad for the semester, participated remotely. A video of her book “Tangigram,” a play on the social media platform Instagram was shown.

Slavko Djuric, Fine Arts & Photography Tech with his “Om and Schmutz” accordion book

Slavko Djuric, a technologist from Fine Arts and Photography, displayed his “Om and Schmutz” accordion book that he made during a fellowship at the Center for Book Arts.

Student and alumni work on display included a Hedi Kyle’s Flag Book by Troy Vasilikas and Debra Jenks; a Coptic binding by Juliana Campisi; a book made using Graphic Design Professor Vincenzo Vella’s method of binding by Anna Celine Karling Khan; a continuous book of multiple signatures by Caslon Yoon; an accordion with sewn pockets by Troy Vasilikis; an altered book, by Debra Jenks and a sculptural scroll by Tara Slattery.


Graphic Design Prof. Frederun Scholz had various book structures on display including a Japanese stab binding, a Coptic binding and case bound hardcover book. Prof. Graff’s work included sculptural book objects.

An accordion book with sewn pockets by Graphic Design student Troy Vasilikis (’20)

“Bookbinding takes books to a more expressive, conceptual and personal level,” says Graff.

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