Bexx Caswell
Bookbinding and Conservation

Coptic & Bookworm Binding Workshop

In this class, students will have the opportunity to make three hardcover non-adhesive bindings in miniature. Each binding features an exposed spine, decorative sewing structure, and sewn board attachment.

We’ll start with the Coptic binding.  This style of binding is the earliest form of the codex, dating back to the 2nd century.  Although it is no longer used in traditional binding, it endures today as a structure for artists’ books because of its versatility and ability to lie flat when opened. 

Edge Decoration Techniques

In this two day workshop, we’ll explore a variety of modern and historical edge decoration techniques that can add an extra element to your artist’s books or fine bindings. 

We’ll start the class by looking at some historical and contemporary examples of edge decoration that will both inform and inspire us.

Students will learn how to prepare an edge for decoration, and will have the opportunity to experiment with a mélange of edge decoration techniques including sprinkled edges, solid
Japanese Stab Binding Short Workshop

Participants create their own stab-sewn blank book using traditional Japanese binding techniques.  This is a wonderful structure for artists' books, and can be used to bind single sheets in an attractive manner.  Other sewing variations will be discussed.

Length: 2 hours (Additional Japanese binding techniques can be included for a longer workshop).
After mastering the Coptic sewing and board attachment, we’ll make two different versions of the “bookworm” binding, which was developed by Bexx Caswell.  This unique binding employs elements of the Coptic, historic longstitch, and link stitch to create a playful non-adhesive binding that is both sculptural and structurally sound. A third sewing variation will also be discussed. 

Length: 1 day
colored edges using gauche, acrylics, graphite, and patterned edges using stencils, stamps, and gauffering.  Edge gilding will also be discussed.

Length:  2 days
Miniature Monster Abecedarian Workshop

The abecedarian is a poetic form whose lines or stanzas are dictated by the letters of the alphabet.  Abecedarians are commonly used as a mnemonic device for teaching children the alphabet, (i.e. A is for apple, B is for book…), but other examples can be found in religious texts and poetry dating from ancient times to the present.  Illustrated abecedarians have become a popular form for artists’ books because they provide a playful yet contained structure for content that has endless possibilities. 

In the first half of the workshop, we will look at a variety of abecedarians and get inspired.  Each participant will then create their own abecedarian, with the option to illustrate it.  In the second half of the workshop, we will bind our abecedarians using a unique non-adhesive “monster” binding.  There will be an opportunity to share our work with one another at the end of the class.

Length: 1 day
Please contact me at  whitesparrowbindery [at] for more information or to schedule any of the workshops listed below.  Private workshops at my Iowa City studio are available upon request.
Paste Paper Workshop

Learn how to make your own decorative paper using paint and paste to create beautiful designs using a variety of simple tools.   Paste papers are highly versitile and can be used in artists' books or traditional bindings, card making, scrapbooking or other paper projects.   Various techniques and patterns will be demonstrated, and participants are encouraged to experiment.  Papers must be left to dry overnight.

Length: 2 hours -  1 day