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Standards of Excellence 2011

The Seminar on Standards of Excellence in Hand Bookbinding is the annual Guild of Book Workers conference. Held annually at a different location around the country, participants attend presentations by leading experts in the fields related to the book and paper arts. Tours of binderies, conservation facilities, rare book libraries and papermaking establishments are regularly arranged in conjunction with the event. Seminar presentations are videotaped and made available to members and for purchase. The Guild's Annual Meeting is held in conjunction with the seminar.

For more information about the Standards of Excellence Seminar, contact Christopher McAfee, Standards Committee Chair.


Standards Links

History of Standards

Resources from Past Standards

Instructional Videos of Standards Presentations (available for sale to anyone or rental to members)

2010 Standards of Excellence Vendors - THANK YOU!



2011 Standards of Excellence

October 6 - 8
The Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers
50 Park Plaza at Arlington Street
Boston, MA 02116



Standards registration is now full. To be put on the waiting list, send a paper registration form with a check or money order for the full amount of your registration to:
Guild of Bookworkers, PO Box 200984, Denver, CO 80220.
Should spaces become available, they will be filled in order of postmark date of mailed in registration. Your payment will not be processed unless a spot opens up for you.

Quick Links



Dear Guild Members,

I apologize that we have scheduled our 2011 Seminar over Yom Kippur. We had a difficult time finding a hotel that would be in the price range of Guild members and were happy to find a hotel with affordable dates in October. It wasn't until long after the contract was signed that we realized the conflict. Unfortunately, we have no choice but to continue with these dates. It pains me to know that this has happened and that some of our members will not be able to attend the Seminar. We will plan more carefully in the future.

Chris McAfee
Chair, Standards of Excellence Committee



Registration is limited to 140 people. Deadline to register is September 7, 2011. Early registration is encouraged as the seminar generally fills before the registration deadline. Online registration is available and encouraged. If you are paying with a credit card, you must use the online registration form.

All questions regarding registration should be directed to Alicia Bailey, Treasurer All fees listed on the registration form are in US dollars. There is a cancellation fee of 10% of the Registration Fee up to 30 days before the Seminar. No refunds are given for cancellations made within the 30 days prior to the conference. Cancellation fees do not apply to scholarship applicants who do not receive an award and are unable to attend without financial assistance.



Scholarships are available to attend the Standards of Excellence in Hand Bookbinding Seminar to Guild of Book Workers members for hom attendance would create a financial hardship. There are cholarships for both student and regular members. Non-members may apply, but are required to become a member prior to attending the Seminar.

The scholarship consists of a waiver of registration fees to the seminar, banquet, and four nights lodging at the Seminar hotel (does not include phone calls, movie rentals, or any other room service).
Recipients are responsible for making their own travel plans
and hotel reservations. Recipients may be asked to help with
newsletter coverage and/or assist with other tasks during the
seminar. Applications must be received by July 20, 2011. Address
questions to Anna Embree, Scholarship Committee chair.


Seminar Schedule

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

5:00 - 8:00 pm: Registration and Information Table


Thursday, October 6, 2011

8:00 am- 5:00 pm: Registration and Information Table
12:00 pm- 5:00 pm: Vendor Room

ALL DAY: Tours of various Boston book arts venues

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Opening Reception, Hayden Library, MIT, Cambridge


Friday, October 7, 2011

8:00 am - 5:00 pm: Registration and Information Table
8:00 am - 6:00 pm: Vendor Room
9:00 am - 12:00 pm: Morning Session (30 minute break at 10:15)
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Lunch
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm: Afternoon Session (30 minute break at 3:15)
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm: GBW Annual Business Meeting


Saturday, October 8, 2011

8:00 am - 5:00 pm: Registration and Information Table
8:00 am - 4:00 pm: Vendor Room
9:00 am - 12:00 pm: Morning Session (30 minute break at 10:15)
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Lunch
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm: Afternoon Session (30 minute break at 3:15)
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm: Cash Bar and Silent Auction
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm: Annual Banquet
8:30 pm - 10:00 pm: Auction


Presentations and Presenters

Katherine Beaty

Islamic Bookbinding
Katherine Beaty discovered her love of bookbinding quite by chance. After graduating with a BFA in painting from University of North Carolina Greensboro in 2001, she began her bookbinding training with Don Etherington. This experience led her to pursue an MA in paper conservation at Buffalo State College with a specialization in books. At Buffalo, she explored the mysteries of Islamic bookbinding through her thesis work on an 18th century Turkish Koran. While interning at the Library of Congress, she worked closely with Yasmeen Khan, focusing her conservation training on the treatment of bound Islamic materials. Currently, she works as a special collections book conservator for Harvard University in the Weissman Preservation Center. At Harvard, her first project was the treatment of over 100 Islamic manuscripts for Harvard’s Islamic Heritage Digitization Project. Katherine has taught workshops on Islamic bookbinding and lectured on the conservation of Islamic materials, specifically Persian lacquer bindings.

From start to finish, Katherine will demonstrate the construction of an Islamic style bookbinding. Islamic bindings are often more elaborately decorated than the precious manuscripts that they enclose, as the binding is covered and decorated off the book. Islamic bindings are best recognized by the chevron endband and foredge flap. While incredibly intricate and time consuming to produce, the Islamic chevron endband is also an integral component of the binding structure. Protecting the textblock, the foredge flap extends from the back cover and tucks inside the front board. This presentation will show how the various components of this binding structure are a product of use within a cultural context and play an important role in the conservation.


John DeMerritt

Edition Binding: A Hybrid Approach
John DeMerritt owns a bookbinding studio in Emeryville, CA that focuses on edition binding and boxmaking for fine press printers and publishers, galleries and artists. He began his bookbinding career in 1986, working for Klaus Roetzscher in San Francisco and later worked at Taurus Bookbindery in Berkeley. He formed his own bookbindery in 1995. He is the past President of the Hand Bookbinders of California and board member of the Pacific Center for the Book Arts. John has taught many workshops over the years for the SF Center for the Book, The Kala Institute, The Guild of Book Workers and Mills College. For the last ten years, he has taught in the Photography Department of the San Francisco Art Institute, combining the use of digital imaging and book structure with his co-teacher, Michael Creedon. John and his wife, Nora Pauwels, were Artists in Residence at the SF Center for the Book in 2006, where they produced an editioned Artists’ Book, De Rekening. They continue to produce new work together.

One of the most compelling and engaging components of edition binding is the “ensemble” aspect of its practice. The edition binder collaborates out of necessity; combining technical, aesthetic and practical skills and considerations to conceive a piece that is larger than the sum of its parts. This presentation will focus on a hybrid approach to Edition Binding, and focus on some of the particular methods, techniques and approaches utilized in John’s studio – mostly tried and true trade skills. John will also discuss and demonstrate his recent forays into the use of laser cutters, digital mat cutting and digital printing on fabric and leather. The gene of the discussion is the idea of developing a craft that focuses on hand work but does not shun new tools and technology.


Daniel Essig

Scratching the Surface: Disguising and Embellishing Wood
Daniel Essig has been creating wooden and sculptural books for more than 20 years. A native of St. Luis, he studied at Southern Illinois University, Penland School of Crafts and the University of Iowa. He now lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where he maintains a full-time studio at Grovewood Gallery and offers private residential workshops at his Bookstone Bungalow & Studio. He travels widely to lecture and teach at book centers, craft schools, colleges, and artist retreats. A recipient of the North Carolina Artist Fellowship Grant, he exhibits nationally, and his work is held in many private and public collections, including the Smithsonian Institution’s Renwick Gallery, the University of California at San Diego’s Mandeville Special Collecitons Library, and the Topeka Public Library. Many of his sculptural pieces are featured in The Penland Book of Handmade Books.

Wood dominates Daniel’s book designs because it blends well with his other favored materials–found objects, mica, fossils, and plant materials – and allows him to express his creative vision. When painted, burned and stained, wood has a sensuous patina, and it is a versatile and forgiving material. Through demonstration and example, Daniel will share the tricks and techniques he uses to create a time-softened feel of antiquity in his sculptural books and wooden journals. He will also demonstrate his version of the Caterpillar Binding, which he has redesigned to be sewn as an embellishment rather than as a structural element, opening a new range of binding possibilities.


Todd Pattison

Conservation of 19th Century Publisher’s Bindings
Todd Pattison is the Collections Conservator for Harvard College Library. He studied bookbinding with Fred Jordan in western New York State in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and later studied with Hugo Peller and Edwin Heim in Ascona, Switzerland. Todd worked as a book conservator at the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, Massachusetts for twenty years, and he holds an undergraduate degree in Art History from Nazareth College and an MLS from the University of Alabama. He has a strong interest in the structual transition from binding-in-boards to cloth case binding and the decoration and development of cloth bound books from 1825- 1860.

Many institutions with circulating collections conservation programs treat 19th century cloth Publishers’ bindings. Although these bindings were typically produced in multiples, many19th century cloth bindings are just as rare or historically important as leather bindings from the same time period. This presentation will focus on techniques for quickly and sympathetically repairing cloth bindings of artifactual value. Damaged bindings for repair typically fall into one of two categories–those with original spines and those without. The materials, and to a certain extent the techniques used to repair these two categories, may differ. Although the techniques were developed for a production approach to treating circulating collections, they can also be appropriate for the treatment of special collections materials and for use by conservators working in private practice.



Tours take place on Thursday, October6, 2011. Only one tour can be attended, if desired. Please make selection on Registration Form.

Museum of Printing and Northeast Document Conservation Center

North Andover and Andover, MA - Guide and transportation provided Thursday, October 6, 9 am – 4 pm (lunch provided)
The tour will take participants north of Boston to visit the Museum of Printing in North Andover. The Museum, which houses hundreds of antique printing, typesetting and bindery machines, and a library of books and printing-related documents, is focused on preserving the history and craft of graphic arts. Visitors will have a tour led by the Museum’s president, Frank Romano, followed by lunch. The tour then stops at the Northeast Document Conservation Center in neighboring Andover. NEDCC was founded in 1973 and is one of the largest regional non-profit conservation facilities in the U.S. Visitors will have the opportunity to see conservators working on books, maps, photographs, works of art on paper and other objects while touring the Book and Paper Conservation Labs and the Imaging Department.


Wellesley College, Margaret Clapp Library

Wellesley, MA - Guide and transportation provided
Thursday, October 6, 9 am – 3 pm (lunch provided)

Margaret Clapp Library houses the Book Arts Lab, the College Archives, Special Collections, and an in-house Conservation Facility. Highlights of this tour include a visit to Wellesley’s unique and well-equipped Book Arts lab where students learn typography, letterpress printing, and bookbinding; an opportunity for participants to print a keepsake from type set up on a Vandercook press by Book Arts Program Director Katherine M. Ruffin; and seeing the Plimpton Collection of Italian literature, featuring fine Renaissance manuscripts, incunabula, and early editions of Boccaccio, Dante, and Petrarch – many still in their original bindings. Special Collections Librarian Ruth Rogers will also exhibit pieces from the collection of modern Artists’ Books and broadsides.


Boston Athenaeum and North Bennet Street School

Boston, MA - Guide and transportation provided
Thursday, October 6, 9 am – 1 pm (NO lunch provided)

Participants will begin with a visit to the Boston Athenaeum. Founded in 1807, this private library in historic Beacon Hill has an impressive collection of books, paintings and sculpture. Jim Reid-Cunningham will lead a short tour of the conservation lab. Visitors will then have an opportunity to view the Athenaeum’s current exhibiton: Artists’ Books – Books By Artists. The tour will then proceed to the North Bennet Street School, home of the only full-time bookbinding program in North America. Visitors will tour the school and get an overview of its programs, which include Bookbinding, Cabinet and Furniture Making, Violin Making and Repair, Jewelry Making and Repair, Locksmithing, Carpentry, Preservation Carpentry and Piano Technology. Bookbinding instructor Jeff Altepeter will offer an in-depth tour of the bookbinding department, and visitors will have the chance to see students at work.


Acme Bookbinding Company

Charlestown, MA - Guide and transportation provided
Thursday, October 6, 9 am – 1 pm (NO lunch provided)

Visit the Acme Bookbinding Company, one of the oldest and largest commercial bookbinders in New England. This modern 100,000 square foot facility provides binding, rebinding, imaging and digital printing services to publishers, printers, libraries, universities and individuals across the country. Participants will see innovations in the field of commercial binding and the interface between people and machinery. Included in the tour is a visit to the Harcourt Bindery, a division of Acme since 2007, with Sam Ellenport as the guide. Originally founded in 1900, the Harcourt Bindery continues to produce hand-bound limited editions, custom enclosures and provides restoration services for customers.


Hotel and Travel Information

The conference hotel is the Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers

50 Park Plaza at Arlington St.
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: (617) 426-2000; (800) 225-2008

The Guild room rate is:

Single/Double: $179/night
Triple: $199/night
Quad: $229/night
Towers: $279/night
Suite: $499 and up/night
Applicable taxes will be added to this rate.

To register for the Standards Seminar room rate, go to this link <>
and enter the group code "GBW"


If you are travelling from Logan International Airport, you have three options when arriving at Logan International Airport:

  • Airport Cab Service (meter rate)
  • Boston’s Subway: The “T”: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel
    is located on Arlington Stop (Green Line) Back Bay Stop
    (Orange Line)
  • Ultimate Shuttle

For more detailed information, see the hotel website's transportation directions.

If you are driving, parking is available at the hotel for $44/night.
Across the street from the hotel is Motor Mart Garage where parking is available for $31/night