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Standards of Excellence 2016

Historic Charleston

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. A list of past presentations is available on the History of Standards page. Additionally, many Seminar presentations are videotaped and made available to members and for purchase. The Guild's Annual Meeting is held in conjunction with the seminar.


Why should you attend?
Hear what our members have to say about the value of the conference in this video.


For more information about the Standards of Excellence Seminar, contact Brenda Parsons, Standards Committee Chair.



RRegistration is limited to 150 people. The deadline to register is August 31, 2016, or until the conference is filled. Online registration is available and encouraged. If you are paying with a credit card, you must use the online registration form.

Register Now

Registration Rates:

Member (Early Rate) May 1 - June 30 $295
    July 1 - Aug. 31 $365
Non-Member (Early Rate) May 1 - June 30 $375
    July 1 - Aug. 31 $445
Student     $225


Auction Donation Form      PDF Form
Registration Form*      PDF Form
Vendors Application      PDF Form
Scholarship Application      PDF Form
Register for a Tour      

*(Note: credit card payments can only be accepted online)


General Information Sheet (11"x17" pdf)


Members Only

View the Attendee List

All questions regarding registration should be directed to Laura Bedford, 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. Registrations may not be shared and are non-transferable.


Scholarships are available to attend the Standards of Excellence in Hand Bookbinding Seminar to people for whom attendance would create a financial hardship. Scholarships are available for both student and regular members. An applicant must be a member at the time of application (sign up here). The scholarship consists of a waiver of registration fees to the Seminar, lodging costs for four nights (Wednesday through Saturday) at the conference hotel and the banquet. Hotel parking, phone calls, movie rentals, or any other room service are not included. Recipients are responsible for making their own travel plans. After scholarships are awarded, the GBW Treasurer will contact recipients to discuss lodging arrangements. Recipients may be asked to help with newsletter coverage and/or assist with other tasks during the Seminar.


Applications must be received by June 1, 2016.
The Scholarship Committee will inform applicants of their decision before the early bird registration deadline on June 30.

Address questions to Bexx Caswell, Scholarship Committee.





Due to limited availability, tour pre-registration is on a separate form. Click Here to Register for a Tour

Charleston Library Society

Tour 1: Founded in 1748, the Charleston Library Society is the South's oldest cultural institution and the nation's third-oldest library. From colonial era letters to literary manuscripts, the Library's Society's Archives and Special Collections hold some of the Low Country's cultural treasures. The collections stretch from the 14th c. to modern day and include materials from around the world. The Bindery and Conservation Studio serves to meet the conservation needs of both the rare and circulating collections, and also creates custom bindings for members and guests.

164 King Street: Tour is limited to 20 people.... 10:00 am - 11:00 am. Transportation will be provided....cost: $10.00.

Audubon Gallery

Tour 2: Located in the heart of Charleston's antique district, The Audubon Gallery, Joel Oppenheimer, Inc. offers natural history art, fine art framing, and complete conservation and restoration services. Under the stewardship of Burton Moore, III, The Audubon Gallery also features an unsurpassed selection of sporting art, wildlife sculpture, decoys and modern interpretive wood carvings.

190 King Street: Tour is limited to 20 people....11:30 am - 12:30 pm. Transportation will be provided....Cost: $10.00.

Special Collections of the College of Charleston Libraries

Tour 3: The College of Charleston's Special Collections is home to approximately 50,000 rare books and pamphlets. With a strong collection of 18th and 19th c. natural history and social philosophy texts, Charleston imprints, Civil War imprints, Charleston and South Carolina history, and travel literature; they also have over 400 editions of beautiful bindings of Izaak Walton's classic The Compleat Angler, an extensive assortment of Dard Hunter's handmade papers and many more items of interest to bookbinders. Explore the collections vast holdings in this behind-the-scenes tour.

205 Calhoun Street: Tour is limited to 12 people..... 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm...Transportation will be provided....Cost: $10.00

Sideshow Press

Tour 4: Sideshow Press is an independent letterpress studio associated with the incredibly talented design team of Stitch Design Co. Tour participants will see the ins and outs of running a top-notch graphic design and letterpress studio and will also get to glimpse the press at work.

121 Wentworth Street: Tour is limited to 15 people....3:00 pm - 4:00 pm...Transportation will be provided....Cost: $10.00

American College of Building Arts

Tour 5:The American College of the Building Arts offers a four-year liberal arts curriculum in six craft specializations within three areas: iron, traditional masonry, plaster, architectural stone and architectural wood (carpentry and timber framing). Currently housed in Charleston’s Old City Jail (built 1802), this summer they will be moving campuses to the 19th c. Old Trolley Barn, where students will continue to pursue a hybrid curriculum that embraces tradition without ignoring the present. Tour the “new” facilities, learn about the school’s dynamic program and see demos by students.

645 Meeting Street: Tour is limited to 25 people.... 11:30 am - 12:30 pm... Transportation will be provided.....Cost: $10.00.

Architectural Conservation Lab

Tour 6: The Clemson/College of Charleston graduate program in Historic Preservation seeks to educate future leaders in the documentation, evaluation, interpretation and conservation of historic structures, sites, objects and landscapes with the goal of developing appropriate preservation strategies for a sustainable future. In their conservation lab located in a newly renovated late-19th c. cigar factory, students perform the analysis and conservation of a variety of historic materials including architectural metal, mortar, wood, faux finishes, wall paper, paint, etc. Come see their state of the art facilities and current research during this behind the scenes tour.

701 East Bay Street: Tour is limited to 25 people....1:30 pm - 2:30 pm... Transportation will be provided.....Cost: $10.00.


Please select choice of Tour and time on Registration form. You will receive confirmation of tour.


Presentations and Presenters

Betsy Palmer Eldridge


Conservation Treatments Revisited

In 1989 at the Guild of Book Workers Standards Seminar in Portland, Oregon, Betsy Palmer Eldridge gave a presentation on Paper Treatments for Bookbinders. It was designed to be a rather quick but comprehensive introduction to the basic paper treatments commonly used by bookbinders on printed book materials: cleaning, washing, neutralizing, de-acidification, light bleaching, sizing, drying, and lining. It was definitely an ambitious, challenging undertaking. A helpful summary was written by Peter Verheyen afterward that appeared subsequently in a GBW Newsletter. A video was also made of it. But like most of the early GBW video attempts, the quality was so poor that it has not been made readily available. For that reason, it was decided that Standards should revisit the topic. In addition, a number of treatments that have come to light in the last 25 years needed to be included, notably some Japanese techniques.

Betsy Palmer Eldridge has been in the bookbinding field for more than 55 years. She was first inroduced to the book arts by Hannah French, the rare book librarian at Wellesley College, in 1957. After graduation, she went abroad and apprenticed at the Metz Bindery in Hamburg, and then studied Finishing with Jules Fache and at the Ecole Estienne in Paris. Back in the US, she worked with Carolyn Horton & Associates in New York, a studio unusual in its focus on both book and paper conservation. Since moving to Toronto in 1974, she has maintained a private practice in restoration and repair, and has taught classes and workshops both there and elsewhere. She has been involved with the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artist Guild, designing and teaching courses in their certificate program, more than 100 hours of which are on video tapes as a part of the CBBAG Home Study core curriculum.

A member of the Guild of Book Workers since 1960, when “Carolyn Horton brought Miss Palmer to the meeting”, she has been a loyal attendee at the GBW Standards and a Presenter three times. She served as President from 2000 to 2006, which included the GBW Centennial Celebration in New York in 2006. She continues to be active in both local and international professional organizations. She has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from both GBW and CBBAG, and in 2010 was given the Sheldon and Carolyn Keck Award from AIC for “Sustained Excellence in the Education and Training of Conservation Professionals.” Ever onward and upward!

Chela Metzger & Erin Hammeke


Exploration of History and Techniques for Pennsylvania German Liturgical Bookbinding before 1850

Swiss Anabaptist bindings do not exist in great numbers today in Europe, due to the severe persecution of Anabaptists during the 17th century. But many of these highly treasured books came to America in the colonial period along with their owners, and books continued to be bound in America by this religious community using elements of this distinctive style. The Pennsylvania German style often used thick wooden boards, bold metal book furniture, punched metal date and initial plates and beefy metal studded spine straps late into the 19th century. This work is unique for American bindings. The method of building a wooden-boarded binding without lacing on the boards is also surprising compared to the more commonly documented laced wooden board work. Several techniques exhibited in these books will be demonstrated.

Consuela (Chela) Metzger has a degree in librarianship from Simmons College, a Diploma in Hand Book Binding from the North Bennet Street School, and a completion of advanced apprenticeship in rare book conservation from The Library of Congress. She has worked as a conservator at The Huntington Library, The University of Michigan Library, and Winterthur Library. She spent 9 years teaching book conservation at Winterthur/University of Delaware. She is currently working as Head of the UCLA Library Conservation Center and occasionally enters books she has made into exhibits. She is fascinated by the history of bookbinding, and occasionally researches and presents on the topic.

Erin Hammeke is a Senior Conservator for Special Collections at Duke University Libraries. She has a MLIS and CAS in Conservation from the Kilgarlin Center at UT Austin, as well as a B.A. in Art History and Studio Art with an emphasis on Metalworking from UW Madison. She has held internships at the Weissman Preservation Center, Harvard University and at the Pinos y Serriera Archives in Vilassar de Dalt, Spain.

Deborah Evetts


Herrnhuter Paste Papers

Deborah will discuss and demonstrate the Herrnhuter paste paper produced by Moravian Sisters from the religious community at Herrnhut in Saxony during the mid 19th to early 20th centuries. These beautiful papers were often used for covers and endpapers on a variety of books and were made with diverse colors.

Deborah Evetts is an internationally recognized book conservator entrusted by major libraries, museums and private clients with the restoration of their priceless books. She advises librarians and collectors on the best restoration/preservation methods, housing and climate control. Deborah is a lecturer on book conservation, fine binding, decorated papers, etc. to professional organizations, book clubs, publishers and educational institutions.

Trained as a designer bookbinder by several of the greatest exponents of the classical English School of Bookbinding, Deborah exhibits worldwide and her work is represented in numerous institutional and private collections.

As Drue Heinz Book Conservator at the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, she cared for a magnificent and varied collection of Coptic manuscripts and bindings, medieval illuminated manuscripts, early printed books, music and autograph manuscripts, documents and children’s books. She also worked for New York Academy of Medicine, Princeton University Cotsen Children’s Library, University of Illinois Rare Book Library and New York Public Library. Deborah combines her excellent skills as a fine binder and designer, her knowledge and expertise of conservation and restoration with her teaching, lecturing and consulting. She currently runs her own business, Deborah Evetts Book and Paper Conservation.

Cheryl Jacobsen



“I’ve been attracted to expressive mark making and writing for a very long time, and I’m one of the very lucky people who get to do what they’ve always loved for a living. Even more amazing to me are the connections my lettering allows me to make with different disciplines, projects, people and creative ideas. Being a part of a university community that honors book studies of all kinds and living in a creative city keeps my ideas and opportunities expanding. I will talk about what my life as a modern scribe is like, how I got here, show my work and demonstrate what I do.”

Cheryl Jacobsen is an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Iowa Center for the Book. She also runs a freelance studio in Iowa City in which she gets to create lettering, books, documents and art for all sorts of people and organizations. She loves collaborations, materiality, expressive marks, teaching, and especially living in Iowa City, where she can pursue all of those things on a regular basis.



Hotel and Travel Information

There are an abundance of activities to take advantage of while in Charleston. So come early, stay later, and enjoy the city with a day of shopping or visiting historical sites. Enjoy a day at the beach on your own. Visit historic Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island where Edgar Allen Poe was stationed from 1827 - 1828.

Go to to request a free 2016 official visitors guide.

Be aware that temperatures in Charleston during September will still be warm to hot! Check the forecast before you pack.

The conference hotel is The Francis Marion Hotel

  • 387 King Street (Map)
  • Charleston, SC 29403
  • Phone: (877) 756-2121

The Guild room rate will vary as shown below

Day     Tues - Sat*
Dates     9/13 - 9/17
Single/Double±     $209.00
Room Tax§ 13.5%    $28.22
Total     $237.22 per night

* Availability limited on Tuesday and Wednesday
± Additional charge for triple ($10.00) or quad ($20.00) occupancy
§ Taxes subject to change

This room rate is available until August 19, 2016 at 5pm or until the Guild’s room block is full.

For Reservations: Call The Francis Marion toll free at (877) 756-2121 or book online. See Newsletter or Registration Confirmation Email for URL and discount identification code. Francis Marion has Valet parking at the City of Charleston parking garage adjacent to the hotel on King Street ($22 daily and Self-park $17 daily).


Need a roommate?

Head over to the Standards Discussion in the Members' Forum and create or answer a post.


Transportation Information

The Francis Marion Hotel is about 9 miles (20 minutes) from the Charleston International Airport. Transportation from Airport is available via Taxi services, shuttles and city buses.

(Prices are estimates only, subject to change without notice)

Absolutely Charleston

(800) 747-0689
(843) 747-4448 Direct

Group Shuttle Service
$32/pp One Way Airport Transfer
(Requires 4 or more individuals)

Black Cab

(843) 216-2627

Upscale Taxi Service
$50/pp One Way Airport Transfer

Mitch’s Transportation

(843) 270-6902

Shuttle Service
$30/pp One Way Airport Transfer (1 individual)
$15/pp One Way Airport Transfer (2 or more individuals)

From Airport Meet & Greet $55

City Run $4 per person

1 person only $35 each way
2 or more $15 per person each way

Patriot Point $10 per person each way

1 person only $20 each way
2 or more $12 per person each way

Green Taxi

(843) 819-0846

Taxi Service
$45/pp One Way Airport Transfer
Discounts available for group travel

Tropical Taxi

(843) 723-1111

Taxi Service
$40/pp One Way Airport Transfer
Discounts available for group travel

Yellow Cab

(843) 577-6565

Taxi Service
$20-30/pp One Way Airport Transfer
Discounts available for group travel

Express Cab

(843) 577-8816

Taxi Service
$20-25/pp One Way Airport Transfer
(TO Airport Only, NO Airport Pickup)