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Standards of Excellence 2017

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. Many well known Vendors also attend the conference and offer high quality tools and supplies for sale throughout the event. The vendor room is open to the public.


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


Registration is limited to 150 people. The deadline to register is September 30, 2017, 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 Here


Auction Donation Form      PDF Form
Registration Form      PDF Form
Vendors Application      PDF Form
Banquet Tickets      
Sponsorship Opportunities      
Register for a Tour      PDF Form

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


General Information Sheet (11"x17" pdf)


Members Only

View the Attendee List

Registration Rates:

Member (Early Rate) July 1 - July 31 $295
    August 1 - September 30 $365
Non-Member (Early Rate) July 1 - July 31 $375
    August 1 - September 30 $445
Student     $225

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 July 16, 2017.
The Scholarship Committee will inform applicants of their decision before the early bird registration deadline on July 31.

Address questions to Brien Beidler, Scholarship Committee.

Application Now Closed


Mentor-Protege Happy Hour

The importance of connecting people with different levels of experience in somewhat of a mentor-protege capacity is perhaps the most important way to maintain a high standard of craft and a meaningful community. Many of us could not have gotten where we are had we not met someone early on who was willing to share their experience and knowledge. Having these types of relationships can make all the difference, both personally and professionally.

As in Charleston, this year in Tacoma we plan on holding an informal mentor-protege happy hour in order to facilitate this type of encounter. It will be a chance for people just getting started to meet and talk with those who have more knowledge and experience, and for experienced practitioners to share their thoughts and expertise. Above all, it is hoped that this event will help to connect people at different places in their careers, and will spur on a longer and more meaningful relationship between them.

Friday, 6:15-7:15pm (after the Annual Meeting) at the Tacoma Brewing Company, a quick six minute walk from the Hotel Murano. 1116 Court E, Tacoma, WA 98402



9:00 a.m. to 4:30* p.m., $40 includes a box lunch *return time to the hotel is traffic-dependent

University of Washington: the Conservation Center and the Book Arts Collection

The UW Libraries recently completed construction of a new conservation facility to provide care for book and paper materials throughout the 9-million item collection. The new 4,000 square foot facility has a wet lab equipped for chemical treatments, washing, humidification and light bleaching, photo documentation and examination equipment, custom storage, and more. The result is an inspiring amalgam of traditional and contemporary equipment for teaching conservation and preservation skills. The UW Book Arts Collection has over 30,000 historical & modern pieces encompassing all aspects of the physical book: typography, paper making, letterpress and offset printing, illustration, book design, paper decoration, lettering arts, sculptural & conceptual work & artist’s books. It also has major holdings documenting bookbinding history, especially 19th century publishers’ decorated bindings. This part of Tour 1 is hosted by Justin Johnson, Kate Leonard, Judith Johnson and Molly Gullet of the Conservation staff, and Sandra Kroupa, Book Arts & Rare Book Curator.

Seattle Public Library

The Seattle Public Library in the Rem Koolhaas building (finished in 2004) is home to the large reference collections, Special Collections, the Exhibition Gallery, the book sorter machine for the library system, and is the Headquarters of the Library’s administration. The tour will divide into two groups and each will visit the OPEN • SET Exhibition in the Gallery and the Special Collections on Level 10. In the Gallery, we will have a docent-led tour by Lang Ingalls, OPEN • SET Exhibition Coordinator, while we look at the 50 magnificent design bindings. In Special Collections, the staff will have on display items from the collections including local Seattle history, autographs, genealogy materials, and aviation history. Level 10 is the highest public space in the building and offers a spectacular perspective on the aesthetics of Rem Koolhaas and the Design Team. This part of Tour 1 is hosted by Ann Ferguson, Curator of the Seattle Collection, and Lang Ingalls, on behalf of the American Academy of Bookbinding.



9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., $40 includes a box lunch

Pacific Lutheran University: Elliott Press & Thorniley Collection

The Elliott Press provides a hands-on workshop for students in the Publishing & Printing Arts program at Pacific Lutheran University. Founded in 1982, the Press features a number of presses and over 300 cases of type. A recent gift to PLU of the Thorniley Collection of Antique Type makes up the largest collection of type in the Pacific Northwest, both in size and variety of styles and eras represented. The collection originated with William O. Thorniley whose interest in type began at an early age and continued as he traveled extensively for his job. Typfaces date from around 1690 to 1900, making the collection remarkable in breadth. There are examples of type cast at foundries from around the country and abroad (Barnhart Brothers & Spindler, Western, Bruce, Dickinson, Philadelphia, Central, Cleveland, Johnson, as well as Mackellar, Smiths & Jordan). Another notable item at PLU is the iron Washington Hand Press, produced by Samuel Rust in 1821. It was the last style of hand press made in the United States. This part of Tour 2 is hosted by Jessica Spring, instructor at PLU and proprietor of Springtide Press.

Arts & Crafts Press

The Arts & Crafts Press was founded in 1996 by Bruce Smith and Yoshiko Yamamoto. Begun as a publishing house concerned with the historic Arts and Crafts movement, all publications of The Arts and Crafts Press have been letterpress printed and bound by hand. Today the Press produces original greeting cards and limited-edition blockprints printed from hand-cut blocks inspired in both craft and artistry by the turn of-the-century movement. This part of Tour 2 is hosted by Yoshiko Yamamoto and Bruce Smith, proprietors.

University of Puget Sound Book Arts Collection

The UPS Book Arts Collection of over 200 books includes both historical and modern books encompassing many aspects of the physical book: typography, papermaking, letterpress and offset printing, illustration, book design, paper decoration, calligraphy, sculptural and conceptual work. An emphasis is placed on regional artists. A variety of formats are collected, in order to provide representative examples of all types of artists’ books. Books that reinforce the UPS curriculum — such as diversity, social justice, sustainability, personal narratives, and work that showcases the collaborative nature of artist and writer — are the hallmarks of the collection. This part of Tour 2 is hosted by Jane Carlin, Library Director, University of Puget Sound.

Mare Blocker Exhibition

In 1979, Blocker made her first trip to the Special Collections Library at the University of Washington, which literally changed the pathway of her life. There she saw that one form — the book — could encompass her many interdisciplinary passions. This epiphany resulted in a lifelong pursuit of book arts. In 1984, she purchased her first printing press, a Vandercook 219 and founded the MKimberly Press. Teaching brought new opportunities to work with students in the printing studio, both as instructor and learner. These exchanges have informed Blocker’s work and added another layer to her interdisciplinary practice. For her, the letterpress studio has become a contemporary medieval workshop where everyone is working and the presses are running, creating a feeling of community that is magical. “Nothing can prepare you for that first proof, that alchemical moment of turning lead into words on a finely printed page.” This part of Tour 2 is hosted by Mare Blocker.


Book a Tour


Presentations and Presenters




Make and Use Hanji: Applications for Korean Paper


[Friday Morning]

This presentation will use still and moving images to describe how hanji— Korean paper—is made in both Korea and the U.S. It will also provide insight into how contemporary artists are using hanji for books, sculpture, jewelry, and artwork. The accompanying demo will show the steps for making paper cord by cutting down a sheet of hanji, making paired strips, and twisting and plying this paper to create strands and continuous string. This will illuminate conservation uses, as well as creative ones, for this luminous, durable, and versatile material. Samples of hanji and hanji artwork to handle will accompany the talk.

Aimee Lee is an artist, papermaker, writer, and the leading hanji researcher and maker in the United States. She holds a BA from Oberlin College and a MFA from Columbia College, Chicago. Her Fulbright research on Korean paper led to her award-winning book, Hanji Unfurled, and the first North American hanji studio. She has shared her hanji knowledge in Australia, Austria, Chile, Korea, Northern Ireland and at sites that include the American Museum of Natural History, Asian Art Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Academic engagements include Oberlin College, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Mills College, University of the Arts, University of Iowa Center for the Book, and University of Michigan. Craft centers include the Center for Book Arts, Haystack, Peters Valley, Penland, North Bennett Street School, and Women’s Studio Workshop. Her work has been exhibited at the Fuller Craft Museum, Islip Art Museum, Museum of Nebraska Art, and Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking, and published in the New York Times, Korea Daily NY, Korea Times, American Craft, Surface Design, Hand Papermaking, and Textile Fibre Forum. Her artists’ books reside in library collections that include the Flasch Collection, Jaffe Collection, Indiana University, Museum of Modern Art, Wesleyan University, and Yale University. (




Much Ado about Nothing: Concept, Design & Techniques in Editioning “Zero: Cypher of Infinity”


[Friday Afternoon]

New renditions and applications of traditional bookmaking techniques are the key to making this edition of 53 “variant” books. The layering of techniques produces rich and unexpected images in this book presenting the many facets of Zero and the Void. Suzanne played out designs by “layering” processes: painting, letterpress, silkscreen, hand-work, and gilding, in a collaborative process with Jessica Spring, of Springtide Press, Tacoma. This presentation will guide us from inspiration and research for a pair of manuscript books, through the process of “translating” text and imagery into an edition book. From the first strokes of paint on paper, to the final details of hand-coloring and tooling, we will see how Suzanne has developed paste paper techniques to create an array of images. Hand-coloring with gouache, gilding and freehand tooling, assisted by Gabby Cooksey (who also bound the book in Cave Paper), makes each book in this edition an original.

Suzanne Moore is a printmaker, painter and lettering artist whose eclectic interests fuse in the diversity of her artists’ books. Born to a family of gifted inventor-engineers and raised in post-Sputnik middle-America, her aptitudes in math and science channeled her into those areas at an early age. She made her way into the world of art at 20-something, and earned a BFA in Printmaking and Drawing in Wisconsin. She mixes an array of media in her work, layering pages with color and forms which create rhythmic unfolding narratives with painted, lettered and printed images, lettering, and typography. Suzanne’s work is exhibited widely, and her books have been acquired for private and public collections in the U.S. and Europe. Among them are the Pierpont Morgan Library, The Library of Congress, the rare book collections Smith College, Scripps, Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Princeton. She lectures and teaches in the US and abroad on contemporary manuscript design, painting and lettering and developing conceptual ideas in book form. Suzanne has made manuscript books since 1984, on a variety of subjects. She recently completed her first edition, Zero: Cypher of Infinity. It presents many facets of the digit “0” and the Void, from the perspectives of history, philosophy, mathematics, spirituality, color and light, language, and its kinship with Infinity.




Covered and Visible: Protected Multi-section Pamphlet Stitch Structure


[Saturday Morning]

“Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.”
- Alan Jay Perlis, the first recipient of the Turing Award

This basic structure creates a binding with a full leather, cloth or paper spine over inner exposed and visible sewing that creates a natural combination of tight back and hollow all in one structure. Based on Project 8 in The Essential Guide to Making Handmade Books, this variation provides the strength and flexibility of a tight backed book with the action of a hollow tube.The full leather spine can be titled or decorated as in a traditional binding.The delight of this structure is the ease with which it opens, closes and the possible variations that can be used for both design and conservation binding.The entire case or cover of the binding is completed before sewing in the text, which is the final procedure or step in the binding.This structure can be kept very simple or adapted to something as complex as a full leather traditional binding with a difference.

Gabrielle Fox is a bookbinder based in Cincinnati, Ohio. In the 1980’s she taught throughout England and worked from her studio in Sussex before returning to Ohio in 1990. She travels often to care for collections and to teach, most recently to The Daffodil Barn (Wiltshire, UK) through Binding re:De ned and jointly with Designer Bookbinders and Society of Bookbinders. Each year she now teaches miniature fine binding at the American Academy of Bookbinding (Telluride, CO).

Her work is represented in many public and private libraries, and in 2016 was exhibited in“The Poet of Them All”at the Yale Center for British Art and will be exhibited this autumn with Designer Bookbinders’ “Heroic Works” at North Bennet Street School. Gabrielle is the author of The Essential Guide to Making Handmade Books and compiler of LARKSPUR PRESS: Forty Years of Making Letterpress Books in a Rural Kentucky Community. (




Gold Tooling in the 21st Century


[Saturday Afternoon]

Perfectly executing gold tooling on the surface of leather bindings has been a goal—often elusive—of bookmakers for centuries. Done successfully, gold tooling is magic. Done unsuccessfully, gold tooling...isn’t. This demonstration will introduce fundamental techniques and practices that can enable observers to successfully transform drawn designs on paper to sparkling gold designs on leather. Don will begin with a finished drawing on drawing paper, transfer the drawing to a working drawing, then transfer that design to the surface of a book. Next, Don will demonstrate blind tooling on leather, and lastly, the application of gold leaf to the blind lines.

As well as explaining and demonstrating the sequence of gold tooling, Don will demonstrate the application of color to tooled lines, and give tips to help with avoiding and repairing mistakes. He will also speak on the use of gold tooling in an age when economics seem to preclude the use of such a time consuming technique..

Don Glaister is a book artist now living and working on Vashon Island, Washington. He began his bookbinding career after taking degrees in painting and sculpture from San Jose State College, California, and studying binding privately with Barbara Hiller in San Francisco and Pierre Aufschneider and Roger Arnoult in Paris. His over thirty-year professional career in design bookbinding has centered on the exploration, development and use of unexpected binding materials, visual humor and spontaneous visual expression, while working within the classical framework of the European binding form. Beginning in 2002, Don’s work expanded to include the design and production of editions of his own books which include painting, sculpture and poetry. Don has taught binding and design privately, and as Professor of Book Arts at The University of Alabama. He currently teaches classes and serves as the Director of Fine Binding at the American Academy of Bookbinding (Telluride, CO).

Don's work appears in private collections throughout North America and Europe, and in institutional collections such as The Library of Congress, The National Gallery of Art,The British Library,The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Getty Center, Scripps College, The Lilly Library, The Ruth Mortimer Collection at Smith College,The Bridwell Library, The Houghton Library, The Cornell University Library, The Jaffe Collection at Florida Atlantic University, The Pierpont Morgan Library, and The National Library of the Netherlands in The Hague.


Hotel and Travel Information

The conference hotel is The Hotel Murano

  • 1320 Broadway Plaza King Street (Map)
  • Tacoma, WA 98402
  • Phone: (253)-238-8000

Book your online reservation here.

The Guild room rate is $139 nightly for a single or double occupancy room for the dates October 24-29, 2017. Room tax (subject to change) is 13.5%. Reservations must be made before October 3, 2017 to receive the Seminar room rate.

For Reservations: Call The Hotel Murano toll free at (888)-862-3255 or book online. See Newsletter or Registration Confirmation Email for URL and discount identification code. 



Need a roommate?

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



Transportation Information


If you are flying by air, the below companies offer ground transportation from the SeaTac Airport to the Hotel Murano. Costs are estimated at time of publication; actual costs will be quoted to you at the time of booking.

Capital Aeroporter $41 (Car Service) OR 800-962-3579
Shuttle Express $55 (Shared Van Service) OR 425-981-7000
Seattle STS Town Car $55 to $70 (Car & Limo Service for up to 4 people) OR 877-340-3434

If you are driving, Valet Parking is available for $20 per day at Hotel Murano; a self-parking lot is nearby for $16 per day.

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