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Standards of Excellence 2024


The Standards of Excellence Seminar 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 recorded and are now available to stream on Vimeo.

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.

For more information about the Standards of Excellence Seminar contact Jennifer Pellecchia, Standards Committee Chair, at


The Standards of excellence Seminar is open to all regardless of membership status. Registration opens June 17, 2024. Registration closes October 15, 2024. Registration is limited to 200 people—a wait list will be created if registration exceeds that number.

All questions regarding registration payments should be directed to Larry Houston, GBW Treasurer: Other questions regarding the Seminar should be directed to Jennifer Pellecchia, Standards Chair:

All events will occur at the Graduate, Providence, with the exception of Area Tours. The Program Packet will contain all necessary information regarding locations of events, timing and scheduling, as well as information on local sites, restaurant recommendations, and more.  


Registration Rates


Registration Rates:

Member (Early Rate) June 17 - August 2 $335.00
    August 3 - October 15 $415.00
Non-Member (Early Rate) June 17 - August 2 $450.00
    August 3 - October 15 $515.00
Student (with ID) (Early Rate) June 17 - August 2 $200.00
    August 3 - October 15 $270.00

All questions regarding registration should be directed to Lawrence Houston, 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 after the registration deadline. 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.


The Guild of Book Workers offers scholarships to attend the Standards of Excellence in Hand Bookbinding seminar. Scholarships are available 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, lodging costs for four nights at the conference hotel, and the cost of the Saturday evening banquet dinner. The lodging costs covered do not include hotel parking, phone calls, movie rentals, or any other room services. Tour costs are not covered by the scholarship. The GBW Treasurer will reserve a room for each recipient at the conference hotel. Recipients are responsible for making their own travel plans. Scholarship recipients will be asked to volunteer a small amount of their time during the seminar to assist the event organizers, presenters, or other GBW volunteers.

The Scholarship Committee requests a short statement and two letters of reference. The statement should describe: 

  • What you hope to get out of the seminar
  • How attending might impact your work
  • How you plan to share what you have learned with others

The letters of reference could come from an instructor, supervisor, or client and need not be lengthy. Please complete the following application form and upload the three documents below.

The application process opens May 13th and all applications are due by July 15th.  

Please direct questions to Todd Pattison at

Applications Now Open


3:00PM - 8:00PM Registration and Information L'Apogee
4:00PM - 5:30PM Chapter Chair Meeting Narragansett Bayview 
6:00PM - 8:00PM Board Meeting & Dinner Narragansett Bayview


9:00AM - 5:00PM Registration and Information L'Apogee 
10:00AM - 5:00PM Area Tours  
12:00PM - 5:00PM Vendor Rooms L'Apogee and Summit 
5:30PM - 7:30PM Welcome Reception Atrium Balcony


8:00AM - 5:00PM Registration and Information L'Apogee
8:00AM - 6:00PM Vendor Rooms L'Apogee and Summit
9:00AM - 12:00PM SUE DOGGETT • Over and Over Again: Making Artist's Books and Bindings Biltmore Ballroom
12:00PM - 2:00PM Lunch on your own  
2:00PM - 5:00PM SARAH PIKE • Laser-Cut Metamorphosis: Transforming a Single Image Biltmore Ballroom
8:00PM - 9:30PM Mix and Mentor- Registration Coming Soon! Poindexter Coffee


8:00AM - 12:00PM Registration and Information L'Apogee
8:00AM - 4:00PM Vendor Rooms L'Apogee and Summit
9:00AM - 12:00PM CHRISTOPHER SOKOLOWSKI • Mending Paper Using Pre-Coated Asian Tissue: Quick and Subtle Techniques Biltmore Ballroom
12:00PM - 2:00PM Lunch on your own  
2:00PM - 5:00PM SAMUEL FEINSTEIN • Titling: Gold Tooling with Leaf Biltmore Ballroom
3:00PM - 6:30PM Silent Auction L'Apogee
6:00PM - 7:30PM Cocktail Hour (Cash Bar) L'Apogee 
7:30PM - 9:00PM Banquet Dinner L'Apogee 
8:30PM - 10:00PM Live Auction L'Apogee 

Area Tours: Thursday, November 7

All tours are $10. Tour fees cover administrative costs, transportation for attendees requiring special considerations for accessibility, admissions to institutions, and/or scholarship tour registration.

Please meet your tour group in front of the lobby portrait of André Leon Talley 15 minutes prior to departure. Participants will travel on foot to tour locations; attendees who are unable to do so may make alternate arrangements by emailing


John Carter Brown Library

Time: 10:00am - 12:00pm

Number of participants: 19

Located on the campus of Brown University, The John Carter Brown Library welcomes individuals and communities from around the world to research, learn, and share knowledge about the early Americas through its collections.

This is a walking tour. The John Carter Brown Library is wheelchair accessible. 


Providence Athenaeum

Time: 11:00am - 12:30pm

Number of participants: 24

The Providence Athenæum is an independent, member-supported library located on Providence’s historic Benefit Street. Over its nearly 200 years of existence, the library has welcomed illustrious writers, spirited thinkers, and engaged community members through its doors to read, learn, gather, and debate. Its mission is to enrich the mind, inspire the spirit, and elevate the public discourse. The Athenæum was founded in 1836, and predates the establishment of public libraries.

On this tour of the Athenaeum, you will explore all three floors of the library, learn about the history of the library and its building, and view materials from the Special Collections.

This is a walking tour. The Providence Athenaeum is wheelchair accessible, but the tour includes stairs, and the building does not have an elevator. 


Fleet Library at RISD

Time: 11:00am - 12:30pm

Number of participants: 19

Founded in 1878, the RISD Library is one of the oldest independent art college libraries in the country. The tour will highlight Special Collections' extensive collection of artists' books which range from 1960's "multiples" created by conceptual artists to contemporary handcrafted books utilizing unique formats and techniques such as letterpress, woodcut, linocut, silkscreen, etching, monoprint, and photogravure processes. 

Please note that morning and afternoon tours of Fleet Library are the same tour.

This is a walking tour. Fleet Library is wheelchair accessible. 


Brown University: John Hay Library and Conservation Lab

Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm

Number of participants: 38

The John Hay Library is home to Brown University's remarkable collections of rare books, manuscripts, and University Archives. Participants will be able to tour the conservation lab, and to view items from the library’s South American and Caribbean collections, as well as collections related to Cosmography and Astrology.

This is a walking tour. Hay Library is wheelchair accessible. 


Fleet Library at RISD

Time: 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Number of participants: 19

Founded in 1878, the RISD Library is one of the oldest independent art college libraries in the country. The tour will highlight Special Collections' extensive collection of artists' books which range from 1960's "multiples" created by conceptual artists to contemporary handcrafted books utilizing unique formats and techniques such as letterpress, woodcut, linocut, silkscreen, etching, monoprint, and photogravure processes. 

Please note that morning and afternoon tours of Fleet Library are the same tour.

This is a walking tour. Fleet Library is wheelchair accessible. 


Providence Public Library

Time: 3:00pm, 3:30pm, 4:00pm

Number of participants: 42

Providence Public Library (PPL) is a 149-year-old nonprofit corporation providing free public library services through its rich and historic physical and digital collections, extensive information resources, thought-provoking exhibitions, impactful educational programs, and expert staff. Thanks to a century and a half of collecting, the Library is home to tens of thousands of historic books, manuscripts, photographs, ephemera, maps and other artifacts representing more than 4,000 years of human history and culture from around the world. Special collections holdings include items from Percival magic collection, as well as the Updike Collection, and a mix of other areas.

Standards participants may register for one of three 30-minute visits to Special Collections, located on the 3rd floor of the Library. When you arrive, please leave your coat, bag and other belongings in one of the lockers outside the reading room. Following your visit, please be sure to explore the PPL’s exhibition on letterpress printing in Providence. 


This is a walking tour. Providence Public Library is wheelchair accessible. 


Presentations and Presenters

Sue Doggett

Over and Over Again: Making Artist’s Books and Bindings


[Friday Morning]

“‘It must take you hours’ is a comment I often receive when people look at my work. My response to this is always the same – ‘yes, but I can’t help it’. Over the years, the techniques I have developed to say what I want to say within the context of fine binding have become increasingly complex, and I often wonder how and why this has happened. In this talk, I will discuss my approach to design, my relationship to the materials and techniques I use, and the ways in which I create and interpret a text. I can’t help but make autobiographical and social connections because, to an extent, we are what we make, so there will be some ‘my life in books’ moments too. To demonstrate techniques and processes, there will be video footage of the creation of a book from the development of an idea to that sublime moment when you finally put it in a box, knowing, however, that after a brief hiatus, you’ll do it all over and over again.”

Sue Doggett is an artist who creates hand-made books and bindings. Her creative interests include surface design, women’s history, sewing as drawing, the role of craft practice, memory, ghosts, and the history of magic. She gained a first class honors degree in Visual Studies and Art History from Oxford Brookes University in 1985 and an MA in Design from Brighton University in 1998. She received the World Craft Council Award for Contemporary Craft in 1994 and was elected a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders in 1996. Sue has lectured and led workshops in book arts in the UK, Europe and the USA and is currently co-ordinator of bookbinding and calligraphy courses at The City Lit in London where she is also a bookbinding and book arts tutor. As an exhibiting Fellow of Designer Bookbinders, Sue works to public and private commission including the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and she is the current editor of ‘The New Bookbinder’ the International journal of DB. Her work is represented in public and private collections in the UK, Europe and the USA.

Sarah Pike

Laser-Cut Metamorphosis: Transforming a Single Image

[Friday Afternoon]

How can the laser cutter become another tool in the bookbinder’s tool box? Through the transformation of one image into numerous laser cutting and engraving techniques, Sarah will demonstrate how to integrate the laser cutter into hand binding to aid in editioning, develop more complex designs, and reveal techniques only the laser can perform. We’ll cover a variety of processes and materials, from photo and line art woodblocks, to laser engraved bookcloth, laser cut leather onlay, engraved paper enclosures, letterpress blocks, inlay for book covers, and acrylic embossing plates. With each process you’ll learn key characteristics to take into consideration when designing elements for the laser cutter.

Sarah Pike is an artist and owner of FreeFall Laser, a laser cutting service that focuses on collaborating on custom projects and developing new applications for the integration of laser cutting into hand-crafted work. She teaches online and in-person courses in laser cutting for creatives at


Christopher Sokolowski

Mending Paper Using

Pre-coated Asian Tissue:

Quick and Subtle Techniques

[Saturday Morning]

Mending and lining damaged paper with an Asian tissue precoated with adhesive has becom increasingly common—especially in library conservation labs—since information on this technique began to appear in print around 1990. Its usefulness lies in its potential to be time-saving at the bench for remarkably subtle repairs to damaged paper, parchment, and textiles. Over the last two decades, the conservators, technicians, and interns of Harvard Libraries’ Weissman Preservation Center have been putting this technique into practice while continually refining the recipes, preparation, and use of precoated repair tissues. In this session, Christopher will present an illustrated overview of the technique and discuss its use in the varied conservation projects from Harvard’s libraries. He will also demonstrate the preparation of precoated tissue so that attendees can make some themselves and build a library of tissues, ever-ready for future projects. Christopher will also demonstrate and discuss using precoated tissues in the repair of first-edition dust jackets.

Christopher Sokolowski has worked since 2009 as a Paper Conservator for Special Collections at the Weissman Preservation Center, Harvard Library. He earned an M.A. in Art History from the University of Massachusetts in 1996 and an M.S. in Art Conservation from the Winterthur-University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation in 2000. He has worked in the paper conservation studios at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Musée du Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Studio TKM, and the Northeast Document Conservation Center.

Samuel Feinstein

Titling: Gold Tooling with Leaf


[Saturday Afternoon]

“A title on a binding should not be an afterthought. It is, and should be considered, a part of the design, as it is not only used to identify the book, but also to acknowledge the other minds and hands that went into the book’s creation, which is why I regard titling as the most important kind of tooling. In this presentation, we will go over a process of gold tooling for titling with gold leaf and homemade shellac glaire, using both type holders and handle letters. Using a strict and straightforward process, and practice, this technique will yield crisp results. The demonstration will start with making a template and end with cleaning and burnishing the gilt impression. I’ll also talk about the physical and mental preparation for finishing which will help keep your tooling consistent, as well as a troubleshooting process for mistakes.

Samuel Feinstein is a bookbinder primarily working making fine and design bindings. He trained at the North Bennet Street School, graduating in 2012, and went into private practice creating fine and design bindings, executing finishing for other binders, and eventually teaching workshops on finishing and edge gilding. In his work, he strives to create beautiful bindings in harmony with the contents of the book, with much care and attention given to both design and technical craftsmanship. He currently lives and works in Chicago.

Hotel and Travel Information

Graduate Providence (Formerly Providence Biltmore) 11 Dorrance St, Providence, RI 02903.

The guest room rate is $179.00 per night. Rates are based on single or double occupancy and are subject to applicable state and local taxes in effect at the time of check-in. Currently, the tax is 13% and includes a 7% State Sales Tax and 6% Occupancy Tax. The charge for additional adults is $15.00 per room, per night.

BOOKING ONLINE: Please use this link, or Group Reservation Code 2410HISBOO.

PHONE:  Guests can call a Hotel Reservations Agent directly at 401-421-0700 and choose Option 1, open seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, and use your group code or event name when speaking with the reservations agent.

To request a roommate or ridesharing, please fill out this form 

CUTOFF DATE FOR THIS BLOCK: October 15th, 2024


Self-parking at the Biltmore Garage located on 51 Washington Street, Providence is available for $34 per night.

Traveling to Providence

Graduate Providence is approximately 9.0 miles from TF Green International Airport, 53 miles from Boston Logan International Airport, and 0.5 miles from the Providence Amtrak/MBTA Train Station.  Public transportation is available between TF Green and Kennedy Plaza, a three-minute walk from Graduate, Providence. See for information on routes and fares.

Traveling to Providence from Boston

Amtrak, Acela, and MBTA Commuter Rail trains travel frequently between Providence and Boston’s Back Bay and South Stations. Guests flying in and out of Logan Airport may take the Silver Line MBTA bus between Logan and South Station.

Hotel Location

While in Boston

South Station and Back Bay Station are easily accessible to some of Boston’s most exciting bookish fall events. The New England Chapter of the Guild encourages including some of the following as part of your trip to Standards:

Night Circus: 2024 - 2025 Guild of Book Workers Traveling Exhibition, North Bennet Street School, 150 North Street

Boston Antiquarian Book Fair, Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston Street

Paperworks: Claire Van Vliet and the Janus Press, Boston Athenæum, 10 ½ Beacon Street

Ulises: Assembly Exhibition and Residency, SMFA at Tufts, 230 Fenway