Book a Workshop!

Love books? Make one! Book a workshop or lecture with Ash & Elm Press and bring the book arts to you! I am so happy to be able to offer stand alone classes, workshop series, or lecture presentations on all aspects of the book arts. Check out my current offerings at the “Book a Workshop” page, and email me at if you would like a full program brochure with class details, booking information, and availability. Continue reading

Origins of Color: Natural Dyes & Inks

Note: The content of the images in this post are here with permission from Karen Gorst, who taught the workshop I attended, Origins of Color. Karen is a world class calligrapher and manuscript illuminator whose work and contact information is available on her website, Photographs were taken by me, and are the property of Ash & Elm Press.

This past weekend I attended the class Origins of Color at the New York Center for Book Arts. I’ve taken a lot of classes there, from bookbinding, to box making, letterpress, and more. The Center has excellent teachers, and you learn so much in such a small amount of time. If you live near or can travel to NYC, I highly suggest taking a class or two if you’re serious about learning anything about the book arts.

Origins of Color explored how natural colors are taken from semi-precious stones, earth, plants, and even insects. Continue reading

Tiny Book Workshop Recap

Tiny Book Workshop

I’ve written before about the Tiny Book Workshops that I was doing at Stony Brook University. In an effort to gauge interest in bookbinding classes on campus, we offered a Tiny Book Workshop to test the water. The Tiny Books are small little journals that fit on a necklace or key chain, and were a fun way to attract people to bookbinding. The initial announcement went viral on a faculty Listserv, and the workshop was booked within a couple days! We offered a second date because of campus interest, and held the workshops during campus lifetime (no classes) on February 10th and 24th. Continue reading

Pretty Paper Adventures: Adding a Tube Spine

Yesterday, I was presented with a unique bookbinding challenge at my library. Two new books received by cataloging were published without a typical spine covering. Instead, the book had soft front and back covers, and the text block stitching was exposed, protected only by a thin layer of rice paper. For a personal library, that would be fine, and with care the books would last a long time. For our academic library, these books wouldn’t last 5 loans. Continue reading

Tiny Book Workshop(s)

As some may know, I am the bookbinder at Stony Brook University Libraries in the Preservation Department, and a part-time library science student [edit: now a graduate!]. When I have my library science degree at the end of this year, I plan on working in a public-facing position in an academic and public library. Unfortunately, because my position right now is in technical services, I rarely interact with the public. So I need to work on gaining ‘customer service’ and teaching experience within my current position. I volunteer for as many outreach events as I can, and I currently run our library’s Instagram page. In an effort to gain more teaching experience and align with the SBU Libraries’ new engagement mission, I decided to work with my supervisor and begin offering bookbinding workshops. Continue reading

Long Stitch Leather Journals

A tiny, 2″ tall book made with lamb leather, lavender bookbinding thread, and jewelry charms. Zig-zag stitching.

A few weeks ago I purchased a beautiful lambskin leather hide on eBay that was quite a steal. This weekend I finally decided to use it. I busted out my bookbinding tools, and tried my hand at some leather journals in the long stitch binding style. I had never done this type of bookbinding before, but it was easy to translate the skill from regular textblock sewing, into sewing exposed stitches through a soft cover. I used Pinterest for some pattern inspiration, and added my own flair to things. You can check out my bookbinding board on Pinterest here. Continue reading

Making a Four-Fold Phase Box

originally posted August 14, 2015

Brittle Books

Most of the books I encounter fall into one of a four categories:

  • I can fix the book in house
  • I can send the book to the external bindery
  • The book is too brittle, but is in the public domain and available as a free e-book
  • The book is too brittle, and is not available online

That last category is the most problematic one. If a brittle book is available online and is not rare or valuable, we discard the book and replace it in our catalog with the free e-book. Usually, if a book is brittle it is over 100 years old, is in the public domain, and someone somewhere has digitized it and put it up for free online. However, sometimes books are brittle and are still in copyright (looking at you, yellowing 1970’s paperbacks!). Continue reading

Making a Game (of Thrones)

 originally posted August 17, 2015

Last year, a co-worker approached me about creating original board games to market our library. I had the materials and expertise to make a folding game board and game cards, but we both had little to no experience in graphic design and Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator type programs. However, I had been doing more and more creative things in Microsoft Publisher, which seemed like it would work. I decided to run with it and try using Publisher to create the game board image and cards. Since I didn’t want to waste work time on a time-consuming project that could ultimately fail, I decided to try to make a game for my own use at home first. I had a Game of Throne themed party coming up, so I decided to make a Game of Thrones Seasons 1 & 2 game based on the game of Clue.

who will win

Edit: HBO has recently released an official Game of Thrones Clue game you can get here. The game board, cards, and other items below I created myself for my personal use before that game was made available- I do not sell this game or these images. Continue reading