• American Academy of Bookbinding (map)



Historically, bindings had titles, almost without exception. They were very often rendered in gold leaf on the spine. In the middle of the 20th century however, designers of fine bindings began to consider the appearance of titles as optional, and that trend still continues. The change from obligatory titling to optional titling has resulted in two seemingly opposing viewpoints: that titling doesn’t matter and there is no reason to learn it; and titling really matters because if it is chosen to be part of a given design, it had better be done with the same degree of skill as other tooling and decorative techniques used in that design.

You may not be surprised to know, this class strongly promotes the second viewpoint and provides instruction in two methods of titling to ensure mastery: handle letters (individual brass letters mounted in wood handles) and loose brass type arranged in a hand-held type holder (composteur).

This one-week course will lay out the simple yet precise techniques necessary to achieve elegant gold titling. Students will work on titling blocks covered with leather and will spend time using handle letters and type held in composteurs. Through personal guided instruction, this class will build a strong practical foundation in titling, including body form mechanics, tool heat and pressure, blind tooling, the handling of gold leaf and finally, titling in gold. Significant emphasis will also be made on learning to make titling adjustments and correcting errors that will inevitably occur. Once this foundation is built, the rest is practice. Class size is limited to eight.

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