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Introduction to Coptic Binding
6-Session Evening Course

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Wed., Jan. 23–Feb. 27, 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Code: 1K00XW

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Holding a well-made hand-bound book is a rare and rewarding experience, especially when you have made it yourself. In this course, learn how to produce a beginning-level Coptic structure with extremely beautiful and satisfying results.

Coptic binding is ancient book structure developed in Egypt by the Copts and used from the 2nd century A.D. through the 11th century. In this style of binding, the sections of the book are sewn through the fold and attached to each other with link stitches. The spine is exposed creating a decorative element out of the sewn structure.

In this course, learn how to make a Coptic-bound book from folding the sections, to cutting and sewing them. Students are guided through the book construction process from start to finish. They also explore various binding materials such as handmade papers and creative cover choices. This non-adhesive binding technique can be easily replicated at home.

Shared tools and some supplies are provided.

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Instructor Katie Wagner is an experienced book artist and conservator who has her own conservation studio. She also works for Smithsonian Libraries.

6 sessions, 2 1/2 hours each

Smithsonian Connections

Science and the Artist’s Book is an enticing collection of artist’s books inspired by Smithsonian science that resulted from a joint venture between Smithsonian Libraries and Washington Project for the Arts. Students in this class will use similar materials and techniques to create their books.


S. Dillon Ripley Center
Room 3041
1100 Jefferson Drive, S.W.
Metro: Smithsonian (Blue/Orange Lines)