Binding Workshop with Julia Miller

Binding Workshop with Julia Miller promotional image

UI Center for the Book 2015 Mitchell Lecturer Workshop

Julia Miller–UI Center for the Book 2015 Mitchell Lecturer will offer a workshop investigating Coptic binding tradition:
M 671 - A 13th c.—A Transitional Binding?


April 3–5, 2015 ✦ Friday, 4pm–7pm; Saturday & Sunday, 9:30am–5:00pm

This workshop is designed to acquaint participants with the features of Coptic binding that were established in the first millennium and continue to be used by hand bookbinders and book artists today. Beginning on the first half day of the workshop we will look at early-, mid-, and late-Coptic binding structures, beginning with a power-point presentation and continuing with the examination and discussion of the instructor’s collection of models.

Workshop participants will use this background to create a model of M 671, a ca. 13th century binding of a Coptic text with rubrics in Arabic that has structural and decorative elements linking it to both the Coptic and the Islamic binding traditions. We will begin the first full workshop day discussing the different types of book boards found on Coptic bindings while forming the layered paper boards of our model. Time allowing we will also create samples of other types of early book boards (layered papyrus cartonnage and pulped boards).

The instructor’s Coptic and Islamic binding models will be available throughout the workshop period for study and photography. Workshop participants may want to bring some materials (papyrus, leather, parchment, paper, offcuts of same) to allow them to work on small models of some of the exemplars or to duplicate structural elements such as attachment styles.


Julia Miller is a bench-trained conservator who studies and writes about historical binding structures. She is the author of Books Will Speak Plain: A Handbook for Identifying and Describing Historical Bindings, now in a revised second edition, published in 2010 and 2014 by The Legacy Press. She authored a typology of American scaleboard bindings in Volume I of Suave Mechanicals – Essays on the History of Bookbinding published in 2013, and serves as editor for the series. She is currently working on a second book, Bound to Disappear, devoted to describing a variety of binding types and structures that have received little or no attention in scholarly writing on the history of bookbinding.



Registration:  $90.00 ($75.00 for UI Students)

To register, email Julie Leonard at

Friday, April 3 to Sunday, April 5, 2015 (all day)
North Hall
Kolarik Bindery Room 16
20 Davenport Street, Iowa City, IA 52245
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Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Kathleen Tandy in advance at 319-335-0447 or