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Center for Book Arts - Coptic & Bookworm Bindings with Bexx Caswell

In this class, students will have the opportunity to make 3 hardcover non-adhesive bindings in miniature. Each binding features an exposed spine, decorative sewing structure, and sewn board attachment.

We'll start with the Coptic binding. This style of binding is the earliest form of the codex, dating back to the 2nd century. Although it is no longer used in traditional binding, it endures today as a structure for artists' books because of its versatility and ability to lie flat when opened. After mastering the Coptic sewing and board attachment, we'll make two different versions of the "bookworm" binding, which was developed by Bexx Caswell. This unique binding employs elements of the Coptic, historic longstitch, and link stitch to create a playful non-adhesive binding that is both sculptural and structurally sound. A third sewing variation will also be discussed.

Bexx Caswell is a bookbinder and book conservator specializing in custom binding, miniature books, and book conservation. She holds a Certificate in Bookbinding from the North Bennet Street School and a Master's of Library Science from Simmons College. Before moving to Iowa City, IA this past December, Bexx spent nearly a decade living in the Boston area where she worked in a variety of libraries and conservation labs, including those at Harvard and MIT. In addition to her passion for bookbinding, Bexx also has an affinity for typography, bibliomysteries, and vegan baking.

Required Tools (please purchase before the start of the workshop and bring with you):

  • Awl or Pin Vice
  • Beeswax or Microcrystalline wax
  • Bone folder or Teflon folder
  • Dividers
  • Pencil
  • Pliers
  • Ruler
  • Sewing needles
  • Scissors (small)

Optional Tools:

  • Collins Needle Grabbers (available from any sewing supply store)
  • Pliers a
  • Punching Trough (Please bring one if you have one)

You may want to bring your lunch.

Saturday, October 5, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Registration has ended. Please browse courses for future offerings of this course.

102 Wishcamper Building, USM Portland campus


For questions about this workshop, workshop materials, or instructor information, please contact USM Center for Book Arts at (207) 780-4031 or email Rebecca Goodale at