Learn to bind your own books

I am a professional book artist who has taught bookbinding to more than 400 students of all ages. I regularly teach book arts classes through the Watkins College community education department in Nashville, Tennessee. 

I have also taught bookbinding workshops at the Nashville Public Library, Austin Peay State University, Cheekwood Botanical Garden, The Skillery, the University School of Nashville, and the Shenandoah Valley Art Center. I've volunteered to lead workshops with non-profit groups such as Thistle Farms and Casa Azafran.

French link stitch bookbinding workshop in Nashville, Tennessee taught by Katie Gonzalez.

Upcoming classes

Introduction to Book Arts

When: Wednesdays; 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.; February 8 – April 5

Where: Watkins College, 2298 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville

Cost: $210, plus $40 materials fee

To Register: Call (615) 383-4848 or sign up online (Registration opens on Dec. 1)

Learn the basics of bookmaking — and more than a dozen binding styles — in this introductory class. Over nine weeks, students will become familiar with the materials, tools, techniques, and vocabulary of handmade books. Students will create their own books each week, starting with simple folded structures and building toward intricate books that can be used as journals, sketchbooks, photo albums, and sculptural displays. We will explore the essentials of paper grain, folded signatures, hardcover and softcover books, and sewing by hand. The class will also include the opportunity to view and handle a collection of professionally made examples. You’ll leave this class with an assortment of your own handbound books, and the skills and resources to continue binding at home.

Handbound Leather Journals Workshop

When: Saturday, March 4; 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m

Where: Watkins College, 2298 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville

Cost: $90, plus $35 materials fee

To Register: Call (615) 383-4848 or sign up online (Registration opens on Dec. 1)

Learn to bind a softcover leather book that can be used as a journal, a sketchbook, or a photo album. Using the Italian Longstitch style, a historical binding that dates to 14th Century Europe, each student will create a book with a leather cover that features decorative stitching on its spine, and pages that lay completely flat when open. Students will use leather for the book cover and have the option to include colorful handmade papers inside. You’ll leave this class with a completed book, and the skills and resources to continue binding. No previous bookbinding experience is required.

French Link Stitch Sketchbooks Workshop

French Link Stitch sketchbooks workshop

When: Saturday, March 11; 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m

Where: Watkins College, 2298 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville

Cost: $80, plus $25 materials fee

To Register: Call (615) 383-4848 or sign up online (Registration opens on Dec. 1)

Participants will make their own sketchbook while learning the French link stitch. This bookbinding method features a criss-cross stitching pattern on the spine, allowing you to show off your handiwork. These books will be made from a variety of papers, such as handmade paper, maps, wallpaper samples, envelopes, and vintage book pages. We’ll also dedicate time to filling these books in creative ways. We will start with a series of prompts, and explore different materials and mark-making techniques. Students will leave class with a sketchbook, the inspiration to continue exploring and documenting the world, and the skills to easily replicate the binding at home — so you’ll never have to buy another sketchbook again. No bookbinding experience required. All tools and materials will be provided, but you’re welcome to bring interesting papers to incorporate into your book.

Suminagashi Paper Marbling

Suminagashi Paper Marbling by Katie Gonzalez

When: Saturday, April 1; 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m

Where: Watkins College, 2298 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville

Cost: $80, plus $25 materials fee

To Register: Call (615) 383-4848 or sign up online (Registration opens on Dec. 1)

Create a collection of decorated papers using the meditative method of suminagashi marbling. Dating back some 800 years, this Japanese technique floats ink pigments atop a liquid bath. With gentle manipulations — such as blowing across the surface of the water — and a good deal of spontaneity, patterns form and are transferred to paper. In this one-day workshop, you’ll create dozens of colorful sheets that can be used for bookmaking projects, greeting cards, gift wrap, and other paper arts.

  Student Testimonials

Katie is a skilled, friendly instructor. She is generous in sharing her talents and her skills abound. She has the important ability to break instruction down into smaller steps so students can follow and produce beautiful and interesting books. I highly recommend her classes to others.”

”Katie is marvelous at demonstrating and teaching.”

”I love the way Katie Gonzalez teaches. Her approach is genuine and non-threatening. Her passion shows in each book she shares. It is a treat to take one of her classes!”

”Hand-making books is such a unique and fun activity! Katie Gonzalez made it so easy with her organized environment and well thought-out lesson as she engaged us in each step, one at a time.”

”Katie Gonzalez is an excellent instructor and leads you through bookbinding with her extensive knowledge, helpful hints and endless encouragement. Her classes are the best and always fun.