Learn to bind your own books

I am a professional book artist who has taught bookbinding to more than 500 students of all ages. I regularly teach book arts classes through the Watkins College of Art 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: FALl 2019

Secret Belgian Binding and Coptic Binding

Coptic binding

When: Wednesdays; 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.; July 17 – August 7

Where: Watkins College of Art, 2298 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN

Cost: $175

To Register: Call (615) 383-4848 or sign up online 

Learn to make two hardcover books with distinctive stitching patterns and functional structures – perfect for sketching, journaling, or displaying photos. Students will first learn the Secret Belgian Binding, a style with an unusual history and fascinating covers that swivel around the spine of the book. Then, students will learn the popular Coptic Binding, which will be sewn with multiple needles, resulting in a beautiful two-color woven binding. Students will personalize their books by choosing from a variety of unique handmade papers and colorful thread. Open to all skill levels. All materials provided.


Paper Marbling Intensive

paper marbling

When: Saturday, August 10 & Sunday, August 11; 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m

Where: Watkins College of Art, 2298 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN

Cost: $350

To Register: Call (615) 383-4848 or sign up online 

This two-day workshop provides a hands-on introduction to all aspects of the marbling process. Students will learn to prime the paper with alum, prepare the carrageenan bath, and make traditional and contemporary patterns. Intricate designs are created by pulling combs and rakes through floating pigments, which are then transferred to paper, resulting in one-of-a-kind decorative sheets. There will be plenty of time for experimentation, and everyone will leave with a collection of their own marbled papers, which can be used for bookbinding projects or displayed as works of art. Because this is a two-day workshop, students will also have the opportunity to explore overmarbling, which is the process of layering several patterns on one sheet of paper to create fascinating overlapping designs. No previous experience is required. All materials provided.


Intermediate Book Arts: Photo Albums

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When: Mondays; 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.; September 16 – November 11

Where: Watkins College of Art, 2298 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN

Cost: $260

To Register: Registration opens on August 1 

Create a collection of handbound photo albums while expanding your bookbinding skills. Students will complete four photo albums, each with different decorative bindings and cover construction techniques. Class projects include both hardcovers and leather covers, as well as working with the Japanese stab binding, the multi-needle Coptic, longstitch variations, and other elaborate stitching patterns. We’ll discuss the qualities that a book must have in order to properly function as a photo album, in addition to methods for attaching photos, how to incorporate titles on the covers, and the importance of using acid-free materials. Students will have substantial time to personalize their books, which could be used to hold wedding photos, vacation keepsakes, or a photographer’s portfolio. All materials provided.

Prerequisite: Completion of Introduction to Book Arts, one of my bookbinding workshops, or comparable book arts experience.


Introduction to Book Arts

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When: Wednesdays; 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.; September 18 – November 13

Where: Watkins College of Art, 2298 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN

Cost: $260

To Register: Registration opens on August 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 will leave this class with an assortment of your own handbound books, and the skills and resources to continue binding at home.


Handbound Leather Journals

When: Saturday, November 2; 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Where: Watkins College of Art, 2298 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN

Cost: $150

To Register: Registration opens on August 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 at home. No previous bookbinding experience is required. All materials provided.


Miniature Book Christmas Ornaments

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When: Saturday, November 16; 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Where: Watkins College of Art, 2298 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN

Cost: $150

To Register: Registration opens on August 1 

Create a collection of miniature handmade books that can be turned into eye-catching Christmas ornaments. We’ll make three types of books that can decorate your tree, all while learning the basics bookbinding. One ornament will be a leather-bound book with blank pages, perfect for writing holiday memories inside. The second book will be bound in a lotus style that can hang on your tree in two different shapes: either opened into a three-dimensional star, or folded into a neat diamond. The third ornament be an accordion book that looks like a festive star or snowflake. You will leave the class with three handbound ornament books, and the skills to create more books in the future. No previous bookbinding experience required. All tools and materials provided.

  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.