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 7 – April 4

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

Cost: $210

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

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. All supplies included.

Intermediate Book Arts

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

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

Cost: $210

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

Expand your bookbinding skills by adding a handful of ambitious bindings to your repertoire. Over nine weeks, students will learn new techniques and have substantial time to personalize each project. We will explore the icicle binding, herringbone binding, and drum leaf binding, as well as other leather and hardcover books with elaborate exposed stitching along the spines. Students will be able to use these functional books as journals, sketchbooks, and photo albums. All supplies included.

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

Handbound Leather Journals Workshop

When: Saturday, February 17; 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m

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

Cost: $100

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

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 and all materials included.

Western Paper Marbling Workshop

Western paper marbling workshop

When: Saturday, April 7; 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m

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

Cost: $150

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

In this introductory workshop, students will gain a basic understanding of the history, techniques, tools, and styles of European paper marbling. Students will experiment with free-form swirled patterns, and learn to create intricate classical patterns using combs and rakes to manipulate the pigments in a carrageenan bath. The patterns will then be transferred to paper, creating one-of-a-kind decorative sheets. Students will have plenty of time for experimentation, and they’ll leave with a collection of their own marbled papers, which can be using for bookbinding projects or displayed as works of art. All materials included.

Suminagashi Paper Marbling & Bookbinding

Suminagashi Paper Marbling by Katie Gonzalez

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

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

Cost: Free for K-12 art teachers

To Register: Call (615) 383-4848 

Bind a journal from your own collection of suminagashi marbled papers. Dating back some 800 years, this Japanese marbling 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 leave with inspiration for your own art, and tons of ideas for classroom projects and adaptations for students.

Additional information: Thanks to a generous grant from the Memorial Foundation, the Watkins College teacher programs provide free professional development opportunities for K-12 educators to engage in hands-on artmaking activities and develop strategies for incorporating thematic and contemporary ideas, projects, and techniques into curricula. These programs are a chance for educators to rejuvenate their creative juices in a community of peers while developing new skills for themselves and ideas for the classroom.

  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.