ARTS(BA)400 Book Arts, Patricia Silva, Spring 2020 | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

ARTS(BA)400 Book Arts, Patricia Silva, Spring 2020


This intensive course will introduce students to the traditions and methods of the handmade book, as well as the expressive possibilities available with bookworks. The student will begin with simple foundational structures such as pamphlet-stitched and accordion style books and progress through more complex historical structures such as books sewn on supports, longstitch and coptic bindings. Exploration with materials is encouraged and students can combine other media (such as photography, screenprinting, painting, etc.) they are familiar with in creating their bookworks and artist’s books.


No previous knowledge or experience of book arts is necessary for this course, though good manual skills and attention to detail and craftsmanship are desirable.

Goals and Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course students will have acquired the basic skills and techniques to create a minimum of 8-10 different book structures, as well as, different types of enclosures. Students will also have experimented with the use of different image and text-making techniques.


Attendance is mandatory. This is a hands-on learning class where students must see demonstrations in order to complete projects. More than 2 absences will affect your grade. More than 5 absences will constitute a failing grade in the course. Absences due to illness will only be considered excused with the presentation of a note from either the school’s director or a doctor. Demonstrations will take place at the beginning of class, therefore, students must arrive on time. Arriving to class more than 20 minutes late will constitute an absence. Students are responsible for finding out what they missed due to an absence and for making up that work.


Grades will be based on attendance and class participation (10%), completion of models (at midterm 20% and at end semester 20%), individual progress, quality and creativity of individual/group projects (50%). There will be group critiques of individual projects. Students will be expected to complete examples of all structures introduced in class. Students will also be required to complete three to four individual projects in which the student will introduce content (text and/or images) into a structure of their choosing as well as one to two group class projects. All assignments must be turned in on time. Assignments turned in up to one week late will be subject to one full letter grade reduction. No assignments will be accepted after one week from its due date. Assignments turned in after one week of deadline will receive a grade of F.

Graduate Students
Students in MFA, MA, and Post-Bac programs are expected to complete additional assignments and to produce work at a level appropriate for students in a graduate program. They are graded accordingly and, if they successfully complete all course requirements for graduate students, receive graduate-level credit for the course.


Each class period will begin with a discussion of the binding or project to be completed that day. At this time, students will also be told what materials they will need for the next class meeting.

Please come prepared and take notes!

N.B. This syllabus may be revised and/or amended as the course proceeds. You will be notified of any changes.

Week 1

Monday, January 13
Course introduction
Discussion of required materials and course expectations
Pamphlet stitch with variations

Wednesday, January 15
Continue pamphlet stitch with variations
In-class work on sketchbooks

Week 2

Monday, January 20
Accordion structures
Assignment of Project #1 - Group project

Wednesday, January 22
Complete accordion structures
Demo: Image transfer techniques

Week 3

Monday, January 27
Project #1 due in class
Carousel and Tunnel books
Assignment of Project #2 - Bottega Book

Wednesday, January 29
Binding of Project #1
Demo: Backing cloth

Week 4

Monday, February 3
Concertina Binding

Wednesday, February 5
Stab bindings

Week 5

Monday, February 10
Open studio

Wednesday, February 12
Enclosures for stab bindings

Week 6

Monday, February 17
Longstitch Binding

Wednesday, February 19
Assignment of Project #3 - Group project
Open studio

Week 7

Monday, February 24
Project #2 due in class
Open studio

Wednesday, February 26


Week 8

MIDTERM BREAK (February 29 - March 8)


Week 9

Monday, March 9
Assignment of Project #4

Wednesday, March 11
Buttonhole stitch
Assignment of Project #5

Week 10

Monday, March 16
Drumleaf binding

Wednesday, March 18
Binding of Project #3

Week 11

Monday, March 23
Coptic stitch binding

Wednesday, March 25
Project #4 due in class
Guest lecture (tentative)

Friday, March 27
Make-up class for Easter Monday

Week 12

Monday, March 30
Caterpillar binding

Wednesday, April 1
Open studio

Week 13

Monday, April 6
Project #5 due in class
Case binding

Wednesday, April 8
Complete case binding

Week 14

Monday, April 13
Easter Monday--NO CLASS

Wednesday, April 15
Open studio

Week 15

Monday, April 20
Project #6 due in class
Open studio

Wednesday, April 22


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