It is the whole package that makes this residential training course so good; the combination of the people and the venue make for an atmosphere I don’t think I have quite experienced before. I will definitely be looking out for next year’s ‘book camp’ and signing up for as many classes as I can.
My first class was to making a Limp Vellum Binding with Michael Burke. I had not worked with Vellum before and was surprised and delighted with the outcome. Michael is a patient and methodical tutor, I found I learned a lot of incidentals from his stories as we were going along. He helped to take the mystery out of working with vellum and made the class fun at the same time. The bindery is light and airy with plenty of space to work in comfort. It is also, luckily, well equipped and I was able to borrow any tools I had neglected to bring along. The course was not too intense and two days slipped by very quickly.
My second class was making a full leather protective chemise with Philippa Räder. Philippa gave us an insight to working in the Royal Bindery at Windsor Castle, and explained the reason this version of the chemise was developed. We were shown an example of the beautiful chemise Philippa had made and given instruction on how to make our own. We had each brought a full leather bound book to work with, so just had to alter the scale on the instructions to fit. As I had not worked with leather much I was rather nervous, but the help and instruction I received gave me a confidence boost, and I couldn’t wait to try out the techniques at home. I was extremely pleased with the end result and I know everyone else was too.
Philippa is an excellent teacher and an excellent host. Thank you to both her and Dieter for making my stay so memorable. Not forgetting big thanks to Dominic for the delicious and plentiful food.
(2018, 2019 participant)
…Let me thank you again for a fascinating and really enjoyable couple of days learning the subtleties of the Edelpappband binding.
The atmosphere at BookCamp was friendly, relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable. There was a lot of information to absorb but it was paced just right and there were enough scheduled breaks so I never felt overloaded with information. Edelpappbind is indeed a very elegant binding method and I will be practising to make sure I can anticipate and overcome the pitfalls that you highlighted during the workshop. I am delighted with how my book turned out with your help considering how close I came to messing it up on a couple of occasions!
Thanks to you and Philippa for sharing your lovely home. And thanks to Dominic for providing such excellent food…
20 June 2019
…I thoroughly enjoyed my visits to bookcamp this year and last year, everything from the meticulous teaching to “family meals”, from getting to know other binders to just sitting in your lovely garden.
But I think the thing I appreciated most was how very generous every one was, both tutors and participants, in sharing advice, enthusiasm and even equipment during the workshops. Then, when a couple of us said we would like to learn more about how to measure books for making boxes Dieter gave us an impromptu short course one evening before dinner on doing that too!
I can’t think of anything specific that I would like to do next time but I do enjoy making enclosures and using different materials for binding, as in Michael’s longstitch binding this year.
I am looking forward to seeing what you plan for next year and hope to join you again.
(2018, 2019, 2022 participant)
Many thanks… for welcoming me into your home for the book camp - I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was great to concentrate solely on bookbinding and to return home with two bindings in tow and new skills and acquaintances gained…
Thank you again and all best wishes,
17 June 2022
Now that the dust has settled, my laundry has been done and my tools are mostly back in place in my workshop, I wanted to write to thank you all for one of the most memorable weeks-plus of my life.
I had such a ball. The tuition, location, company, food and accommodation were all absolutely fantastic. My liver will take a while to recover, as will my waistline, but I cannot imagine how my Book Camp experience could possibly be improved upon.
The great strength of Book Camp is in the tuition: four different tutors of great experience, skill, and professionalism, with four very different personalities and approaches. This combination distinguishes Book Camp from any other training I have come across, aside from a full-time MA, and makes the overall value of the event even greater than the sum of its considerable parts. You complement each other and I feel so lucky to have been able to attend for the entire eight days.
I learned so much and my book arts horizons have been expanded enormously. I also cannot remember the last time I laughed so much, so hard, and so long.
Thank you, all. Sign me up for next year please.
(2019, 2022 participant)
In March 2020, I was thrilled to be awarded the Book Camp Bursary, which gave me the opportunity to attend the full programme of Book Camp classes at half the cost. This was a fantastic opportunity, as I would not have been able to attend without this financial support. The programme was diverse and interesting, so I was very excited to go. After several unavoidable postponements due to Covid-19 lockdowns, Book Camp went ahead in June 2022.
Book Camp is a residential, intensive bookbinding experience, comprising of four consecutive two-day classes. The event is hosted at Philippa and Dieter Räder’s home and studio in Carmarthenshire - a truly beautiful setting. Book Camp was a unique experience, and unlike any other bookbinding event that I’ve been too. We shared home-cooked meals together as a group and spent the evenings chatting about our book-related interests and practices. Alongside acquiring expert knowledge from the classes, the overall enjoyment of the experience came from the communal and sociable nature of the event, and I made a lovely group of new friends. Book Camp was an incredible opportunity to spend an extended amount of time in an immersive learning environment, alongside people interested in all aspects of bookbinding.
Over the eight days, we made a Roman wax tablet with Michael Burke, an all-in-one clamshell box with Dominic Riley, a full leather binding with Dieter Räder, and a letterpress artist’s book with Philippa Räder. All four classes were fascinating and challenging, with the tutors offering in-depth technical demonstrations and support.
Book Camp offered me a completely new experience in the form of the Roman wax tablet workshop. I really relished the opportunity to work with familiar materials in a new way, such as chiselling recessed areas into wood, melting beeswax down into a liquid and quickly brushing it onto the surface. Michael provided lots of historical context as we were busy chiselling away!
The clamshell box workshop was another invaluable opportunity to improve my practice. Previously, I had always made a clamshell box in three parts, from two trays and a cover. I’d never received formal training and taught myself how to do this from studying photographs on Instagram, plus lots of trial and error! With Dominic’s instruction, I’ve refined my box-making skills, and I’ve picked up some indispensable tips on box making in general.
All four classes taught me so much. They have tangibly impacted my practice as a bookbinder and book artist. Dieter’s workshop improved my confidence in covering books in full leather. I’ve also been inspired to work on a new personal book project where I’m utilising my letterpress skills. Thank you Philippa!
I’ve included a few photographs here of the books, boxes and prints we worked on, alongside photographs of the beautiful setting in the Welsh countryside. If anybody is thinking of going to Book Camp, I really would strongly urge you to go. Finally, I’d like to thank the Book Camp team for awarding me the bursary and making this fantastic opportunity possible.
(2022 Bursary recipient)
What participants have to say: