A website about constructing metal book clasps, bosses and other types of book hardware, showing examples of book clasp repair and restoration and information on workshops offered by Joycelyn Merchant on the design and construction of metal bookclasps.



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Workshop Participants


Book Clasp Workshops


Click pic for larger view of samples.

Workshop Schedule

No workshops in 2009


I became interested in the book arts after a 25 year career as an artist, metalsmith, and production jewelry designer. While learning about bookbinding and conservation, I found that there was very little information about book closures or hardware, and no readily available resource for clasps or bosses; so I did some research, and began to make my own.

Bringing together my accumulated skills, I now offer workshops workshops specifically geared for the book artist, teaching them how to fabricate metal book clasps, closures and book decorations.

Using readily available tools and materials, participants learn simplified metal working skills and metal decorating techniques, and how make hinges and clasps, using only cold connections (no soldering). During a two day workshop, students will make two different clasps, one simpler strap style, and another more complex hinged style. They will also learn how to properly attach both types onto a book made with wooden cover boards.

Clasps will be attached to a model book made with wooden boards which students are required to make and bring to the workshop. For those who may be unfamiliar with making books in wooden boards, I provide very clear instructions ahead of time for making a very simply constructed book of this style which is perfectly suitable for use in my workshop

I also demonstrate the use of patinas for coloring metal, and students will have an opportunity to apply a patina their clasps if they wish. If there is extra time we may begin another clasp, or I may demonstrate the construction of bosses or other types of book decorations.

Participants will leave the workshop with some basic, very practical and useful skills for making metal fasteners and decorations suitable for use on books or boxes.

I provide almost all tools, equipment, and supplies for students use. Detailed written instructions and supplier information are provided in class handouts. Students pay a small materials fee to cover shipping of tools and the cost of supplies in addition to the class fee.

Workshops are usually two days long, but can be longer. Obviously, the longer the workshop, the more techniques will be taught and the more work the student will be able to accomplish. Fasteners and clasps similar to some of those taught in the classes can be viewed throughout this web site.View some photos and clasp examples from various workshops here or here

I've taught workshops at the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College in Chicago; at the 2004 Paper and Book Intensive (PBI); and at the Oregon Book Arts Guild Focus Conference 2005. In 2006 I did a workshop for the New York Guild of Bookworkers and at the Huntington Library. In 2007, for theCalifornia Hand Bookbinders, Oakland, Ca, and at Hollander's in Ann Arbor, MI.And again at the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College in Chicago in 2008.

If you are interested in planing a workshop, please contact me for more information.

Joycelyn Merchant
Ginkgo Leaf Books
1759 Rosehill Drive
Chicago, IL 60660

773.989.2200 ph
773.989.7599 fax


All content and images © Joycelyn Merchant 2003-2009