Bookbinding at North Branch

Bookbinding at North Branch

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I recently took an Intro to Bookbinding workshop at North Branch Projects. “North Branch Projects is an independently run project space located in Albany Park, Chicago, IL, that serves as a community bookbinding facility. The space provides an outlet for exploring the creative process in a neighborhood where few resources for the arts exist.” This community space was created by Regin Igloria, a Chicago artist who grew up in Albany Park. I learned about North Branch Projects through Regin while attending a residency at Ragdale. Regin is also the Director of Residencies and Fellowships at Ragdale.

North Branch offers free community bookbinding sessions four days a week, in which those involved are instructed in the techniques for creating coptic-style handmade books. No experience is necessary to attend these sessions and all materials are provided. The sale of handmade books supports the cost of space and materials. There are also a collection of books assembled by participants, in which they are welcomed to write and draw. These books form a “Neighborhood Archive.”

North Branch also offers workshops in Paste Papers and Japanese Stab Binding. All workshops are reasonably priced. I took the Intro to Bookbinding class with Heather Bella. Having never made books before, and needing to learn a basic foundation of bookbinding for a current project I’m working on, this class came up on the schedule at exactly the right time for me. Heather is a wonderful, fun and patient teacher. If you are new to bookbinding, I would recommend taking a class from her. (More on Heather in a future post…)

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“North Branch Projects uses the book arts to expand the creative reach of individuals. Dialogue is encouraged between people in an inclusive setting, making it possible for ideas to have a positive impact in society. The studio community fosters an open approach to sharing work with new audiences and encourages collaboration and integration.”