Bookbinding and Decorative Paper

Learning about the traditional techniques

TEC in collaboration with Paola Fagnola presents the a course concerning decorative papermaking and bookbindingHands-on preparation of materials including decorated papers and paper bindings, based on historical models; also the preparation of the specific tools and materials (ex: combs, pigments and colours); and understanding of the processes involved in these productions. 

Where: Turin (Torino) Italy
When: 29th June – 6th July 2019
Tutor: Paola Fagnola
Appropriate for: all levels of practitioners are welcome
Focus: The traditional skills and techniques of Bookbinding and Decorative Paper making. 

Deadline to book: 30th May 2019

Bookbinding and Decorative Paper

Making paste paper one of the techniques taught on the TEC Bookbinding and Decorative Papermaking courseIn the first part of the workshop participants will be led through the  traditional processes of creating decorated and marbled papers: various historical patterns for marbled papers (spotted, combed, waved, curl, peacock etc.), and for paste and decorated papers (sprinkled, stained etc.) using both fingers and tools. 

Historical recipes and colour preparation, and how to replicate them with modern materials when necessary, will be explained during the workshop. 

Each participant will have the chance to create samples for each technique and learn how to make variations on tools, materials and patterns. 

The second part of the course will be dedicated to bookbinding: using some of the paper participants have created, we will look at several paper bindings models (pamphlets, wrappers, limp bindings or rigid paper cases etc.) and together we will replicate some of these techniques.

Decorative Paper Techniques

Paste Paper

Decorative Paste Paper making with Paola Fagnola part of the TEC Bookbinding and Decorative Papermaking coursePaste paper has been used in bookbinding for over 400 years, where it has been used as both endsheets and to cover books. Early paste papers were made in Italy, France and especially Germany in 16th century with mono-coloured rice paste, the most common colours being indigo and burn sienna. The Moravians from Hernnhut (East Saxony, Germany), who were well known for their paste papers, emigrated to the USA in 1740s and popularised the process of Paste Paper in North America.

Paste paper was often made directly by the bookbinders, as paste being an adhesive that is used widely in the field. Decorated papers can be created by applying paste paint to a sheet of paper with a brush or sponge. Directly after the application of the paint, a decoration can be added with stamps or other tools, sometimes even with fingers. As long as the paste paint remains wet, all sorts of patterns and designs can be created.

As paste paper is quite easy to create without many tools it is still commonly used as an artistic technique. It is also still used in bookbinding, with modern patterns, and with a greater range of colours and materials.

Paper Marbling

Example of European paper marbling similar to some of the techniques covered by Paola FagnolaPaper marbling is a technique of using colours floated on water to produce patterns like those found in marble and other kinds of stone. Inks or paints are floated on either water or a viscous solution and then transferred to the paper.

The earliest examples of paper marbling originate from Japan in the 10th Century, where the traditional practices of using sumi ink on a water base (suminagoashi), which it is still used today. It is commonly held that the tradition of paper marbling entered Europe around the 17th century from Turkey where the technique is known as Ebru.

Students preparing for paper marbling with inks on water - TEC Bookbinding and Decorative Papermaking coursePaper Marbling has been widely used through Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America not only to embellish endsheets and paper for the book covers, but also to decorate book edges, stationery, and as a writing surface for calligraphy. In 1853 Charles Woolnogh published “The Art of Marbling” which popularised the technique. Today the process of paper marbling is also used and explored as a decorating and artistic technique on three-dimensional surfaces, on fabrics, as well as the more traditional paper, and has also been combined with other mediums such as varnishes and lacquers.

Bookbinding Techniques

Paper Binding

Bookbinding skills will be taught by Paola Fagnola during the TEC Bookbinding and Decorative Papermaking coursePaper binding spread widely throughout Europe between the 15th and 19th centuries. The technique was not only used by bookbinders, but also by publishers, printers, booksellers, librarians and private collectors. The results of the binding process have helped preserve in excellent condition many rare and ancient books, folios and other treasures.

Due to the resistance and longevity of paper binding techniques conservators have been studying the processes in search of models for their rebinding work, that either use minimal amounts of adhesive or none at all.

We will be looking at methods and techniques like wrappers, cased bindings, rigid, and flexible bindings, with both decorated or stiff paper on the cover. These structures are very simple and can nowadays be easily replicated with tools and materials available from local retailers.

Paola Fagnola

Paola Fagnola will be teaching the TEC Bookbinding and Decorative Papermaking Course in Torino (June 2019)Paola Fagnola started training as a bookbinder at a young age in the “Centro del Bel Libro” ( Ascona, Switzerland) and later graduated as a “Book and Paper Conservator” from SAF-ICRCPAL (Rome, Italy).

At the age of 21, she won the “Prix Gourmand de la reliure” at the Biennale Mondiale de la Reliure d’Art (St.Rémy-lés-chevreuses, France) with her first binding.

More recently Paola was awarded 1st Prize in the bookbinding category at the “Pieces for Peace” competition in 2014 (Ypres, Belgium) and has been part of the Biennale’s jury since 2015.

She is currently working as a Bookbinder and Book Conservator at Bottega Fagnola, the family-owned studio in Turin, Italy. She is also teaching and tutoring various programmes about bookbinding, box-making, and book conservation, for design and conservation schools all over Italy, including SAF-ICRCPAL (Rome, Italy).

Venue: Torino

TEC is delighted to be hosting this fabulous course in the heart of Torino. In the north-west of Italy, Torino was the principle home to the Italian Royal family, the House of Savoy (Savoia). Through the centuries the royal family collected many fine examples of artwork, manuscripts and books that are now permanently housed in and around the city of Torino. Consequently, Torino makes a fabulous host city and during the course guests will have the opportunity to visit some of these great collections and view early examples of bookbinding and decorative papers 

Collegio San Giuseppe

TEC is pleased to have a very close relationship with the Collegio San Giuseppe, and we are pleased to work closely with the college on a number of different activities. 

The Collegio is in a magnificent location in the beating heart of the city. Just a short walk from the main station (Torino Porta Nuova)  and the many shops, restaurants and bars, museums and palaces that make up this wonderful city.

Participants who are staying with TEC during the workshop will be staying on-site in either single or twin bed on-suite rooms. Rooms include breakfast, and the workshop will include lunch at the Collegio.

In the evening you will be able to explore more of the city. 

Bottega Fagnola

Bottega Fagnola was established in 1955 under the name of “Legatoria Rocchietti”. During the 1970’s Luciano Fagnola started as an apprentice at “Legatoria Rocchietti”. In 1981 Luciano acquired the ownership of the studio. He has extended the firm’s operations from solely craft bookbindings to include: box making; book and paper conservation and restoration; fine and design binding; and in recent years, teaching and mentoring in these techniques and processes.

The “Bottega Fagnola” name today is synonymous with the high quality of craftsmanship of Luciano, Paola and their staff. They combine traditional craft skills with new technologies to create products and services, which are bespoke, avant-garde, and award-winning.


TEC is delighted to offer you this great opportunity to learn about Bookbinding and traditional Decorative Paper making from an award winning Bookbinder and Book Conservator. We are limited to 15 places, once these are filled we will open a waiting list.

Workshop Fees:

The standard Package:

1400€ per person

  • Seven nights of bed-and-breakfast accommodation at the Collegio San Giuseppe, in a single on-suite room. 
  • Guided Tour of Torino 
  • six days of workshops with our resident tutor 
  • All art materials required for the course (including  all recipe instructions, diagrams on executive techniques, and bibliography references) 
  • Six Lunches 
  • All entrances to museums included as part of the course 
  • Additional help with evening activities

Special Rates

If you would like to participate on the course with a friend or partner, we are pleased to offer a special rate of 1300€ per person for participants who wish to share a twin room.
At the time of booking you will be required to give the name and email address of the second participant so that we can contact them to confirm their booking. 

We understand that sometimes it can be great to travel with your loved one, but they may not be interest in attending the course. We are pleased to offer a special rate for a couple, with one full participant (as outlined above) joined by a partner.  

The full participant will include all the benefits above in the main package
They will share an on-suite twin room with their partner.  
The accompanying partner will be on a bed-and-breakfast basis only.  
If accompanying partner wish to attend the course lunch there will be an additional charge of 15€ per meal.

How to book your place

  • Complete the form below will let us know you are interested
  • You will then receive an email with instructions on how to pay € deposit to book your place
  • The rest of the fee must be paid no later than 30th May 2019.
  • See the terms and conditions for more information

Bookbinding and
Decorative Paper Course

in Collaboration with

TEC is collaborating with Bottega Fagnola to present this wonderful opportunity to learn Bookbinding and Papermaking
Bottega Fagnola