Bookbinding in Russia Leather: Make a notebook using leather from a 1786 shipwreck!



Immerse yourself in a day of creative work and create a unique personalised pocket notebook.

In this workshop we will work with 'Russia Leather'; a material that has been salvaged from the cargo hold of the shipwreck of the Metta Catharina. For 200 years she has laid at the bottom of the ocean. She sank in 1786 and rests at a depth of 30 metres off the Cornish coast near Plymouth.

This is a small, friendly, informal workshop for all abilities and accommodates up to four students. The course is designed to be both accessible for beginners and engaging and interesting for intermediate abilities. Tuition is available almost any day except for Saturdays. You're welcome to click 'Chat with the Maker' to request a date to suit your own diary. I usually teach bookbinding twice a week so please message me with your preferred dates.

I have been working as a professional restoration bookbinder for 12 years and have a post graduate qualification in Museum studies and a PGCE. I enjoy teaching and helping people to create unusual projects.

An Introduction To Russia Leather.

In its day Russia leather was regarded as one of the finest leathers in the world. Such high praise was attributed to a careful curing process which involved soaking the hides in willow bark vats for several months before treating them in birch oil. This gives the material a unique and attractive smell which has since matured for 200 years at the bottom of the ocean. If you like the smell of Talisker whisky you may well like this also!

Leather doesn't usually last very long in seawater so Its quite amazing the hides are here today; an impressive testament to the skill and art of the Russian tannery in 1786 and also the tenacious efforts of the dive team of The Metta Catherina Trust. They spent an incredible 30 years diving the wreck, clearing tonnes of mud and debris and conducting archaeological research on this unique story.

Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 2 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.

What's included in the price?

All materials included. The photographs show an A6 notebook but if you'd like to tackle a larger project this is very possible but please send me your enquiry.

Frome town centre is 5 minutes walk away with cafes and shops for a lunchbreak.


Stephen Glendenning at Boundbooks


The Welsh Mill
Park Hill Drive
BA11 2LE

Suitable for

  • Adults
  • Fathers Day
  • Hearing impaired
  • Intermediate level
  • Mothers Day
  • Parking provided
  • Public transport
  • Romantic
  • Seniors
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Tutor can travel


7 hours (flexible times to suit)

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