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


About the Course

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. Your welcome to email me to request a date to suit your own diary. I usually teach bookbinding twice a week so please email 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.

When I'm not teaching I'm working on conservation bookbinding jobs for clients. A portfolio of this can be seen on my website.

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.

Below is a Mandarin translation of the course description. Please note this course is taught in English! We do however welcome visitors from around the world and recognise a particular interest in this medium from China.






~ 工作坊内容 ~

您将在友善的四人小型工作坊中,使用珍贵并稀少的古董皮革 - 俄罗斯皮革 (Russia leather)作为书籍封皮。

(注:俄罗斯皮革是从一艘装载着珍贵专业皮革的俄罗斯Brigante号货船上抢救并保存下来的,当时因海上风暴在1786年时沉没在普利茅斯海峡。俄罗斯皮革在当时为世界上公认最好的皮革之一。这种赞誉归功于一种仔细的固化过程 (curing process)—先将柳树皮中的生皮浸泡许多个月,然后用桦树油处理它们。因此皮革具有防水性,可抵抗昆虫损坏。我们能在今日使用俄罗斯皮革,即是见证了18世纪后期制革厂的技艺和艺术。)




~ 工作坊老师 ~

Stephen Glendenning



If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.

What's included in the price?

All materials included. The photographs show an A6 notebook but if youd 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
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Suitable for

  • Fathers Day
  • Intermediate level
  • Public transport
  • Suitable for beginners

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