Traditional Moroccan Bookbinding

Moroccan bookbinding is an artistic craft of great antiquity that combines three parts: making paper, binding the text block, and decorating & covering with leather or other materials. 

Binding the text block is the hidden part of any book and a fascinating art of its own, with various stitching techniques. Join VAWAA Artist and multidisciplinary craftsman Hamza on Sunday, May 31, at 10 AM EDT for a traditional Moroccan bookbinding session using the old African braid stitch techniques and a creative cover of your choice. 

During the session we'll learn how to stitch paper and create a blank bound text block with no cover. For homework, we'll each work on assembling a creative cover of our choice -- Hamza will demonstrate with decorated leather but we can replace that with any material. We'll reconnect 5 days later, on Friday, June 5th, 12:00 PM EDT, to share our books, learnings, and feedback. And who knows? Perhaps Hamza will take out his oud to serenade us with Moroccan Andalusian music! All are welcome, no experience required.

Joining us from a different time zone? Be sure to convert the time.

What you'll need

For the live session:

- 24 sheets of kraft or drawing paper in any size (avoid printing paper)
- Ruler
- Scissors
- Pencil
- Two laundry pegs or binder clips
- Needle (1mm thick if possible)
- Long thread (1mm thick if possible)
- Awl or a nail or a thick needle (to poke small holes into folded sheets of paper)
- Bees Wax (if possible)

For homework:

Depending on your cover idea, you can use a leather strap, cardboard, wood, or cardboard with pasted art onto it. Whatever you choose, make sure it is thick, sturdy and easy to poke a hole into.

How to join

We'll be hosting this VAWAA Online on Zoom. We'll send link and details to join via email a few hours before it begins.

About Hamza

Hamza is an Andalusian Oud musician, a geometer, brass-smith, bookbinder, paper-maker, paper-marbler and founder of a crafts studio dedicated to Moroccan arts and crafts in Fes. He comes from a multigenerational family of artisans and passing on crafts knowledge is a family culture. He apprenticed under his father and traveled around 15 countries crafting and learning from masters. Now his mission is to continue this legacy and help people around the world connect with old Moroccan crafts. His traditional art revolves around the art of Compass & Ruler. With those two instruments, he draws and traces Moorish and Islamic geometric patterns, etches and engraves them on brass and copper trays and embosses them on leather book covers.

Visit his artist page to learn more about his in-person VAWAA.


"The surprise moment was when Hamza played this instrument for us after we were done with the pattern making. This made the whole experience personal & real." - Hitasha

"Working live with Hamza was truly inspiring. He is an excellent teacher and was also able to ground us with the cultural significance of his art all throughout the lesson." - Steve

Sessions are ticketed to support artists, makers and our small team. If you’re experiencing financial hardship, please reach out. We may have a generous participant who has paid it forward and would ask that you pay the love forward by sharing online sessions with 3 new friends.