Traditional Moroccan Bookbinding: The Long Stitch Technique

Binding a text block and cover is a fascinating art of its own, with various stitching techniques shared across cultures.

Join VAWAA Artist and multidisciplinary craftsman Hamza on Sunday, June 28, at 11 AM EDT for another traditional Moroccan bookbinding session using a creative cover of your choice. In the last session, we learned the old African braid stitch techniques-- in this one, we will use the long stitch technique, also known as codex binding. This old binding technique started in old Egypt and dates back to the 4th Century A.D.

What makes bookbinding Moroccan is the addition of an embossed leather cover. While Hamza will demonstrate with leather, we can replace that with any soft, strong, and malleable material found at home, such as denim. 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

- 18 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 nail or thick needle (to poke small holes into folded sheets of paper and cover)
- Bees Wax (if possible)
- A divider (if possible; it's a compass with two sharp points and no pencil holder)
- A flat rectangular piece of leather or synthetic leather for the cover. Eg. cut a spare leather bag or any other item of no use. Or use another soft, strong, and malleable material such as denim. Cover dimensions: must be bigger than the paper with +2.5 cm / +1 cm (length/ width). For example, if the paper is 16 cm / 13 cm, your cover must be 18.5 cm / 14 cm.

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.


"Very amazing class, yet challenging but so satisfying when I achieved binding my book. Besides sharing creativity with people from all over the world was so fascinating. Recommend" - Imene

"A really useful book form and excellent tuition - thank you Hamza!" - Gillian

"Hamza is fantastic! I’ve been enjoying his Moroccan geometry class here in Vawaa and this one is on par! Fun, enjoyable and well organized!" - Clara

"Loved learning a different method of Coptic Stitch binding. Hamza made it easy to follow and is very knowledgable and patient. Looking forward to another workshop (please)." - Janet

"Beautifully and clearly presented method of Moroccan bookbinding. Hamza provided terminology and demonstrated the craft to create a book or journal. It was a class." - Kathy

"The class was great, well facilitated and reasonably priced. Hamza was a pleasure - knowledgeable and patient and encouraging. The process was fun and I’m pleased with the results." - Pat

"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.