The Complete Book Arts

We are currently taking expressions of interest for next year's Complete Book Artist course. The course is in the planning stage. We will look to conform details and dates in the coming weeks. The course runs over 30 weeks on Tuesday evenings. Last year's course ran March to December. (The dates on the front page of this post/listing are for general guidance only.) Please email to sign up for early alerts as soon as course bookings are open, so you don't miss out!

price £1300 / £*
date 05 Mar, 2024 - 10 Dec, 2024
times 10.30am - 4.30pm
duration 1 year

Tutor and book artist Sylvia Waltering will guide you through a range of book structures, from simple but effective folding moving on to more complex folds, and going further to learn how to make hard-backed covers and different stitching and binding techniques. Spread over a total of 30 weeks this course is aimed at anybody looking to learn how to make books and explore and develop ideas through the form of the artists book. 

There are also weeks with guest tutors showing you how to print with relief print, letterpress and screenprint so your own hand-made books can be interlaced with your own imagery or designed around your own artwork.

You will develop a sound knowledge of materials and techniques and will learn how to make a variety of book structures. These range from simple, yet fascinating structures to more challenging multi-section case-bound books. You will also learn how to make two different portfolio boxes to house and protect loose prints or some of the great books you have made on the course. Whether you have never made a book before or have some experience already, if you like books and you like making, this course is for you.

As well as equipping you with technical knowledge, the course will also dip into exploring narrative, sequencing, text & image and consider the relationship between form and content. If you are new to creative practice you can use the book form to discover your own creativity. If you already have an established visual practice you will be able to explore how this might be translated into the form of the artists book. In addition to bookbinding, the course includes an introduction to some of the other facilities available at Hot Bed Press, such as screen printing, lino-cut and letterpress spread out over the year.

Complete Book Arts is tutored on Tuesday evenings between 6pm and 9pm. The course fee includes a year's membership and an additional 4 hours access to the workshop throughout the week where you can work independently. [Open hours are Mondays to Fridays 10am - 5pm plus Thursday evening to 9pm and the last Saturday of every month 11am - 4pm.] All students wanting more than 4 hours access per week will also be able to top-up their hours with usage in the workshop at any time during open access throughout the week at the hourly rate.

Students are required to sign up for the full 30 weeks. The first payment of £300 secures the place on the course, with further instalments of £100 per month from March to December, payable by standing order on the 15th of the month. (We will send you a standing order form on booking.) Alternatively you can pay the full fee up front.

Basic materials are included in the fee. Students can top up their materials/pay for extra materials throughout the course should they wish to do more. We also include membership of Hot Bed Press for the 20 weeks plus 4 hours a week access so you can carry on in-between taught sessions.

The course is not accredited, but students graduate with a Hot Bed Press certificate in Book Arts.

Course tutor

Sylvia Waltering

Sylvia is an established book artist and has exhibited widely in the UK. She is Senior Lecturer in Photography at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she has worked since 2002. Sylvia has taught at Hot Bed Press for 8 years, and is our expert book artist. As well as running weekend and evening courses Sylvia runs The Complete Book Arts yearlong course.m

"Sylvia made quite a technical process really accessible. I felt a real accomplishment by the end of the workshop"


how to join

In order to book please enquire about availablility for the desired course. Please send an email or give a ring stating the required course and date.

0161 743 3111

Enquire about a course

We are happy to answer any questions on the phone but here are some commonly asked questions and answers below.

Do I need to be experienced to come on a course?

No experience necessary! Some courses are specifically designed for beginners; such as Introduction to Screenprint, Print or Letterpress, Painterly Screen-printing or The Art of Etching. Other courses such as Mokuhanga, Screen-printing with Natural Dyes or Photopolymer Printing are more tailored to those with some previous experience. However, if in doubt phone us to discuss.

How do I book a place on a course?

The best way to book a place is to phone us on 0161 743 3111. We always try to answer the phones. Our courses book up so quickly that we can be answering the phone all day whilst e-mails may take more time to get through every enquiry and still need us to phone or e-mail you back.

Do you take a deposit to reserve a place?

No. We only confirm bookings on full receipt of payment. We have found in the past that when people book only paying a deposit, it takes twice the time to take bookings and can get complicated when people don't confirm by the full payment and others want to book a place.

What materials do I need to bring?

Nothing! We provide all materials for courses. All we need you to bring is some inspiration and clothes you don't mind getting ink on. (In Winter it is best to dress up warm too.) You will receive an introduction letter letting you know what to prepare, such as drawings, photos, photocopies, collected images, and what size you can expect to work to.

Is food provided?

If you are on a day or weekend course please bring your own food. In our small kitchen we have tea, coffee, milk, and sugar and an urn as well as a microwave. The Co-op and Sainsburys are both nearby and we have the luxury of a couple of cafes nearby now with fancy coffee.

Do you have disabled access?

We are limited in our access, with the workshop situated on the first floor and no lifts. We purchased the building in 2017 with the aim to expand and create a fully accessible facility. Unfortunately our ambitions have been set back by covid and other challenges. We are still trying to get full funding to develop the building further and be fully accessible.

Do you have any teacher training courses?

We have Wednesday evening specific CPD teacher training sessions situated under short courses or please email our education officer on for the details of our latest courses or to discuss bespoke courses.

Come And Join Us

We welcome new members all year round. Anyone can join. You need a little bit of experience; but that can be from doing one of our weekend or evening courses, after which you can carry on and practice what you've learnt on the course. We've got a few types of membership to suit your purse or your time. Just g to our Membership section for more details.