Whether you use expensive tools and materials, or the means at hand, my aim is to provide the skills needed for you to delight in the personal satisfaction of making something beautiful and functional from scratch, by hand, and of knowing why and how it works.


I trained first as a bookbinder, and later studied fine art at Byam Shaw, CSM. The methods I teach are based in that 3 year city and guilds bookbinding training and my continuing creative practice as artist bookbinder.  


As a freelance creative practitioner, I have worked in a variety of venues and with a wide range of people. A large part of my freelancing was for The British Library, where, as a member of a wonderful team of freelance creative learning practitioners, I designed and delivered a range of accessible workshops for schools, family and community groups related to the national collection. I regularly run adult bookbinding courses for the BL’s Masterclass programme. I run bespoke private classes, take commissions and do repairs.  I was just about to launch a new programme of classes at Minerva Workshop in Kentish Town, London, when Covid hit. 


I now teach accessible online bookbinding.  


Keen to adapt to change, and interested in how practical remote teaching of such a hands on skill would be like, I ran a pilot course for friends and friends of friends online. I’m happy to say it was a real success. Participants are in London, Surrey, Suffolk and Sheffield. I started running the classes in March, and we continue to meet and bind online. 



I am a printmaker, bookbinder and freelance Creative-educator.

I gained my bookbinding diploma at Brighton Polytechnic under Faith Shannon and Jenni Grey. I gained my degree in Fine art and printmaking at Byam Shaw, now part of CSM.

In addition to  my own work as an artist, I run workshops at a variety of venues. Workshops are planned to meet need and are accessible and welcoming.

For more information, bespoke workshops, commissions, please contact me.

















As well as regularly contributing to the British Library’s learning programmes, Shelagh designs and leads creative workshops and courses for various London institutions including Central Saint Martins, Westminster University, the British Museum, Battersea Arts Centre and The Guardian Education Centre, and the wider audience.


Workshop/event content may relate to a specific exhibition be an adaptation or re-design of an existing workshop altered to meet an audience transition, or be self-generated. Content can be formulated through a combination of personal research, conversation, team discussion and curatorial input,


Events are planned and delivered in their entirety formulating any exhibition or event from; conceptual overview, venue, target audience, product, an accessible means of production and with successful outcomes.





 2016 Shelagh McCarthy

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