Zen Books:

A slow stitch summer retreat

Treat yourself to a personal artist-in-residence this summer!
This six-week retreat will have you stitching your very own book cover with Kate Ward, which you'll then turn into a book with instruction from Ali Manning!

Join today for $49 USD

Stitch a Book Cover

 Textile artist Kate Ward will cover four different sashiko stitches you can use to embellish your book cover:

  1. Ajisai-sashi (Hydrangea Stitch)
  2. Hana-Goshi (Latticed Flower Stitch)
  3. Hana-Sashi (Flower Stitch)
  4. Hana-komezashi (Rice Flower Stitch)

You'll have the option to create a stitched front cover, back cover, or both - and you can even add fabric pages to your book for future stitching!

Join now!

Bind Your Book

Let Ali Manning of Vintage Page Designs walk you through binding your paper and fabric covers into a beautiful, tactile sketch book. She will teach you a traditional Japanese bookbinding method called Asa-no-ha toji that derives its name from the pattern resembling hemp leaves. You will learn basic bookbinding terminology and how to create a well constructed and useful journal.

Join now!

How it works...

Six weeks to stitch and bind your very own book!

Ali and Kate have teamed up to bring you a summer full of stitching and book making!

Our retreat begins on 3 August, 2023 with on-demand instructional videos available to watch immediately, or to watch at your convenience!

We'll be celebrating the beginning of the retreat with a launch party on Zoom on 3 August at 11am Atlantic (10am Eastern). Here, you'll get to meet Kate, Ali, and your fellow stitchers and book binders, and we'll talk about getting started on our projects!

During the retreat, we will cover a variety of processes and techniques including:

  • Preparing to stitch
  • Different sashiko stitch options
  • How to stitch your book cover(s)
  • Making a book from mixed pages (paper and fabric)
  • Binding your book with Japanese Stab Binding

Throughout the retreat, you'll be able to share your progress and updates with us in the private Zen Books Facebook group.

We'll close out with a wrap party on Zoom on 14 September at 11am Atlantic (10am Eastern), where you'll be able to show off your creation!

Join today for $49 USD!

Create your own Zen Book

With our six-week, slow stitch summer retreat!

$49 USD

  • Video Tutorials accessible via Desktop or Mobile App
  • Downloadable¬†PDF sheets to refer to whilst creating
  • Private Facebook Community for feedback and peer support¬†
  • Live Zoom launch and wrap parties
  • Access to all the content we cover for a year!


Ali Manning

Ali Manning has had a passion for paper and books for as long as she can remember, and now teaches others the joy of making their own handmade books. 

Ali has been blogging about paper crafts and book arts since 2007, and has taught hundreds of students how to express their creativity through paper. Her work has been featured in online journals and industry magazines, including Somerset Studio and Cloth, Paper, Scissors.

The bindings Ali creates showcase the stitching and the handcrafted nature of books. She wants the outside of her books to be as beautiful as the images and words on the inside.

When she's not making books, you can find Ali traveling to visit family scattered across the globe, going to flea markets, reading Victorian novels in the bathtub or hiking in the woods. Ali is a sucker for coffee shops and has been known to like the odd gin and tonic!


Kate Ward

Kate Ward (BFA, MA and MFA) studied Textiles, Printmaking, Paper making, and Ceramics in Australia and participated in an exchange with the Kyoto Seika University. She combines her love of art and travel and has had the opportunity to study in Japan, Italy, England, and Canada, which she now calls home.

Throughout her journey as artist and educator she continues to return to her textile roots making functional sewn and hand-stitched garments and objects for exhibition, seeing this work as ‘comfort food’ for the soul.

With a focus on sustainability and zero waste living, Kate embraces stitching as an act of mindfulness, self-care, resilience, and environmental awareness.


Frequently Asked Questions