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If only my teachers could see me now.

If my teachers could see me now.

I wasn't the most academic of youngsters.  Bright, very bright.  Too bright. Bored easily and couldn't be arsed with anything I didn't consider useful.  Which, unfortunately, was most subjects in school haha I quite enjoyed school until 3rd year, when I decided I'd had enough, and mentally checked out.  Annoyingly, legally, I wasn't allowed to leave until 5th year - bloody fifth year!  But I spent almost all of 4th year not really at school very much.  I can say this now, 25 years on.  I spent half my school days under the influence, if I even bothered going in. I wasn't 'bad', I wasn't even off the rails, I just couldn't be arsed.  I was open about it, I would tell teachers I cba with their class so I wasn't going.  I took myself out of some subjects all together, even though it wasn't allowed, and often plonked myself in my favourite maths or English teacher's class, for extra helpings of those, the ones I enjoyed. Sometimes I'd be up the street, just kicking about until it was time for the bus home. Sometimes I'd sit reading in the library.  Sometimes I'd be round the back, smoking the class time away haha I actually left school at 15, because of how my birthday and my legal leaving date landed, even though I'd somehow made it to 5th year.  Don't understand that.  Maybe I should have stuck in at school.

Anyway, I'll maybe regale you with all that another day.  Today I'm actually going to talk about my Introduction To The Art Of Book Folding Workshop.  Remember, I'm completely self taught, no crafty background, and I didn't even know what a bone folder was. Well, from very early on in, I was approached by various folk, asking if I would teach them how to fold books.  I was always excited to explain the basics, but really needed to sit down with a book and show them, and that wasn't practical.  Until it was.  I eventually agreed to deliver a class in book folding.  I was terrified.  I'd never attended an actual class setting for anything since I'd left school myself, and so had no point of reference for what or how people expected to learn what I was offering.

I spent fucking weeeeeks trying to construct a feasible workshop.  Would it be too long and bore folk? Too short, and short change folk?  Badly explained and annoy folk? Too detailed and confuse folk?  I knew my aim from it, and every workshop I've delivered since.  Every single participant would complete their very own, first piece of folded book art, right there, on the day, AND go away with ALL of the knowledge and tools they needed to go on and fold ANYTHING they wanted to, afterwards.  Two aims.  Two, non negotiable aims. 

The result of one workshop's work
First class came round, and it was a sell out.  I was being hired in as the workshop facilitator, so I felt incredible pressure to satisfy the person paying me for a day's work, and to each person who'd paid them, to learn what I claimed I could teach them.  I can't express the nerves I was under.  Pure shitting it. Anyway, I bluffed it best I could, channeled my favourite school teachers, and somehow guided the class through creating their own book!  It wasn't until the last page was folded, that I felt a trickle of sweat run down my back, and realised that that was the first time any of my muscles had actually relaxed in hours (not to mention the late nights in the weeks before, trying to second guess every possible pitfall!)

I'd already provisionally accepted my second booking, but, of course, started to think that that first class was a fluke, and it meant it'd all go tits up next time.  I'm pleased to report, Dearest reader, the tits stayed entirely the correct way up.

An Introduction to the Art Of Book Folding is currently on pause until 2022.  Be sure and subscribe below if yo'd like to be first to hear when they get going again (once covid restrictions bugger off again)

I am delighted to report that I've successfully introduced just over 1000 people to this magical skill of hand folding books.  Isn't that amazing?  Amazes me, anyway!  I also deliver demos to local groups in the area, including the elderly, differently abled, very young and even partially sighted.  I make it my mission to ensure that everyone can experience this thing that captured my heart and mind, should they wish to ♥

Turriff Young Farmers showing off their creations

Check me, a teacher and stuff! 
~ Jo

PS If you've come to an Introduction To The Art Of Book Folding, please say hello below! 



  • OH ALISON! I’ve only just seen your amazing comment, thank you so very much! Completely humbled at your high praise, just blown away ♥♥♥

    Jo from
  • Hello! If you have never folded a book before, you HAVE to attend one of Jo’s classes on an Introduction to Book Folding when they start up again. She is THE BEST teacher, and you will learn something very special. I first encountered Jo and her beautiful books at her pop up stall in Silverburn Shopping Centre, Glasgow. It was one of those “Wow” moments which literally stopped me in my tracks. I was with my daughter and we just stopped and stared at this amazing array of beautiful shapes folded into books, and said “Wow”! Jo heard us and replied “I’ll take that”! We bought some books that day, and then some more online. I learned that Jo was holding a book folding workshop in Braemar, and travelled there all the way from Glasgow in May 2019 (the workshop planned for October 2018 was snowed off)! I spent the most wonderful afternoon folding my very first heart, under the instruction of Jo, the most patient and talented teacher. I now happily fold books myself, and get a lot of pleasure from it. So thank you Jo, for sharing your skills and your passion.

    Alison Allan

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