Isabelle McGowan, paper craft and ink teacher

Isabelle McGowan

Florence-trained Bookbinder now based in Sydney with over 10 years teaching experience

location_on Ultimo, Sydney

local_activity classes: Book BindingSewing and EmbroideryPaper Craft and InkPrint MakingTextiles

4.9 (45)
Instagram followers1k

Make Books with us!

With over 15 years of experience teaching bookbinding and associated arts, Isabelle offers a comprehensive range of courses and workshops aimed at both beginner and advanced students.

Long and short courses in bookbinding and related book arts are offered from the bindery in an inner-Western Sydney art enclave. We strive to give you the best possible experience, working through every stage of transforming paper, leather and other raw materials into a finished book. All book-binding courses are complete in themselves ­­- and guests complete the course with attractive volumes of their own creation, that make ideal gifts and mementos.

Here at the bindery, we are committed to helping you achieve your bookbinding goals, whether as a hobbyist or professional.

We ensure that our classes are accessible online and in-bindery. Which is why there are courses specially written and designed for each. Whether you want to expand on your crafting skills or start your book collecting journey, we have something for you.

The Owl & Lion is based in Sydney, Australia.
WE ARE LOCATED AT:
Suite 6.05
Precinct 75
75 Mary Street, St Peters






Classes


Making Books by Hand: Introduction to Hardcover Books

date_range Sun 2 Jun, 10am

location_on Ultimo

1 to 8

label $300

Making Books by Hand: Introduction to Bookbinding

date_range Sun 14 Jul, 10am

location_on Ultimo

1 to 10

label $300

Beginner Sewing Class: Holiday Workshop School Year 9 - 12

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Ultimo

4 to 20

label $100

Block Printing and Concertina Bookbinding Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Ultimo

4 to 10

label $250

Repair and Restoration of Books Workshop

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Ultimo

4 to 10

label $250

Level 1: Flat Case Binding Course

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Ultimo

4 to 10

label $500

Kids Print Making Holiday Workshop School Years 9 - 12

16 to 12 years

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Ultimo

8 to 16

label $120

Kids Print Making Holiday Workshop School Years 3 - 6

8 to 12 years

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Ultimo

8 to 16

label $120

Kids Print Making Holiday Workshop School Years 6 - 9

12 to 15 years

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Ultimo

8 to 16

label $120

Children's Sewing Class: Holiday Workshop School Years 3 - 6

8 to 12 years

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Ultimo

4 to 20

label $100

Children's Sewing Class: Holiday Workshop School Year 6 - 9

12 to 15 years

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Ultimo

4 to 20

label $100

Kids Magical Bookbinding Workshop School Years 3 to 6

8 to 12 years

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Ultimo

8 to 16

label $120

Kids Magical Bookbinding Workshop School Years 6 - 9

12 to 16 years

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Ultimo

8 to 16

label $120

Kids Magical Bookbinding Workshop School Years 9 - 12

16 to 18 years

date_range Your choice of time

location_on Ultimo

8 to 16

label $120





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Reviews

(45)


Deborah Furlong Jun 2023

6 ClassBento workshops attended • 6 reviews


I spent an awesome night with a lovely group of ladies making the traditional art portfolio. So much fun The beautiful papers used were absolutely stunning

Eric Clews May 2023

11 ClassBento workshops attended • 9 reviews


A great workshop for beginners, I had a wonderful time binding my own books. Very comprehensive instruction; I learnt a lot.

Natalie Smith May 2023

91 ClassBento workshops attended • 38 reviews


This was fantastic
She was a great teacher there were five of us on the zoom. That was fun too. She waited for everyone so we could all keep up.I got sent everything it was all packed awesomely. Cutting sticking and sewing. They came out so well. I think I want to keep this up.

Paper Craft and Ink class review by Natalie Smith

Petra Arifeae May 2023

17 ClassBento workshops attended • 16 reviews


Love the concepts and the instructions were precise. The scrap book idea was fantastic. Great teacher

DIY Relief Block Printing and Concertina Sketch Book Making review by Petra Arifeae

Lachlan Vild Apr 2023


Very knowledgeable teacher. Great sunday activity. I'll be back for more in-depth classes!

Roxanne Phan Mar 2023

11 ClassBento workshops attended • 11 reviews


Lovely small class. Isabelle was very helpful and provided many great tips for bookbinding :D

Paper Craft and Ink class review by Roxanne Phan

Jace Gledhill Mar 2023

4 ClassBento workshops attended • 3 reviews


The class was great fun! Isabelle was very patient, knowledgeable and great at giving clear directions.

Paper Craft and Ink class review by Jace Gledhill

Melissa Walker Mar 2023

61 ClassBento workshops attended • 36 reviews


Wow. This is one of my favourite classes ever. Three fabulously different books that I made myself. Isabelle is a great teacher, the class went at a good pace but there was flexibility for people to catch up. The materials provided were great. I will definitely be doing more of these classes.

DIY Bookbinding for Beginners review by Melissa Walker

Rae Knopik Mar 2023


Great variety of techniques learned, really friendly and knowledgeable teacher. Easy to follow along. Thanks!

Deborah Furlong Mar 2023

6 ClassBento workshops attended • 6 reviews


An absolutely fantastic beginners course. Isabelle is an excellent teacher and full of brilliant knowledge that can be used to create beautiful books. I throughly enjoyed todays class! I was able to complete 3 adorable books. Thank you so much for such an enjoyable morning.

Jodie Amico Oct 2022

36 ClassBento workshops attended • 29 reviews


This was such a lovely process. I’ve continued to practice the art of block printing as I find it a really good mindfulness exercise. The art supplies I received were such good quality! And the teacher was knowledgeable, focused and really fun.

DIY Relief Block Printing and Concertina Sketch Book Making review by Jodie Amico

Emily H Sep 2022

36 ClassBento workshops attended • 19 reviews


A lovely class that although frustrated me in the moment has given me a new skill to my repertoire. Have been practicing at home

Paper Craft and Ink class review by Emily H

Jessica Douglass Sep 2022

93 ClassBento workshops attended • 84 reviews


I used to love going Lino cutting in high school so I was delighted to find this class on class bento. It was great fun and the teacher was fantastic.

Anna Gabriel Sep 2022

2 ClassBento workshops attended • 2 reviews


Very good overall and having a small number in class, helped with getting the extra attention when it was needed

Wing Kwok Sep 2022

37 ClassBento workshops attended • 28 reviews


Very interesting and fun to attend the online session!
The teacher was very helpful and gave us a lot of tips of making the blinding books.

Áine Martin Jul 2022


This class was excellent. The teacher explained the methods and styles of bookbinding we were doing clearly and in great detail, which was very welcome. While the class is fast paced, it's structured in such a way that everything taught is clearly explained and connected, so I never felt lost or stuck at any point. The only issue with the course is that the location is a little difficult to find within the building complex, and signposting is a little lacking. All in all, I'm very happy with the course, and I'm eager to try and apply the skills and techniques I learnt from the class at home.

Emma Morris Jun 2022

116 ClassBento workshops attended • 83 reviews


This was the first time I’ve even heard of toad binding! It was fun, but I wasn’t expecting to actually be using a cane toad skin! I enjoyed the class and Isabelle knows so much about bookbinding, it’s really inspiring. One suggestion I’d make is that it would be useful if we were told to fold the pages beforehand, then we wouldn’t spend 15 minutes of the class folding paper haha

Bind a Unique Artist or Writers Journal review by Emma Morris

Emma Morris May 2022

116 ClassBento workshops attended • 83 reviews


This was an interesting class, I struggled a bit with keeping up because I got confused with all the different parts, definitely keep your materials organised before the class!

Summer Woods May 2022

69 ClassBento workshops attended • 69 reviews


Very happy with my art portfolio. Teacher was really helpful during the whole process. Loved using all the different materials

Paper Craft and Ink class review by Summer Woods

Dorothea Haeusler May 2022

14 ClassBento workshops attended • 9 reviews


Our first venture in bookbinding, we did well for first timers, I think. Thank you Isabelle.

Emily H Apr 2022

36 ClassBento workshops attended • 19 reviews


I am blown away by the results from this class! Easy to follow along with concise instructions from Isabelle making things go so smoothly. The pictures speak for themselves and even as a one off class you’ll be glad you did it!

Paper Craft and Ink class review by Emily H

Alicia Wandek Apr 2022

10 ClassBento workshops attended • 10 reviews


Gosh this online class was tricky! Isabelle was very patient, I was the only newbie in this class, so I had plenty of questions. I’m really pleased with my finished Art Portfolio. It looks so beautiful & is made to last. This is definitely one of my favourite Class Bento classes.

Matilda Apr 2022

78 ClassBento workshops attended • 47 reviews


Isabelle is an absolutely fantastic teacher. I would not hesitate to highly recommend any of her courses.

Matilda Apr 2022

78 ClassBento workshops attended • 47 reviews


Isabelle is an absolutely fantastic teacher. I would not hesitate to highly recommend any of her courses.

Matilda Apr 2022

78 ClassBento workshops attended • 47 reviews


Isabelle is an absolutely fantastic teacher. I would not hesitate to highly recommend any of her courses.

Matilda Apr 2022

78 ClassBento workshops attended • 47 reviews


Isabelle is an absolutely fantastic teacher. I would not hesitate to highly recommend any of her courses.

Matilda Apr 2022

78 ClassBento workshops attended • 47 reviews


Isabelle is an absolutely fantastic teacher. I would not hesitate to highly recommend any of her courses.

Matilda Apr 2022

78 ClassBento workshops attended • 47 reviews


Isabelle is an absolutely fantastic teacher. I would not hesitate to highly recommend any of her courses.

Matilda Apr 2022

78 ClassBento workshops attended • 47 reviews


Isabelle is an absolutely fantastic teacher. I would not hesitate to highly recommend any of her courses.

Maureen Glaister Feb 2022


Absolutely fantastic. Isabelle makes it look easy but it isn’t. She is an expert. Will come back in May 10/10. Maureen

Chris Johnson Feb 2022

5 ClassBento workshops attended • 2 reviews


Isabelle provided a box of times all delivered in time for the online Zoom. Her instructions were clear and her two camera presentation allowed for clear visual understanding of techniques required. Completed the construction of a book in the time given and exceedingly proud of result.

DIY Journal Making: Traditional Hard-cover Book review by Chris Johnson

David Millar Feb 2022


The class was excellent - step by step a book appeared like magic - Isabelle is engaging and was able to move each participant through to a close. Even when I fell behind slightly at one point I never felt I wouldn't be able to catch up as instructions were able to be repeated in good time. Masterfully done, thanks Isabelle.

Sally Sheehan Dec 2021


Isabelle was fabulous. Our kit contained everything I needed and I am feeling inspired and confident to Marble paper

Tanya Leigh Dec 2021

7 ClassBento workshops attended • 5 reviews


Loved this class, the teacher was lovely and knowledgeable, really fun. I have some gorgeous Christmas decorations now.

Pottery class review by Tanya Leigh

Katrina Macdonald Nov 2021

5 ClassBento workshops attended • 5 reviews


I really really enjoyed learning about bookbinding and sharing the experience with other makers. Isabelle is a wonderful teacher. I highly recommend this and look forward to learning more in future classes.

Kristine Hardy Oct 2021


A very interesting class at the right pace. Resulted in a useful and pretty journal.

Kye Merton Oct 2021

4 ClassBento workshops attended • 4 reviews


I have marvelled at beautiful marbled patterns and wondered how on earth they were created. I know a little bit more about the history of this craft now and loved every minute learning the process. Isabelle is an excellent online teacher - kind, patient, no question too silly. My paper is glorious. Can't wait to make more!

Patricia Jungfer Oct 2021

3 ClassBento workshops attended


Fun class, with a good amount of interaction, Isobelle was fabulous in answering all questions. She was very generous with her help.

Paper Craft and Ink class review by Patricia Jungfer

Helen Patrice Oct 2021

15 ClassBento workshops attended • 7 reviews


It was a lovely class, well thought out and taught, but not ultimately my sort of thing.

Kye Merton Sep 2021

4 ClassBento workshops attended • 4 reviews


I spent a truly enjoyable Sunday morning with Isabelle exploring the marvellous world of 'Wunderbuch'. I have been introduced to book binding, experienced water colour for first time and have a glorious Tunnel Book in progress. Isabelle's tuition was engaging and easy to follow. Highly recommend this class.

Cassandra Williams Sep 2021

12 ClassBento workshops attended • 5 reviews


Isablle was incredibly kind and patient, guiding us all through the process of making our books. She made sure we could see clearly what she was demonstrating and repeated steps to make sure no one got lost. Thankyou for a fantastic class - I can't wait to make more books!

DIY Bookbinding for Beginners review by Cassandra Williams

Corrina-Leigh Forster Sep 2021

2 ClassBento workshops attended


Isabelle is a fantastic instructor and her work is flawless! 100% recommend and I have book more classes!

Paper Craft and Ink class review by Corrina-Leigh Forster

Alice Young Apr 2021


I couldn’t have loved this class more! Isabelle is an amazing teacher - knowledgeable and patient. I love her back story too - all contributing to the experience she shares - her time training in Italy and Scotland and building her business with national institutions in the UK. Can highly recommend this class.

Paper Craft and Ink class review by Alice Young - Sydney

Amanda Walsh Dec 2020

4 ClassBento workshops attended • 2 reviews


A really great class. Lovely teacher who is extremely knowledgeable. Great location in a creative hub and I went home with lots of lino blocks and skills to continue on my own. A great day!

Tegan Webb Mar 2020

15 ClassBento workshops attended • 16 reviews


Amazing two day course! Very fast paced and comprehensive, with not group and individual instruction. Awesome new studio location. Isabelle really knows her stuff! Highly recommend.

Bookbinding Class for Beginners review by Tegan Webb - Sydney

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