Adult Workshops

MCBA’s in-person and virtual workshops in book arts are designed for adults looking to spark their creativity and professionals aiming to hone their practice. Our in-studio workshops offer hands-on experiences with specialized equipment and small class sizes, and often include a physical takeaway like a book, poster, or handmade paper. Virtual workshops feature processes that require easy-to-source materials and the opportunity to connect with artists from near and far. Our teaching artists—who bring a wide range of experience and education—thoughtfully balance lecture, demonstration, work time, and group sharing.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Mechanical Postcards: Birds of a Feather

with Shawn Sheehy
Tuesday, May 28; 7–8:30pm CT

Quick! What’s a figure of speech that involves birds? (Take another look at the workshop title if you need a little help.) This whimsical trio of mechanical postcards features three different bird idioms and volvelle-based mechanisms that will help you solve the idiomatic riddles. Build each using a simple set of hand tools and a kit of pre-cut pieces. This virtual workshop is especially friendly for beginners. Perfect for bird and word nerds! Continue reading “Mechanical Postcards: Birds of a Feather”

Introduction to Hand Bookbinding: Morning Section

with India Johnson
Wednesdays: May 29, June 5, 12; 9am–12pm CT

In this in-person workshop, learn foundational skills in bookbinding while making three book structures: pamphlet binding (single- and double-section), slotted tape binding, and a hardcover, flat-back book with three-piece case. An introduction to basic tools and materials will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to make these bindings again in different sizes and with other options for materials. Learn how to find the grain direction in a variety of papers along with how to score and fold paper. Get familiar with book cloth and how to handle common bookbinding adhesives. Learn methods of measuring paper and basic cutting equipment operation. Come away with a strong foundation for growing your confidence in bookbinding and the skills needed to make your own notebooks and journals at MCBA’s Bookbinding Labs. Continue reading “Introduction to Hand Bookbinding: Morning Section”

Introduction to Hand Bookbinding: Evening Section

with India Johnson
Thursdays: May 30, June 6, 13; 6–9pm CT

In this in-person workshop, learn foundational skills in bookbinding while making three book structures: pamphlet binding (single- and double-section), slotted tape binding, and a hardcover, flat-back book with three-piece case. An introduction to basic tools and materials will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to make these bindings again in different sizes and with other options for materials. Learn how to find the grain direction in a variety of papers along with how to score and fold paper. Get familiar with book cloth and how to handle common bookbinding adhesives. Learn methods of measuring paper and basic cutting equipment operation. Come away with a strong foundation for growing your confidence in bookbinding and the skills needed to make your own notebooks and journals at MCBA’s Bookbinding Labs. Continue reading “Introduction to Hand Bookbinding: Evening Section”

Paper Beater Training: June 1

Saturday, June 1; 11am-12pm CT
Papermaking Experience Required

If you aren’t already trained to use our paper beaters, here is your opportunity! Through hands-on training you will learn the capabilities of each piece of MCBA’s paper beaters, and how to use them correctly and safely. Completion of this training will allow you to rent this equipment and use it independently. Studio Labs are not eligible for Certificate credit.
Continue reading “Paper Beater Training: June 1”

Erasure Poetry

with grace (ge) gilbert
Tuesdays: June 4, 11, 18; 5–6:30pm CT

Erasure poetry involves using a source document, or source text, to create a work of your own. It’s a contentious practice, but one that allows the maker to re-contextualize history, or the present, as they want it to be seen. In this virtual workshop, participants of all experience levels will learn simple, low-cost techniques in digital and mixed media erasure, and how to sustain a book-length project of erasure poetry. Each week, learn from model theorists and artists to really attune yourself to the language of the source text, and to understand your role in manipulating it. Learn from step-by-step demos, and complete a generative prompt with the option of sharing and receiving feedback. Come away from the workshop with the beginnings of a book-length project idea, simple erasure techniques, and a deeper understanding of text and image relationships.  Continue reading “Erasure Poetry”

Experimental Cover Design: Thread, Leather, Paper

with María Carolina Ceballos
Wednesdays: June 5, 12, 19; 4:30–6:30pm CT

In this virtual workshop, make one or more mixed-media artworks using materials already in your home. Do you have paper you bought or made that hasn’t found a use yet? Or embroidery thread from a project in a color you love? Find new inspiration in these materials by experimenting with their individual possibilities—how could I use this?—and by bringing them together into visual dialogue with each other, understanding the specific qualities of line, color, shape, and texture to create new art. Instruction will cover in-lays, on-lays, embroidery, and collage. Finished pieces could become a cover for a book or a one-of-a-kind artwork. Continue reading “Experimental Cover Design: Thread, Leather, Paper”

Box Building: Clamshell Boxes

with Erin Maurelli
Wednesdays: June 5, 12, 26; 7–9pm CT

Clamshell boxes are used to store and protect precious objects—anything from books to a collection of artworks to sheet music. In this virtual workshop, create a small clamshell box to fit a deck of cards. Expand your experience in the basics of box building by developing skills to make hinges and learning about the function of these useful structures. Basic box building experience is required, including experience covering and pasting down boards and checking that boards and compartments are square. Continue reading “Box Building: Clamshell Boxes”

Introduction to Marbling: June

with Michelle Blodgett
Saturday, June 8; 10am–4pm CT

Experience the magic of marbling firsthand with this single-day, in-person workshop! Learn the basic process of paper marbling with acrylics, including recipes for the various components of the process. Make four basic patterns (stones, moire/waved, git-gel, and nonpareil), explore seasonal color palettes, and take home your own marbled papers ready to be used in bookbinding and other arts. Participants will leave the workshop with the confidence to work independently at MCBA’s Marbling Labs. Continue reading “Introduction to Marbling: June”

Letterpress 1: Printing Basics (June)

with Bethany Rahn
Saturday, June 8; 10am–4pm CT

This in-person letterpress workshop offers an introduction to MCBA’s print studio—including key equipment, tools, and terminology—in addition to an opportunity to experience the satisfaction of printing a message through the hands-on process of letterpress printing. Get to know MCBA’s wood type collection and learn beginning typesetting with wood type. Learn the basics of working with a flatbed cylinder press, including operation, safety, and care while building skills using the equipment with support from a teaching artist. In pairs, choose a text (three to five words) and print your own small edition of posters on a Vandercook press.  Continue reading “Letterpress 1: Printing Basics (June)”

Cutting Equipment Orientation: June 11

Tuesday, June 11; 6:30-7:30pm CT

If you aren’t already trained to use our cutting equipment, here is your opportunity! Through hands-on training you will learn the capabilities of each piece of MCBA’s bindery cutting equipment, and how to use them correctly and safely. Completion of this training will allow you to rent this equipment and use it independently. This orientation was previously titled Cutting Equipment Training. Studio Labs are not eligible for Certificate credit.

Continue reading “Cutting Equipment Orientation: June 11”

Papermaking as Transformation and Storytelling for Queer Makers

with e ainsley
Thursday, June 13; 6–9pm CT

In this in-person workshop, make paper sculptures with an object of significance to you and paper ephemera—letters, journal pages, photos, and/or documents—you’ve collected over time. Start by making a silicone mold of a cherished object that you bring to the studio. Then, turn your ephemera into pulp which will fill your mold to infuse this paper sculptural object with new meaning.  Continue reading “Papermaking as Transformation and Storytelling for Queer Makers”

Digital Resources for Printmakers

with Camilo Aguirre
Saturdays: June 15, 22, 29; 9:30–10:30am CT

In this virtual workshop, explore open-source software and free online applications to identify effective tools for printmakers that focus on raster images, layout, and file management. Instruction will center on two specific programs: Krita, a powerful and completely free open-source program for desktop computers; and Procreate, an affordable, user-friendly drawing app for iPads. There will be a strong focus on Krita as it has precise design tools. Procreate is especially useful when preparing to print. The workshop will cover available software, design patterns, guidelines, color separation, halftone patterns, mirroring techniques for images and text, and various file formats. Continue reading “Digital Resources for Printmakers”

Book Repair: Broken Cloth & Paperback Books

with Rachel Payne
Saturdays: June 15 & 22; 10am–4pm CT

In this in-person workshop, learn foundational techniques and methods to care for aged and damaged books. We’ll begin with an overview of book anatomy and approaches to repair. Then, we will look at your own damaged books and develop a plan to care for them. Instruction will cover cleaning techniques and methods for treating cracked paperbacks, loose hinges, tissue repairs, and other problems. Practicing these techniques will help you develop a sense for when to do the repair yourself and when to work with a book conservator. Demonstrations and instruction will alternate with work time and one-on-one guidance for individual repair projects. Bring in two or three aged and damaged books that you would like to evaluate and treat. Continue reading “Book Repair: Broken Cloth & Paperback Books”

Miniature Framed Paintings

with e ainsley
Saturday, June 15; 10am–4pm CT

Create a painterly paper sculpture while exploring two methods of papermaking: pulp painting and sculptural papermaking using a silicone mold. Start by making a silicone mold of a picture frame (outer dimensions no larger than 8 x 11 inches). Then, explore various styles of pulp painting through the use of stencils and freehand work. The pulp-painted sheet of paper is placed into the image area of the silicone mold and paper pulp is packed around the remaining area to form the frame. Once completely dry, the paper sculpture can be removed from the silicone mold to reveal a small pulp-painted work of art framed in paper pulp!  Continue reading “Miniature Framed Paintings”