Adult Workshops

MCBA offers in-person and virtual workshops in book arts—from letterpress printing to paper marbling and everything in between! Designed for adults looking to spark their creativity and professionals aiming to hone their technique, MCBA’s workshops feature intimate class sizes and hands-on experiences using process-specific equipment, including technology designed and built in the 19th and 20th centuries, and artisan-built equipment made today. Workshops focus on building skills in a specific process, which often leads to a physical takeaway like a bound book, a letterpress printed poster, a screen printed zine, or a sheet of paper made or marbled by hand.

Teaching artists bring a wide range of education and experience along with a mission to inspire connection and creativity. Workshops are designed to balance lecture, demonstration, work time, and group sharing.

Workshops are eligible for credit toward MCBA’s Certificate programs. Enrollees receive a 20% discount on tuition. MCBA members receive a 10% discount on tuition.

Have questions about registration or recording policies? Check out MCBA’s Workshop & Studio Lab Policies and FAQs. If you are a teaching artist, you can propose a workshop here. Add your name to a wait list if a workshop you’d like to take is full. You’ll be contacted if another section of the workshop is scheduled.

Art Practice Circle: April

with Laura Brown
Monday, April 3; 7–8:30pm CT

Art Practice Circle meets virtually and offers a friendly community space to listen and share about artmaking. The benefits of connecting with fellow makers are multiple: to inspire and encourage one another, to be an audience for one another’s work and creative process, and to move our work forward by talking about it out loud. This gathering will provide time for each person to share about their work—a particular work in progress, an idea that needs exploring, or a struggle with a specific work—as well as a conversation about what inspires us and strategies for tracking progress. Recommended for those who practice some form of book arts (book/paper/print) or related process (such as calligraphy, papercutting, marbling, etc.). Continue reading “Art Practice Circle: April”

Folding All The Accordions

with Mary Leikvold
Tuesdays: April 4, 11, 18; 6–8pm CT

Accordion folds make up the foundation for countless structures in bookmaking. In this hands-on, virtual workshop, learn the basic accordion fold and explore all the ways that simple structure can be expanded and elaborated upon. Instruction will include the basic accordion fold with variations, pocket and double pocket accordions, a floating accordion with covers, a map fold, a maze book, and a blizzard book. Examples of each structure will be shared and discussion will include possible uses for the books and ideas for generating content. Participants will come away with a collection of engaging structures and a new set of skills to continue to develop their own structures after the workshop. The skills learned in this workshop will serve as the basis for further exploration in the art of folding and in the book arts generally. Some experience with folding or making books is helpful but not required. Continue reading “Folding All The Accordions”

Movement in Pop-Ups: Cards Celebrating Our Planet!

with Shawn Sheehy
Wednesday, April 5; 6–9pm CT

Do you look at pop-up books and wonder how they are engineered? Do you make greeting cards and harbor the desire to make your cards more spectacular? Do you make artist’s books and yearn to introduce dimension and animation? Even if you are simply compelled to read this description, you might be POP-UP CURIOUS. This workshop—with a focus on movement—will explore the fundamentals of paper engineering that address movables (pulls and wheels). You’ll build a series of simple models with an Earth Day theme using the tools, techniques, and materials of the trade. You’ll examine trade pop-up books that show how the structures have been used. When finished, you’ll bind your models into a simple case. This quick beginner class is an entertaining gateway into more advanced study. Continue reading “Movement in Pop-Ups: Cards Celebrating Our Planet!”

Book Arts Project Planning

with Monica Edwards Larson
Thursdays: April 6, 13, 20, 27; 6–9pm CT

Do you have an idea for a book arts project, but you aren’t sure where to start? Learn practical skills to guide you in taking actionable steps to move your project forward confidently. With guidance, you will establish the scope and concept of your project; explore specifications—such as materials and techniques; learn strategies for project planning, including developing a project timeline, creating a mock-up, and estimating a budget. Projects may include: a portfolio of prints, artist’s books, installations, or any other project related to print, paper, book. Each session will include demos, friendly critique, group discussion, and troubleshooting. Continue reading “Book Arts Project Planning”

Introduction to Marbling: April

with Heather RJ Fletcher
Saturday, April 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: April”

Letterpress 1: Printing Basics (April)

with Bethany Rahn
Saturday, April 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 (April)”

Cutting Equipment Orientation: April 11

Tuesday, April 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: April 11”

Laced Unsupported Case Binding

with Karen Hanmer
Wednesdays: April 12 & 19; 6–8pm CT

For centuries paper has served as a quick, elegant, and economical covering material for books. This versatile material can create structures ranging from pocket notebooks to conservation-friendly bindings, featuring a case durable enough for a heavily-used manual.

Historically, the text block for a paper case was sewn on narrow fiber or leather supports. The supports were laced into the case at the spine folds for a non-adhesive attachment. In this version, the text block is sewn without supports. Added straps of strong, flexible handmade paper are both decorative and structural. Continue reading “Laced Unsupported Case Binding”

Bookbinding 1: Sewn and Folded Books

with India Johnson
Thursdays: April 13, 20, 27; 6–9pm CT

In this in-person workshop, learn foundational skills in bookbinding while making three book structures: pamphlet, stab binding, and hardcover four-signature book. 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 fold and score paper. Learn methods of measuring paper and how to cut a stack of paper with MCBA’s guillotine paper cutters. Practice finding grain direction, cutting book board, and covering board with paper. Come away with a strong foundation for growing your skills in bookbinding and skills needed to make your own notebooks and journals at MCBA’s Bookbinding Labs. Continue reading “Bookbinding 1: Sewn and Folded Books”

Screen Print: Techniques to Take Home

with Ben Etten and Michelle Lee Lagerroos
Saturday, April 15; 10am–4pm CT

Explore low-tech screen printing methods without a darkroom in MCBA’s screen printing studio! Instruction will cover screen printing basics, navigating inks, hand-cutting stencils, watercolor monotypes, registration, and printing effectively on paper. Repetition improves technique as you print a small edition of your unique, two-layer design! Bring your sketches and ideas to the workshop. Continue reading “Screen Print: Techniques to Take Home”

Slow-Stitched Scroll

with Lynn Salmon-Easter
Saturday, April 15; 1–4pm CT

Come mend your heart and stitch your way to more calm and ease while you create your own hand-stitched fabric scroll. Learn various techniques for mark-making with needle and thread. Together, we will practice collaging pieces of fabric in simple compositional ways. Using a variety of stitch types, explore line and negative space in different ways to create pattern and visual texture within your scroll. All techniques are simple and require no previous stitching experience. An interest in exploring intuitive ways of creating that are open, expressive, and not based on rigid rules will be helpful. Continue reading “Slow-Stitched Scroll”

Letterpress 2: Setting Type

with Bethany Rahn
Saturday, April 22; 10am–4pm CT

This in-person letterpress workshop focuses on setting metal type and building familiarity with printing on the Vandercook press. Learn how to navigate MCBA’s type collection, how type is stored and organized, and how to arrange it in a composing stick for setting a text. Training will be provided on line justification, kerning (space between letters and words), and methods for holding type together (or “locking up” a form) for printing. Procedures for maintaining a community type collection and print studio will also be covered, in addition to a review of basic press operation, care, and safety. This workshop is an excellent refresher and opportunity to get reacquainted with MCBA’s presses and print studio. Continue reading “Letterpress 2: Setting Type”

Paper Marbling: Patterns 1

with Michelle Blodgett
Saturday, April 22; 10am–4pm CT

Patterns are an essential technique of marbling. Designed for those who have experience marbling, this in-person workshop will focus on classical patterns such as nonpareil, chevron, and their variations. Through instruction and demonstrations, learn how a single traditional marbling pattern is a starting point for multiple variations. Experiment with patterns and begin to build your own technique and palette with guidance from a seasoned practitioner. Come away with marbled paper samples, a handout, and skills needed to participate in MCBA’s Marbling Labs Continue reading “Paper Marbling: Patterns 1”