Binding & Boxmaking

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.

Sewn Binding with Guards and Self-Locking Wrapper

with Karen Hanmer
Wednesday, May 25; 5–8pm 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 to a case durable enough for a heavily-used manual.  

In this virtual workshop, learn how to sew an exposed binding, a book structure with decorative guards that features colorful link stitch sewing and slivers of decorative paper visible on the spine. The covers are hooked around the first and last signatures before sewing, then sewn normally along with the rest of the text block. A quick-to-construct self-locking flap keeps the text block clean and secure.  Continue reading “Sewn Binding with Guards and Self-Locking Wrapper”

Zines + Chapbooks: Shaping Content for/as Communities of Color

with Savannah Bustillo
Tuesdays: May 31, June 7, 14, 21, 28; 7–9pm CT

In community with other artists of color, explore chapbooks and zines as book structures and vehicles for sharing stories. Each week, learn a new book structure and techniques for adding content that works with the book form to create meaning. Examples of these structures by contemporary artists of color will be shared and discussed. The group will also engage in friendly critique and exercises that support content generation. Participants will have the option to exchange books with one another to begin or grow a personal collection of artists’ books. All community members who identify as a person of color are welcome. All skill levels are encouraged to participate, share, and inspire a diversity of ideas. Continue reading “Zines + Chapbooks: Shaping Content for/as Communities of Color”

Forage Against the Machine

with Anna Haglin
Thursdays: June 2, 9, 16; 6–9pm CT

This in-person workshop combines urban foraging with bookbinding. Take a field trip to the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park (a four-block walk from MCBA) to identify and ethically harvest wild plants. Then, head back to MCBA’s studios to learn how to press plants and execute two herbarium-friendly bindings: the side-stab structure and a screw post album. Grow your plant identification skills as you incorporate pressed plants into your new bindings. Continue reading “Forage Against the Machine”

Moveable Non-Linear Book Structures

with Radha Pandey
Saturdays: June 4, 11, 18, 25; 10am–12pm CT

Cut, fold, construct, and play in this hands-on virtual workshop while exploring artists’ books through a dimensional lens. Learn how to make book structures that can be manipulated (by folding, flexing, pinching, or pulling the book) to reveal hidden content. Structures include flexagons, “hide-and-reveal” structures, “jitterbug” books, and their variations. Instruction will cover a range of binding skills while focusing on constructing a new structure each week. See examples of artists’ books by artists around the globe and discuss the range of possibilities each structure offers. Participants will have the opportunity to express their ideas visually in their book constructions and engage in supportive group sharing. Participants must come with basic book arts skills such as cutting, folding, scoring, gluing, and using tools like a bone folder, a ruler, and an awl. Continue reading “Moveable Non-Linear Book Structures”

Asymmetrical Pop-In/Pop-Out Accordion Book

with Pamela MacKellar
Saturday, June 4; 1–4pm CT

Learn a new variation of the accordion book that includes pop-ups! In this virtual workshop, learn the asymmetrical pop-up and how to connect a series of them in an accordion book. This book structure provides windows and spaces that feature artwork and/or text to create a narrative. Come away with experience to continue exploring this structure independently with knowledge and skills needed to vary the size, materials, number of pop-ups, and direction of the pop-ups. Participants must come with basic book arts skills such as cutting, folding, scoring, gluing, and using tools like a bone folder, a ruler, and an awl. Continue reading “Asymmetrical Pop-In/Pop-Out Accordion Book”

Art Practice Circle: June

with Mary Leikvold
Monday, June 6; 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: June”

Paired Station Binding

with Rosae Reeder
Tuesday, June 14; 4:30–7:30pm CT

Similar to a Coptic binding, the paired station binding has an exposed spine featuring decorative sewing. With multiple sewing stations along the spine, the paired station binding can be used to sew sections or gatherings of pages, as well as single sheets. In this virtual workshop, learn how to make a paired station binding using a combination of sections and single sheets with a soft paper cover. Traditional Coptic bindings, thread variations, and methods for adding boards to make a hardcover binding will be discussed. While all skill levels are welcome, this multiple-section binding is technical and basic bookbinding experience may be helpful. Continue reading “Paired Station Binding”

Masu Boxes and Storage Books

with Amanda D’Amico
Thursday, June 16; 6–9pm CT

The Masu Box (translated as ‘measurement box’) is a simple origami structure made of paper. This square box can be used to wrap gifts or store objects, but it can also be adapted with simple bookbinding techniques to create sculptural book objects. In this in-person workshop, we will begin with the basic box structure. We will create a lid to complete the traditional box before going on to play with these paper elements, creating books that can house secret images or small objects, resulting in a tactile and fun experience for the reader. Continue reading “Masu Boxes and Storage Books”

Stitches for Sculptural Books

with Amanda D’Amico
Saturday, June 18; 10am–4pm CT

There are many ways to bind a book! There are just as many stitches and sewing patterns to get the job done, but some stitches only work when your book adheres to certain traditional guidelines. In this workshop, learn five stitches that are adaptable, visually attractive, and can be used to create non-traditional book objects. We will start with new ways to consider the pamphlet stitch beyond a traditional codex before exploring and exploiting several historic bindings. We will end with the two-needle coptic stitch and explore a variety of materials to be used as “covers.” Come away from this workshop with several books that demand to live somewhere other than the bookshelf, and the sewing skills needed to make many more. Basic materials will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring materials or objects they may want to explore in the sculptural book format. Some sewing experience is helpful, but not necessary. Continue reading “Stitches for Sculptural Books”

Drum Leaf Binding

with Karen Hanmer
Wednesday, June 29; 5–8pm CT

Developed by Tim Ely, the drum leaf binding has features in common with multiple preexisting Eastern and Western book structures. This adhesive binding is a perfect structure for printmakers, photographers, or anyone who desires to present visual narratives with no sewing thread to interrupt the flow of imagery. Because a drum leaf book is not laid out in signatures but made of single-sided folios, the complexities of imposition are not encountered when laying out text. Continue reading “Drum Leaf Binding”

Box Building for Beginners

with Erin Maurelli
Wednesdays: July 6, 13, 20, 27; 6–8pm CT

This workshop is perfect for anyone new to book arts who would like to learn something a little different. Building boxes with high-density board, often called “book board,” is a time-honored tradition within book arts. Hand-built boxes serve many functions, from holding tools to preserving fragile books. Participants will learn the basics of box building while creating two unique boxes with lids. Continue reading “Box Building for Beginners”

Wabi-Sabi Mixed-Media Books

with Emma Freeman
Wednesdays: July 6, 13, 20; 6:30–8pm CT

In this virtual workshop, explore the Japanese aesthetic philosophy of wabi-sabi through mixed-media artmaking techniques that will culminate in the creation of book structures. Use paper and fabric, mark-making, printmaking, collage, dripping wax, and stitching to explore the qualities of wabi-sabi that include: simplicity, imperfection, mystery, subtlety, texture, impermanence, and earthiness. Through experimental techniques, beauty will reveal itself in unexpected places and offer new ways of creating art. Draw inspiration from images of weathered Japanese boro textiles, stoneware and earthenware pottery, and nature. This workshop blends tactile artmaking with philosophical reflections. There will be guided demonstrations, time to practice together, space to ask questions, and opportunities for conversation. No prior experience is necessary, but an interest in exploring intuitive ways of creating that are open, expressive, and not based on rigid rules is important. Continue reading “Wabi-Sabi Mixed-Media Books”