Binding & Box Making

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.

Cutting Equipment Orientation: August 16

Tuesday, August 16; 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.
Continue reading “Cutting Equipment Orientation: August 16”

Sewn Boards Binding

with Karen Hanmer
Wednesday, August 24; 5–8pm CT

The sewn boards binding is Gary Frost’s elegant, modern adaptation of an ancient method of board attachment. Stiffened outer signatures sewn along with the text block function as the book’s covers. 

The book opens flat. It can be dressed up or down with a variety of spine treatments, board-covering materials, and edge decoration techniques. It can be constructed quickly, lends itself to edition work, and can be made in a sparsely equipped home studio.  Continue reading “Sewn Boards Binding”

Bookbinding 1: Sewn and Folded Books

with Frank Hurley
Thursdays: September 8, 15, 22; 6–9pm CT

In this in-person workshop, learn foundational skills in bookbinding while making three book structures: pamphlet, single-sheet book with hardcover, and stab binding. 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. 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”

Art Practice Circle: Fall Series

with Laura Brown
Mondays: September 12, October 3, November 7, December 5; 7–8:30pm CT

Would you like to attend all four Art Practice Circle meetings this fall? Register for them all at once and receive a discount!

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 monthly 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: Fall Series”

Art Practice Circle: September

with Laura Brown
Mondays: September 12; 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 monthly 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: September”

Cutting Equipment Orientation: September 13

Tuesday, September 13; 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.

Continue reading “Cutting Equipment Orientation: September 13”

Alternative Printmaking at Home

with Rosae Reeder
Wednesdays: September 14, 21, 28; 4:30–7:30pm CT

This virtual printmaking workshop focuses on using accessible materials to make prints and embellish existing art projects. Explore several techniques including packing tape transfer, Matte Medium transfer, watercolor monoprint, and Gelli plate printing. All of these processes can be done safely at home without caustic materials, chemicals, or printing presses. After learning printing techniques, participants will construct a single-page book structure to experiment with creating simple artist’s books from prints. No prior bookbinding or printmaking experience is needed. Continue reading “Alternative Printmaking at Home”

Your Creative DNA: Artists’ Books and Process

with Brad Thomas
Saturdays: September 17, 24; 10–4pm CT

Draw upon your personal history to inform and propel new creations. Spontaneity, improvisation, and experimentation are central to the process. Together, as a class, explore strategies to get over the (sometimes) daunting hurdle of getting started. Utilizing basic bookbinding techniques, construct a personalized book and learn a variety of approaches to fill it with personal narratives and the unexpected. While the books will certainly be stand-alone works of art, we will draw upon the content to develop additional pieces during the class. Painting, drawing, collage, acrylic gel medium transfers, and basic book construction will all be integrated into the book projects. Continue reading “Your Creative DNA: Artists’ Books and Process”

Art Practice Circle: October

with Laura Brown
Mondays: October 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 monthly 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: October”

Unfolding Narratives: Writing for Artist’s Books

with Ellen Sheffield
Tuesdays, October 4, 11 and Wednesday, October 19; 7–9pm CT

In this virtual workshop, learn techniques for generating text for artist’s books through conceptual approaches: text as image, as narrative, and as lyrical expression. Experiment with typographic systems and text itineraries, as well as Dada and Surrealist approaches. Writing exercises will be assigned before, during, and in between the three workshop sessions. Various methods for getting text onto book pages will be demonstrated through mark making, transfers, stencils, stamps, and rub-on type—in addition to demonstrations on how to make simple accordion book structures. Continue reading “Unfolding Narratives: Writing for Artist’s Books”

Box Building for Beginners

with Erin Maurelli
Wednesdays: October 5, 12, 19, 26; 7–9pm 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”

Bookbinding 2: Hardcover Book

with Anna Haglin
Saturdays: October 8, 15; 10am–4pm CT

In this in-person workshop, learn how to make a hardcover book. An introduction to basic tools and materials will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to make this binding again in different sizes and with a variety of materials. Learn how to find the grain direction of book board and how to cut book board and text blocks on MCBA’s guillotine and board shears. Then, learn methods for creating a hardcover case from book board and tips and tricks for attaching the hardcover to pages. 

Participants will need to return to pick up their books on Saturday (10/22), following the last day of the workshop or later in The Shop at MCBA since the books are wet with glue and need to dry while pressed flat for several hours. Continue reading “Bookbinding 2: Hardcover Book”

Cutting Equipment Orientation: October 11

Tuesday, October 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.

Continue reading “Cutting Equipment Orientation: October 11”