Design & Content

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: February

with Laura Brown
Monday, February 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: February”

Design Your Own Stab Binding

with Yuka Petz
Tuesdays: February 7 & 14; 7–9pm CT

Personalize and design your own stab bindings! After looking at examples to gain a deeper understanding of what makes a successful stab-bound design and what possibilities await, sketch ideas in the workshop, develop sewing templates, and dive into our unique sewn structures. During the second session, we will complete our sewing and share with each other the variety of our designs. This virtual workshop is appropriate for high-level beginner and intermediate binders. Participants must be comfortable sewing a basic four-hole stab binding. Continue reading “Design Your Own Stab Binding”

Explore Dimension in Pop-Ups: Love-Themed Animal Cards!

with Shawn Sheehy
Wednesday, February 8; 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 virtual workshop—with a focus on dimension—will explore the fundamentals of paper engineering that address pop-ups. Build a series of simple models—with playful love-themed animal cards—using the tools, techniques, and materials of the trade. Examine trade pop-up books that show how the structures have been used. When finished, bind your models into a simple case. This quick beginner workshop is an entertaining gateway into more advanced study. Continue reading “Explore Dimension in Pop-Ups: Love-Themed Animal Cards!”

Re-Introduction to Letter-Writing

with Hope Amico
Wednesday, February 8; 7–9pm CT

Invigorate your interest in letter-writing! Using repurposed materials, learn to make a simple piece of stationery that can be folded and mailed without an envelope in this virtual workshop. A template will be provided that you can choose to strictly follow or use as a reference. We will discuss how to fold a letter writing habit into your schedule, creative ideas for pen pals and prompts to get you writing! The goal is to create stationery that will inspire while offering ourselves a chance to slow down in our communications. Continue reading “Re-Introduction to Letter-Writing”

Illustration: Characters, Spaces & Style

with Camilo Aguirre
Saturdays: February 11, 18, 25; 1–3pm CT

In this virtual workshop, learn the basics of illustration and drawing for prints, artist’s books, and comics! Each session will feature a topic—characters, spaces, and styles—and will begin with a short presentation followed by exercises designed to help participants build their illustration and drawing skills. Sessions two and three will begin with friendly group conversation about work in-progress. As this is a virtual workshop, demonstrations will be taught digitally but participants are welcome to draw in any format they choose, from digital drawing on a tablet to pen/pencil on paper. This virtual workshop is designed for those who would like instruction and guided practice in illustration and drawing. Intermediate-level illustrators are welcome as well. Continue reading “Illustration: Characters, Spaces & Style”

Storytelling with Digital Collage

with grace (ge) gilbert
Tuesdays: February 14, 21, 28; 5–6:30pm CT

Inspired by the hybrid visual and poetic works of Anne Carson, Saidiya Hartman, and Diana Khoi Nguyen, among other makers, this virtual workshop offers participants a method of working digitally with collage materials to tell stories. Work with a series of personal artifacts (familial, cultural, and/or historical photographs or documents) in a digital format and develop a text/image concept through a series of writing and collage exercises. Practice close “readings” of images to create unique multimedia collages. With generative prompts and tutorials on how to use word processing software to collage, participants will come away with both technical skills and the beginnings of a project idea. Continue reading “Storytelling with Digital Collage”

Visual Poetry Techniques

with India Johnson
Saturday, February 25; 1–4pm CT

This in-person workshop takes a playful and material approach to language. Sample a series of simple and versatile techniques for spatial writing. Respond to examples of visual poetry from the 1960s to the present using rubber stamps, carbon paper, stencils, and typewriters. Then, experiment with a range of substrates such as handmade papers, fabric, and stickers. After trying several techniques, select one to explore further during a visual writing exercise. Continue reading “Visual Poetry Techniques”

Art Practice Circle: March

with Laura Brown
Monday, March 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: March”

Autobiographical Comics

with Camilo Aguirre
Saturdays: March 11, 18, 25; 1–2:30pm CT

As part of his art practice, Camilo Aguirre explores relationships between personal anecdotes and historical narratives to highlight the participation of every person in the weaving of the social fabric. Learn strategies and formats for autobiographical comics that feature your experience through written memoir and drawings. Each session will feature a topic—language of comics, memoir comics references, and script structure and approaches—and will begin with a presentation and examples followed by exercises designed to support participants in building their skills to write their own autobiographical comics. Sessions two and three will begin with friendly group conversation about works-in-progress. Demonstrations will be drawn digitally but participants are welcome to draw in any format they choose, from digital drawing on a tablet to pen/pencil on paper. This workshop is designed for those who would like instruction and guided practice in illustration and drawing. Intermediate-level illustrators are welcome as well. Continue reading “Autobiographical Comics”

Storytelling with Mixed Media Collage

with grace (ge) gilbert
Tuesdays: March 14, 21, 28; 5–6:30pm CT

In telling our own story, we tend to putter around trying to find the proper container, oftentimes bracing up against the limitations of genre. A “hybrid form,” however, is a form that borrows from multiple genres. Experimenting with multiple genres can help us discover how to tell the stories we’ve been meaning to tell. In this workshop, we will discuss how to use artifacts and found materials around the home (including personal photographs and documents) to create 2D collages and how to incorporate these collages into a hybrid narrative project. Learn simple tools and tricks for creating mixed-media collages, and ways to form relationships between text and image. In each session, learn by examining a sample hybrid text together as a group, followed by a demo by the teaching artist. Then, put your new skills to practice with generative prompts inspired by the sample examined earlier. Come away with a generous reading list, new collage skills, and the beginnings of a hybrid text/image project idea.  Continue reading “Storytelling with Mixed Media Collage”

The Book as Sculpture

with India Johnson
Thursdays: March 16, 23, 30; 6–9pm CT

This in-person workshop is an exploration of the book as sculpture. Consider the book’s objectness in terms of volume, weight, and space/location. In each session, get inspired by images of sculptural books and book installations by various artists. Then, learn how to make a sculptural book or a structure that lends itself well to installation (for example, it may be constructed of various folded units that can be arranged sequentially on a wall). Experiment with ideas based on what you learned in addition to guided prompts that push you to think about books in 3D.

During the last session of the workshop, participants will be guided through the process of installation, presentation (this includes photographing work and drafting “wall text” to label your work for potential exhibitions), and lighting a sculptural bookwork or work-in-progress in MCBA’s bindery and reference library before taking home finished work. Friendly group feedback may be shared, if time allows. Continue reading “The Book as Sculpture”

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”

Drawing as Seeing

with Hope Amico
Wednesdays: April 5, 12, 19; 7–9pm CT

Drawing from life requires us to see differently. In this virtual workshop, explore drawing as a way of seeing. Through exercises and practice, begin to train your eyes to see the world around us in shadows and light, and as shapes in relation to one another. Opportunities will be offered to discuss and share work with other participants. Through encouraging and open exploration, try a number of ways to see the world a little differently through our drawings. Open to all levels—whether you’re completely new to drawing or an artist seeking a refresher with accountability—everyone will learn new ways to practice drawing. Continue reading “Drawing as Seeing”

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”