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.
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”
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”
with Bill Myers
Saturday, October 8; 10am–4pm CT
From the 16th to the 19th century, printed broadsides and posters were a major means of communication. Unlike pamphlets and newspapers, single sheets posted on walls and lampposts could work something like present day billboards, placing advertisements, announcements of events, political statements, and satirical ballads in front of the public. Make use of MCBA’s extensive wood type collection to make your own posters, printing them on a 19th-century iron hand press. These presses were (very likely) originally used to print just the sort of work we will create. These presses also make it easy to experiment with multicolor designs. Bring brief texts you would like to print or use content provided by the instructor. Continue reading “Freedom of the Press: Broadsides and the Hand Press”
with Michelle Lee Lagerroos and Kirsten Olson
Saturday, October 8; 10am–4pm CT
Get familiar with MCBA’s newly revamped screen printing studio and print your own unique design on a tote bag and tea towel. Learn the basics of screen printing on fabric using hand-drawn artwork, cut paper stencils, and darkroom techniques. Instruction will cover design, screen exposure, ink, and multi-color printing for fabric. Come away from the workshop with the confidence to work independently at MCBA’s Screen Printing Labs.
Bring your sketches and ideas to the workshop. Final designs should fit on a letter-sized sheet of paper (maximum width 8.5 inches) and may include up to two colors. Participants are encouraged to bring a T-shirt to print on, too! Natural fiber fabric works best for the water-based screen printing inks used in MCBA’s studio; we prefer 100% cotton or cotton/polyester blends with at least 50% cotton. Continue reading “Screen Print: Fabric”
with Ben Etten and Kirsten Olson
Thursday, October 13; 6–9pm CT
Trick or tote! Screen print your own unique design on a tote bag! In this in-person workshop, discover how to screen print using hand-cut wax paper stencils–without a darkroom. Instruction will cover stencil design, hand-cutting techniques, fabric ink, and tips for printing on fabric.
Bring your sketches and ideas to the workshop. Final designs should fit on a letter sized sheet of paper (maximum width 8.5 inches). Simple designs are encouraged. Continue reading “Screen Printed Tote”
with Savannah Bustillo
Saturday, October 15; 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, design and print your own small edition of posters on a Vandercook press. Continue reading “Letterpress 1: Printing Basics (October)”
with Kerri Sandve
Thursday, October 20; 6–8pm CT
Embrace collaboration and creativity to create a unique notebook in MCBA’s print studio. Choose a short word (no more than six characters) to set in type and print on the Vandercook press. Then, learn how to bind a simple book using your print as the cover. Continue reading “Print and Bind a Notebook”
with Savannah Bustillo
Saturday, October 22; 10am–4pm CT
Collagraphs are printed from a plate or matrix that is built up by layering various materials to hold ink and then adding pressure to create a range of textures, from subtle to intense. In this in-person workshop, learn how to make plates with a unique and affordable set of materials to create collograph prints with subtle layers and differentiations in texture. In addition, learn how to ink and print plates on the etching press in MCBA’s print studio. Come away with a series of experimental prints and experience with a new and accessible printmaking process! Continue reading “Collographs: Texture in Print”
with Kerri Sandve
Thursday, October 27; 6–9pm CT
Polymer plates allow printers to translate drawings, etchings, and photographs into letterpress prints. In this in-person letterpress workshop, learn how to mount, register, and print polymer plates on the Vandercook press. Instruction will focus on inking polymer plates, ideal paper options, and how to clean and store polymer plates.
Participants who have polymer plates are encouraged to bring them, along with any preferred paper to make test prints during the workshop. Example plates and paper will also be available. Continue reading “Letterpress Topics: Printing Polymer Plates”
with Erin Maurelli
Saturday, October 29; 10am–4pm CT
Letterpress 3: Two-Color Postcards focuses on printing multiple layers and building printers’ confidence using Vandercook presses through practice. Printing more than one layer involves printing the same piece of paper multiple times with unique forms (raised type or image) and ink colors for each layer. Careful registration to make each layer align as designed requires planning and troubleshooting. In this in-person workshop, learn how to choose colors and mix ink as well as techniques for adjusting color on the press to create unique effects. Participants will also be introduced to MCBA’s larger Vandercooks, the 219 and Uni 3, which have the capacity to print larger forms and can be more comfortable for taller printers. Procedures for maintaining a community print studio will be reviewed in addition to basic press operation, care, and safety.
To register for this workshop, participants must have taken Letterpress 2: Setting Type and Letterpress 1: Printing Basics (or any other introductory letterpress workshop). Continue reading “Letterpress 3: Two-Color Postcards”
with Savannah Bustillo
Tuesdays: November 1, 15, 29, December 13; 7–9pm CT
In community with other artists of color, explore different book structures as vehicles for sharing stories. This is a community-driven virtual workshop that meets every other week to learn a new book structure and strategies for adding content to that particular book structure to create meaning. Topics and demos for each session align with what participants want to learn and explore. Past topics include adding pockets to book structures, simple box making, flag books, decorative sewing, and Japanese stab binding. 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, with the hope that participants feel empowered over the course of the workshop to pursue their own individual book projects. Continue reading “Experimental Books: Shaping Content For/As Communities of Color”
with Hope Amico
Wednesdays: November 2, 9; 4:30–6:30pm CT
What is a zine? Short for fanzine, these photocopied booklets were once small magazines devoted to a certain subject. Over the years, book artists and zinesters have exploded the realm of possibility, creating everything from books of basic instruction to complicated art books. At its simplest, a tiny folded book can be made with one sheet of paper, a pair of scissors, and a pen. Once the basic form is mastered, the possibilities are endless.
In this virtual workshop, learn how to make a one-sheet book and explore examples. Then, create one-of-a-kind books that can be photocopied and shared (or traded in true zine fashion). Practice making images through collage, layering found images with added text through a variety of methods. Come away with at least three original zines to copy and share with other participants, including a transparent zine! Continue reading “Instant Zines!”
with Michelle Lee Lagerroos
Wednesdays: November 2, 9, 16; 7–9pm CT
Photoshop is the perfect way to convert your photographs to screen-printable positives and to preview your layers before ink hits the screen! This virtual workshop is a guide to using Photoshop for screen printing, including converting grayscale images to halftones, using threshold filters for easy posterization, and other tips and tricks. Participants will not be screen printing in this workshop, but they will have the opportunity to turn photographs into positives, which can later be screen printed in another workshop or independently (depending on the individuals’ prior experience). Participants must have a general knowledge of screen printing as well as access to and familiarity using Adobe Photoshop independently. Continue reading “Digital File Preparation for Screen Printing”
with Kerri Sandve
Thursdays, November 3, 10; 6–9pm 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, design and print your own small edition of posters on a Vandercook press. Continue reading “Letterpress 1: Printing Basics (November)”