Related Arts

MCBA’s in-person and virtual workshops in book arts are designed for adults looking to spark their creativity and professionals aiming to hone their practice. Our in-studio workshops offer hands-on experiences with specialized equipment and small class sizes, and often include a physical takeaway like a book, poster, or handmade paper. Virtual workshops feature processes that require easy-to-source materials and the opportunity to connect with artists from near and far. Our teaching artists—who bring a wide range of experience and education—thoughtfully balance lecture, demonstration, work time, and group sharing.

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Mechanical Postcards: Birds of a Feather

with Shawn Sheehy
Tuesday, May 28; 7–8:30pm CT

Quick! What’s a figure of speech that involves birds? (Take another look at the workshop title if you need a little help.) This whimsical trio of mechanical postcards features three different bird idioms and volvelle-based mechanisms that will help you solve the idiomatic riddles. Build each using a simple set of hand tools and a kit of pre-cut pieces. This virtual workshop is especially friendly for beginners. Perfect for bird and word nerds! Continue reading “Mechanical Postcards: Birds of a Feather”

Erasure Poetry

with grace (ge) gilbert
Tuesdays: June 4, 11, 18; 5–6:30pm CT

Erasure poetry involves using a source document, or source text, to create a work of your own. It’s a contentious practice, but one that allows the maker to re-contextualize history, or the present, as they want it to be seen. In this virtual workshop, participants of all experience levels will learn simple, low-cost techniques in digital and mixed media erasure, and how to sustain a book-length project of erasure poetry. Each week, learn from model theorists and artists to really attune yourself to the language of the source text, and to understand your role in manipulating it. Learn from step-by-step demos, and complete a generative prompt with the option of sharing and receiving feedback. Come away from the workshop with the beginnings of a book-length project idea, simple erasure techniques, and a deeper understanding of text and image relationships.  Continue reading “Erasure Poetry”

Experimental Cover Design: Thread, Leather, Paper

with María Carolina Ceballos
Wednesdays: June 5, 12, 19; 4:30–6:30pm CT

In this virtual workshop, make one or more mixed-media artworks using materials already in your home. Do you have paper you bought or made that hasn’t found a use yet? Or embroidery thread from a project in a color you love? Find new inspiration in these materials by experimenting with their individual possibilities—how could I use this?—and by bringing them together into visual dialogue with each other, understanding the specific qualities of line, color, shape, and texture to create new art. Instruction will cover in-lays, on-lays, embroidery, and collage. Finished pieces could become a cover for a book or a one-of-a-kind artwork. Continue reading “Experimental Cover Design: Thread, Leather, Paper”

Papermaking as Transformation and Storytelling for Queer Makers

with e ainsley
Thursday, June 13; 6–9pm CT

In this in-person workshop, make paper sculptures with an object of significance to you and paper ephemera—letters, journal pages, photos, and/or documents—you’ve collected over time. Start by making a silicone mold of a cherished object that you bring to the studio. Then, turn your ephemera into pulp which will fill your mold to infuse this paper sculptural object with new meaning.  Continue reading “Papermaking as Transformation and Storytelling for Queer Makers”

Miniature Framed Paintings

with e ainsley
Saturday, June 15; 10am–4pm CT

Create a painterly paper sculpture while exploring two methods of papermaking: pulp painting and sculptural papermaking using a silicone mold. Start by making a silicone mold of a picture frame (outer dimensions no larger than 8 x 11 inches). Then, explore various styles of pulp painting through the use of stencils and freehand work. The pulp-painted sheet of paper is placed into the image area of the silicone mold and paper pulp is packed around the remaining area to form the frame. Once completely dry, the paper sculpture can be removed from the silicone mold to reveal a small pulp-painted work of art framed in paper pulp!  Continue reading “Miniature Framed Paintings”

Ekphrastic Poetry: Writing about Your Art

with grace (ge) gilbert
Wednesday, June 19; 7–9pm CT

The word ‘ekphrasis’—poetry that is inspired by works of visual art—comes from the Greek word for ‘description.’ However, ekphrastic poetry moves beyond just describing what is happening in a work of art. It also expands the purpose of the work and re-writes it, as poet Mary Jo Bang says. In this virtual workshop, we will discuss the genesis and history of ekphrastic poetry, why a poet might write in response to art, and how this could apply to your own work. Participants will receive multiple generative prompts for writing their own poems and will come away with both new original writing and a new understanding of the long, storied relationship between text and image. Designed for artists and writers who want to expand their practice.  Continue reading “Ekphrastic Poetry: Writing about Your Art”

Print Poetry with Arabic Type

with Andrea Shaker
Saturday, June 22; 1–4pm CT

Experience letterpress printing while printing lines of Arabic poetry with MCBA’s new collection of Arabic wood type. This in-person workshop is designed for those with little or no letterpress experience with a desire to build skills and community through playful experimentation with Arabic typography! Text will be pre-designed with type locked up in presses in advance to maximize printing time and allow for the basic concepts of printing to be introduced. We will make 2-3 distinct prints (approximately 10 x 14 inches in size), each with a line of poetry in Arabic. Participants will have some creative input with ink colors and may select and hand-set a word (as a group) in wood type to print. Participants can take home a selection of ten to fifteen prints at the end of the workshop. Continue reading “Print Poetry with Arabic Type”

Gelatin Plate Printing for Collage

with Hope Amico
Wednesdays: July 10 & 17; 7–9pm CT

Gelatin plates are a versatile tool to experiment with monoprinting, a painterly printmaking process that creates subtle layers and textures. In this virtual workshop, learn a variety of monoprinting techniques to create unique textures and layers in your prints. Use drawing, mark-making, and printing techniques to create several experimental prints to be used as backgrounds, cut into shapes and elements for collage, and to add transparent layers. On the second night, we will look through what we created and discuss how to reproduce our favorite prints. Then, we will use our papers in collage and discuss other material options. Continue reading “Gelatin Plate Printing for Collage”

Illustration: Characters, Spaces & Style

with Camilo Aguirre
Saturdays: July 13, 20, 27; 9:30–11:30am 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 style—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 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”

Pop-Up Books: Ages 7–11

with Kate Battle
Tuesday-Friday, July 16–19; 1–4pm CT

What can we make with a simple sheet of paper? How about a pop-up! Sure, they can be complex, but we start off with easy-peasy pops. In this four-day, in-person workshop, we look at some amazing pop-up books for inspiration, then we experiment and create a whole bunch of practice pop-ups. After learning the basics, choose your favorite pop-ups, add your text and a cover, and you’ve got your very own pop-up book!

Students learn the secrets of paper engineering and basic geometry involved in this art form. They learn how to use tools like bone folders and scoring tools. Their imaginations are engaged as they visualize how one pop-up structure can be illustrated in countless ways. Design may come into play if students choose to incorporate text on the pages of their pop-up book. Continue reading “Pop-Up Books: Ages 7–11”

Making Tools for Book Arts

with Rachel Payne
Saturday, July 20; 10am–4pm CT

So many tools used in the book world are specialized, meaning they are hard to find at your local arts and crafts stores. Come to this in-person workshop to learn how to make some of them at a fraction of the cost at most retailers. We will discuss how to make a laying press, wood and plexi press boards, bone folders, punching cradles, and box corner jigs. Depending on time and interests, we will also make a corner trimming jig, bent needles, and/or soft weights (also known as ‘snake weights’) with plenty of time for questions. Continue reading “Making Tools for Book Arts”

Collecting & Creating Collage Assets

with Jennifer Price
Tuesday, July 23; 6:30–9pm CT

We can easily find or imagine collage in many applications—as content for artists’ books or graphic design, for eclectic endpapers or covers of handmade books, or to plot murals and textiles. Whether your collage practice is analog, digital, or a combination, you need assets—the materials you select and manipulate with your unique aesthetic in mind. During this virtual workshop, we will look closely at the collage asset itself by defining a strategy for sourcing found materials (like books/magazines, consumer packaging, and ephemera) and creating new ones (using techniques like mark-making, sewing, paper-weaving, and photography). First, we’ll reverse-engineer our individual collage practices by discussing how we go about acquiring assets and what those assets reveal about our histories and habits. Next, we will write “asset strategy” statements before following prompts to create or plan five to ten collage assets inspired by our opening idea swap. Continue reading “Collecting & Creating Collage Assets”

Beaded Books

with Delia Touché
Saturday–Sunday, July 27 & 28; 10am–4pm CT

Interested in expanding your bookmaking abilities by adding surface texture with beads?! This in-person workshop focuses on how to create and adorn book cloth with size 10/0 seed beads. Participants will learn the ‘lazy stitch’ method to adhere beads onto a surface. We will learn about and utilize Coptic-stitch binding to create books out of our beaded book cloth. Coptic is a simple sewn book that is extremely flexible. Because of its ability to fold back onto itself, it is the perfect structure for sketchbooks, journals, and datebooks. We will go over different design methods for beaded patterns, beading terms, bookmaking basics, as well as the various methods to create your book cloth once the material is beaded. We will walk through each step as a group with the instructor providing individual support as needed. Continue reading “Beaded Books”

Artist’s Books from Start to Finish

with Rosae Reeder
Wednesdays: July 31, August 7, 14, 21; 4:30–6:30pm CT

Want to make an artist’s book but don’t know how to start? Have you made artist’s books but want guidance on how to structure the process? This virtual workshop will take you through the process of making an artist’s book from start to finish. We’ll begin by demystifying and defining the book form. Then, we’ll dive into tips for ideation and idea mapping, connecting intention to execution. Instruction will cover ways to connect structure to content and how to approach the interactivity/passivity of the viewer. We’ll make models of simple structures and discuss more difficult ones. Discussion will include an overview of various mark-making and image-making methods and materials. At the end of the workshop, we’ll discuss how to plan and prepare for the final construction of your artist book. Depending on how much you’re able to work on your project outside of the workshop, you will come away with either a finished artist’s book or a working mock-up (or in-progress artist’s book) that you can use as a reference for completing your polished version after the workshop.  Continue reading “Artist’s Books from Start to Finish”