Craft Shapes our Imagination.
The history of the book parallels its people and its culture. It is steeped in tradition and craft as the primary form that for decades has stored, archived, and conveyed visual and verbal information. The book represents a cultural icon and its role in our culture as a utilitarian and artistic object continues to evolve and change.
Book arts explores the scope of the book with conceptual development in its design, its reproduction techniques and its binding.
Students explore historic book structure - paper decoration, adhesion and clasp and enclosure possibilities - and the innovation of contemporary book structure, including German case binding, the clamshell box and round back binding. Emphasis is placed on the letterpress as a tool to generate text and image. Students learn principles of typography while setting type and printing by hand. Experimental and traditional image-making processes on the Vandercook printing press and simple edition-friendly binding structures are examined. Advanced courses combine the dynamic relationship between the book and printed page, narrative possibilities in book and box structure, pacing, structure as a vehicle for content, and techniques in illustration, stamping, drawing and printmaking.
Printmaking processes, such as Relief, Monotype, Collograph and Drypoint are introduced in an elective class offered to students from all concentrations. Students are introduced to Intaglio printing and photo transfer, lithography and photo-litho to further develop printing, design and binding skills.
Independent and collaborative projects, discussions and lectures hone the conceptual skills necessary for critical thinking regarding the nature of the book. Book arts graduates are fluent in book construction - text, image, structure, materials and techniques - and prepared to create work that reflects their own personal expression. They are also prepared to realize their goals of advanced studies in graduate school or life as a studio artist.
Book Arts Studio Space
Printshop: Two 27" x 48" Griffin etching presses; three Vandercook presses; Platen and proofing presses; and a large collection of type.
Bookbinding: 40" Board shear; French standing press; nipping presses; drymount press; miscellaneous sewing, punching and backing equipment.
Papermaking: Hollander beater and miscellaneous moulds and equipment for Western and Eastern papermaking.
BA109 Book Arts Survey | 3 semester credits
An introduction to the concepts, materials, techniques and structures related to the book and the book arts is presented through weekly assignments that are designed to challenge the student to explore the book on different conceptual levels. Students have the opportunity to learn a variety of traditional and non-traditional binding structures, basic editioning and low-tech printing techniques. Some projects involve collaboration and exchanges with other students. Offered fall semester. No prerequisite.
BA110 Beginning Letterpress | 3 semester credits
Building upon the book arts techniques and concepts introduced in BA109, an emphasis is placed on using letterpress printing as a tool for generating both text and image. Students have the opportunity to explore basic principles of typography while setting type and printing by hand, as well as studying the history of printing and examining book art activity in the last 50 years. Experimental and traditional image-making processes on the Vandercook printing press are covered along with simple edition-friendly binding structures. The culmination of the coursework will be printing an edition book or related multiple project. Offered spring semester. Prerequisite: BA109 or consent of instructor.
BA201 Bookbinding | 3 semester credits
Covering the materials, structures and methods for creating traditional and non-traditional book and box structures, this course provides information about the basics of adhesives, materials and procedures needed to create boxes such as the portfolio, clamshell, and lidded box. Traditional book structures covered are the German case binding and round-back binding, as well as innovative structures such as the Kelm wire-edge binding, the Frost sewn-boards binding and others. Students have the opportunity to learn paper decoration, adhesive preparation, clasp and enclosure possibilities, and examine contemporary artists’ examples. Offered fall semester alternate years. Prerequisite: BA110 for students in book arts concentration; one year (6 semester credits) in student’s concentration for all others.
BA202/302 Design Concepts | 3 semester credits
Explore the dynamic elements and relationships within the book and the printed page, focusing primarily on the relationship between text and image. Readings and examples of contemporary art are discussed in class and assignments relate to the material covered. Letterpress techniques building on those covered in BA109 are also taught. Students are expected to produce a limited edition book or related independent project. Offered spring semester alternate years. Prerequisite: BA110 for students in book arts concentration; FDR102, FDS104 and one year (6 semester credits) in student’s concentration for all others.
BA203 Book and Box Structures | 3 semester credits
Investigating the materials, structures and methods for creating traditional and historic book and box structures, this course offers students the opportunity to learn the basics of adhesives, materials and procedures needed to create boxes such as the portfolio, clamshell, and lidded box. Traditional book structures covered are the German case binding and round-back binding, as well as historic structures such as a wooden-boarded coptic binding, decorative long-stitch, 16th century papercase binding and others. In addition, students will have the chance to learn about paper decoration, adhesive preparation, clasp and enclosure possibilities, and examine the history of book structure. Offered fall semester alternate years. Prerequisite: BA110 for students in Book Art concentration; one year (6 semester credits) in student’s concentration for all others.
BA204/304 Integrated Book Arts | 3 semester credits
Expanding on the technical information covered in Book Arts Survey, Bookbinding, and Letterpress, this course provides the opportunity for students to strengthen their conceptual connection to the book. Rotating themes addressed in this class include: response to historic work and the work of other book artists, contemporary issues, chance operations, and personal history. Demonstrations and short exercises are given to refine and expand letterpress and bookbinding skills. Students are expected to complete a variety of short and long-term projects, create prints and models in class, and discuss selected readings during the semester. Prerequisite: BA110 for students in book arts concentration; FDR102, FDS104 and one year (6 semester credits) in student’s concentration for all others.
BA205 Printmaking: Relief, Monotype, Collagraph and Drypoint | 3 semester credits
This elective class is an introduction to a variety of printmaking processes with a focus on relief printing, including the linoleum cut and woodcut. The printmaking techniques of monotype, collagraph and drypoint are also covered. Students explore new ways of creating imagery and surfaces unique to printmaking, and gain expertise and control over a range of tools and materials. Printing single and multiple plates, in black and white and color, will help students explore both consistent and variable editions. Students study historical and contemporary approaches to printmaking by viewing actual print examples. The course culminates in an editioned print portfolio exchange and exhibition in the colleges’ Centrum Gallery. Offered fall semester. Prerequisite: DR102 or consent of instructor.
BA206 Printmaking: Beginning Intaglio and Photo Transfer | 3 semester credits
An elective class exploring traditional metal plate etching on copper and contemporary photo-polymer plate making -- available to students with no prior printmaking experience -- the class begins with an introduction to intaglio printing (metal plate etching), covering the classic techniques of softground, hardground and aquatint. Photo applications are also covered with low-tech transfer techniques and exposing and developing photo-polymer plates for intaglio printing. Students have the opportunity to study historical and contemporary approaches and view actual print examples. The course finishes with a multi-plate color print using photo-transfer and intaglio techniques. Offered spring semester alternate years. Prerequisite: FDR102 or consent of instructor.
BA207 Beginning Lithography and Photo-Litho | 3 semester credits
A beginning course designed to introduce students to lithography and the art of the hand-pulled print, the class begins with traditional lithographic drawing techniques allowing students to become comfortable with processing and printing the plate and concludes with the experimental use of photographs and computer images. Students have the opportunity to explore both hand drawn and low-tech photographic applications on ball-grained aluminum plates and photo-positive litho plates. Through demonstrations, lectures on the history of lithography, print viewing, field trips, slides, books, and open work sessions and critiques, the four assignments focus on developing a visual voice with lithography, including: crayon drawing, washes, transfers and photographic applications. Offered spring semester, alternate years. Prerequisites: FDR102, FDS104.
BA301 Advanced-level Bookbinding | 3 semester credits
Building on the skills and structures covered in the 200-level bookbinding course, new structures are introduced that offer an opportunity for independent research and advanced-level work. Students should spend time in Special Collections at the Central Library, researching an object that has a structural or binding element they wish to learn more about and leading to the creation of an object based on this experience. Students also have the prospect to learn partial leather binding, innovative structures such as the Kelm wire-edge binding, the Frost sewn-boards binding and others. Offered fall semester yearly. Prerequisites: 200 level book binding or consent of instructor.
BA305 Combined Print Media | 3 semester credits
An intermediate-level course, Combined Print Media is designed to elaborate on the information and skills covered in Beginning Letterpress and/or the 200-level Printmaking courses by further developing the technical and conceptual use of the printing press as an image and bookmaking tool. The focus is on the role of the multiple or book edition, as well as installation and sculptural possibilities for bringing prints off the wall. Students have the opportunity to engage in critical discussions about contemporary prints, book editions, and multiples as they seek to define their own work within this field. A variety of mediums will be investigated, including letterpress, relief printing, intaglio, planographic printing, collagraph, and stencil printing. The course is supplemented with advanced readings, samples of work, demonstrations, and discussions. Prerequisite: BA110 or consent of instructor.
BA490/491 Book Arts Tutorial | 3 semester credits
Designed for post-baccalaureate students, the tutorial provides an opportunity for students to work directly with faculty mentors to gain knowledge and insight not available in regularly scheduled classes. Together they design a curriculum which includes a number of individual projects to enhance skill level and direct students toward their goals. As individual problems arise, students develop solutions in conjunction with their mentors, providing an intense learning situation for the students. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
Learn more about the College's programs of study:
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Craft (requires a bachelor's degree)