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Fall into Books and Letterpress

From Print to Page with Margot Ecke
September 22 – November 15, 2013

Spaces are still available in this eight-week books and lettepress workshop.
There are also a few work-study scholarships available.

Margot Ecke
Margot Ecke


Creating an artist book can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.
This workshop will teach you to create sophisticated, finely-considered artist’s books from beginning to end. The workshop will start with brainstorming exercises and move on to technical explorations on the Vandercook press, linocut techniques, polymer plates, case binding construction, book design, leather application, and material choice. Each student in the class will create an edition of books.

“Technical assignments in this class are meant to be fun while building each student’s arsenal of binding and letterpress techniques,” explains Margot. “Our first assignment will be to create a handmade box with a letterpress label. Over the course of ten days, students will create a variety of nonadhesive and adhesive bindings. By the end of this bookbinding ‘bootcamp’ everyone will have a box full of models that will serve as a reference for future artist book projects.”


Books by Margot Ecke
Box of Books by Margot Ecke


The class will then move on to a study of typography and handset type including the history of type and the nitty gritty of line and letter spacing. This section will include a series of small assignments that will help students to learn the mechanics of fine printing while honing their design sensibilities.

“As we work through technical information, students will also develop their book ideas,” says Margot. “We will look at wonderful examples of artist books. We will handle these books, discuss typography and page layout, and begin to understand how thoughtful construction and well-conceived ideas come together to make a beautiful edition.


After Your Death by Margot Ecke
After Your Death (detail) by Margot Ecke


“For their editioned book, most students will choose to create a series of pages that have image and text on each spread. Some students may work with someone else’s text, others may choose to use their own, while others may focus primarily on imagery. Students are encourage to begin collection inspirations to bring with them to Penland.”


Count Me If You Can by Eileen Wallace
Count Me If You Can (detail) by Eileen Wallace


The class will include a visit from University of Georgia professor of book arts and printmaking Eileen Wallace, who creates beautiful and sophisticated books and images. She will discuss her process and meet with students about their work.

Students of all levels are welcome, although good hand skills and some experience with books or letterpress will be helpful.

To enroll in this class, call the registrar at 828-765-2359, ext 15 or visit the fall classes page on our website.

Margot Ecke is the owner of Smokey Road Press. She received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and her BFA from Cornell University. She received a Professional Printing Certificate from the Tamarind Institute at the University of New Mexico and completed her training by earning her diploma in bookbinding at the North Bennett Street School in Boston.


Smokey Road Press birth announcement
Designed and printed by Margot Ecke


She was the Victor Hammer Fellow in the Book Arts at Wells College in Aurora, New York, where she interned at the Press and Letterfoundry of Michael and Winifred Bixler. She has taught workshops at the Penland School of Crafts, the Atlanta Printmakers Studio, the North Bennet Street School, and the Ink Shop. She was an Assistant Professor of Book Arts and Printmaking at the University of Georgia from 2006-2009. Her work is exhibited both nationally and internationally.