Books & Paper

Books and Paper Workshops at Penland


Penland School of Craft offers 1-, 2-, and 8-week workshops in the book and paper arts taught by visiting instructors in our well-equipped studios. Classes focus on topics including designing handmade books, papermaking, printing, and book binding. Workshops are open to serious students of all levels unless specified in course description; beginners welcome.

NOTE: Many aspects of Penland workshops will be altered for 2021 because of the pandemic, but we’re moving ahead with optimism and care. Before you apply, please read our COVID-19 Safety Guidelines document so you will know what to expect and what will be expected of you. And know that, if conditions force us to cancel workshops, you’ll get a full refund on your payment.

Paper – Special Session
May 9-15, 2021
Bhavna Mehta
Paper Plus

This workshop will combine paper and thread in a unique process. Using a combination of cotton and abaca pulp, we’ll form small sheets of paper in various sizes and use colored cotton thread to make marks, patterns, and images. We’ll layer embroidery done on Solvy (a water-soluble membrane) onto wet paper and fuse the two materials to make the fibers bond and the images float. Dried paper sheets can be cut, folded, and further embroidered to create objects with volume and narrative. Students will develop their ideas through play, experimentation, and collaboration. All levels. Paper studio.

Studio artist; teaching: Women’s Studio Workshop (NY), San Diego Book Arts (CA), University of California San Diego Extension Program, Penland; grants: San Diego Foundation Creative Catalyst (CA), California Arts Council Artists in Communities.

Bhavna Mehta, "Resist with Your Voice #4," Canson paper, embroidery floss, 15 x 15 x 1/2 inches
Books & Paper Summer Session 1
May 23 – June 3, 2021
Imin Yeh
Paper Work

This technical and conceptual workshop will push the limits of paper as a sculptural medium. Students will build their work through formal exercises in paper engineering, pattern making, paper cutting, and molding. Using this commonplace, cheap, ephemeral material, we’ll explore the critical act of copying and transforming objects. We’ll look at contemporary artists and designers who have used paper in book forms as well as interactive, sculptural, and photographic work. A few short exercises will build technique and then students will design and create their own work, which might range from objects to installations. All levels. NOTE: This is not a hand papermaking workshop, and it will take place in the books studio. 

Assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University (PA); awards: Women’s Studio Workshop Artist Book Grant (NY), Fleischhacker Foundation Eureka Fellowship (CA); recent exhibitions: Ithaca College (NY), College of New Jersey, Jewish Museum (CA), San Jose Museum of Art (CA), Asian Art Museum (CA).

Imin Yeh, "Paper Mushrooms: A Sculpture for Dark Places That Is High in Potassium," digitally-printed paper, 5 x 5 x 5 inches
Books & Paper Summer Session 2
June 6-17, 2021
Alexandra Janezic
Bookbinding for the Self-Publisher

This workshop will cover fundamental bookbinding techniques and create a library of structures that students can pull from and expand on for their own creative book projects. During the first week, we’ll cover pamphlets, accordion bindings, link stitch bindings, paper case bindings, flat spine case bindings, and the basics of box making. We’ll also address the material choices and ideological considerations needed to create a successful edition of book objects. In the second week, students will develop and create their own editions of hand-bound books. Students are encouraged to bring an idea for a project they would like to edition. All levels.

Artist, bookbinder, letterpress printer; residencies: Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts (NE), Morgan Conservatory (OH); exhibitions: Robert B. Hass Family Arts Library at Yale University (CT); collections: Library of Congress (DC), Yale University (CT), Newberry Library (IL), University of California-Berkely (CA)..

Alexandra Janezic, "Book Structure Models," bookcloth, paper, thread, dimensions variable
Books & Paper Summer Session 3
June 20 – July 1, 2021
Shawn Sheehy
Modular, Moving, Pop-Up Creatures

Have you ever asked yourself, “How do I adapt the structures I see in pop-up books to make my own structures?” This workshop will help you find the answer to that question by exploring nine structures at four levels: foundational, transitional, transformational, and personal. In the first week, we’ll make sample folios using an innovative, roll-up binding approach. The second week will be devoted to independent work. Students will leave with a set of bound study models and a good start on their own project. All levels. 

Studio artist; teaching: Peters Valley (NJ), Arrowmont (TN), San Francisco Center for the Book, Center for Book Arts (NYC), Minnesota Center for Book Arts; collections: Stanford University (CA), Carnegie Mellon University (PA), University of Chicago, University of California-Los Angeles; trade publications: Welcome to the Neighborwood, Beyond the Sixth Extinction.

Watch a video of Shawn’s pop-ups in action!

Shawn Sheehy, "Beyond the Sixth Extinction," handmade paper, letterpress, 14 x 9 x 7 inches
Books & Paper Summer Session 3
June 20 – July 1, 2021
Andrea Peterson
Papermaking in the Field

This workshop will dive into making paper from garlic leaf, field pea stem, sisal, cattails, hay, and wheat straw. We’ll also venture into the local area and experiment with possibilities such as knotweed, kudzu, or garlic mustard. Topics will include the selection and gathering process, intensive cooking, beating, pigmenting, and sheet forming. After papers dry we’ll explore fold strength, surface dying, paste papers, and suminagashi to fully understand each fiber’s capability as finished paper. This physically active workshop will include harvesting plants by hand and cooking fiber over a wood fire. All levels.

Assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; other teaching: Ox-bow (MI), private sessions at Hook Pottery Paper (IN); exhibitions: Brauer Museum of Art (IN), Krasl Art Center (MI), Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking (GA); collections: Metropolitan Museum (NYC), Fort Wayne Museum of Art (IN).

Andrea Peterson, "Natural Fiber Papers," varied fibers, 18 x 24 inches each
Books & Paper Summer Session 4
July 4-15, 2021
Frank Hamrick
Handmade Paper and Artist Books

In this workshop, we’ll make rag paper from your old cotton and linen clothes and incorporate it into various book structures including hardcover pamphlet, accordion, longstitch, case bound, Japanese, and Coptic bindings. Advanced students can tackle more advanced forms, including z-fold and dos-a-dos. We’ll talk about editing and sequencing content, and how size, material, and structure choices can support subject matter. We’ll have options for placing imagery or text into our books digitally or manually. Our time will be divided between the books and papermaking studios. All levels.

Professor at Louisiana Tech University; other teaching: University of Georgia Cortona Italy Program, Art Institute of Boston Mentor Program; collections: Art Institute of Chicago, Amon Carter Museum (TX), Ogden Museum (New Orleans).

artist book by Frank Hamrick
Frank Hamrick, "It Was There All Along," handbound artist’s book with relief printed cover, 8-7/8 x 9 x 5 inches
Books & Paper Summer Session 5
July 18–August 2, 2021
John DeMerritt
Contained Within: Boxes & Enclosures

This workshop will explore a systematic and formula-based approach to creating boxes, housings, and enclosures for books and objects. Students will begin by making uniformly-sized clamshell boxes as they learn covering techniques, miters, cutting sequences, templates, formulas, and adhesive awareness. Then we’ll focus on the construction of one or more custom enclosures. We’ll explore wells, recessed areas, alternative structures, laminating, tongue and groove hinging, and, time permitting, foil stamping and surface decoration. All levels.

Owner of John DeMerritt Bookbinding (CA); teaching/lectures: San Francisco Center for the Book, Columbia College Center for Book and Paper Arts (Chicago), Visual Studies Workshop (NY), North Bennet Street School (Boston)..

Bright green slipcase with three artists' books inside
John DeMerritt, "Hockney," Brillianta bookcloth, imitation leather, Eska board, grey foil, 
10 x 13 x 4 inches
Books & Paper Summer Session 5
July 18 – August 2, 2021
Elizabeth Alexander
Cast Paper Sculpture

This workshop will be an in-depth exploration of sculpting with paper: a wonderfully versatile material. We’ll cover a variety of techniques for casting paper forms from objects to create seemingly weightless assemblages that can be painted, cut into, collaged onto, etc., and we’ll experiment with methods of arrangement and display to push cast objects beyond simple replication. Our focus will be laminate casting, but we’ll also explore working with pulp, cutting, forming, and assembling paper into sculpture and installation art. We’ll have critiques and group discussions throughout the session as the work develops. Open to anyone who enjoys exploring and experimenting with materials. All levels. 

Associate professor at University of North Carolina School of the Arts; solo exhibitions: William King Museum (VA), Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (NC), Boston Sculptors Gallery; finalist for Museum of Arts and Design Burke Prize; collections: Crystal Bridges Museum (AR), Mint Museum (NC).

Elizabeth Alexander, "Let Him Speak First (Positives)," extracted wallpaper print, adhesive, wood, 96 x 120 x 70 inches
Books & Paper Summer Session Six
August 8-19, 2021
Susan Gosin and Cynthia Nourse Thompson
Contemporary Papermaking for Book Arts

Students in this workshop will learn to prepare pulp and make paper sheets from a wide range of fibers, including linen, cotton, kozo, and abaca. In-depth explorations of pulp painting, coloring, collaging, stenciling, and watermarking will lead to the design and production of books and dimensional artworks. We’ll cover numerous traditional and contemporary book structures and produce two artist book prototypes and an accordion-style portfolio for paper samples. The instructors will meet with students individually to help guide each person’s process from concept to production. Students are encouraged to bring imagery, poetry, text, and collage material for inspiration.This workshop is open to adventurous students of all levels of skill.

Susan: studio artist, co-founder of Dieu Donné (NYC), co-chair of Dieu Donné Papermill (NYC), president of Dieu Donné Press (NYC); developed curricula and designed programs for various schools, including The New School (NYC) and Bibliotheca Alexandria (Egypt); Printmaker Emeritus award from Southern Graphics Council; exhibitions/collections include Metropolitan Museum (NYC) and Museum of Modern Art (NYC). Cynthia: associate professor and director of curatorial affairs at Kennesaw State University (GA); other teaching: University of the Arts (Philadelphia), Memphis College of Art, University of Georgia Cortona Italy Program, Haystack (ME); residencies: Yaddo (NY), Women’s Studio Workshop (NY), Visual Studies Workshop (NY); 2021 Maker-Creator Fellowship at Winterthur Museum (MD)

Susan Gosin, "Khela" (detail), artist book, 12-1/2 x 15-1/2 inches
Cynthia Nourse Thompson, "Conceal," letterpress and archival pigment print on handmade pigmented cotton paper, 5 x 9 inches closed
Books & Paper Summer Session 7
August 22-28, 2021
Shanna Leino
Bone Folders Elevated

Working with elk bone, we’ll craft a traditional tool of the bookbinding trade: the bone folder. We’ll play with shape and ornament to move beyond a simple tool into the realm of the sculptural and adorned. These will be custom tools made to suit your individual needs, resulting in instruments of function and beauty. Students will create a small quiver of unique bone tools and a leather tool roll to house them safely. All levels. Note: We’ll be working with bone from elk killed in the wild. This material would otherwise be wasted and thrown away, but it is an animal product nonetheless.

Studio artist; teaching: University of Georgia Cortona Italy Program, Paper and Book Intensive (MI), Boston University, Minnesota Center for the Book, University of Iowa Center for the Book; Fiskars Artist in Residence (Finland); collections: Yale University Library (CT), University of Washington Special Collections, University of Iowa Special Collections.

Shanna Leino, "Carved Elk Bone Folders," elk bone, various dimensions
Drawing & Painting Summer Session 7
August 22-28, 2021
Leigh Suggs
Changing Perspective: Experimenting with Paper

This workshop is about changing your approach to paper. We’ll explore ways to transform paper—both technically and conceptually—into more than just a flat surface. Students will use simple tools to turn basic sheets into sculptural forms by cutting, folding, collaging, weaving, and using a variety of 3-d paper constructions. We’ll use natural and synthetic papers and create samples that will introduce you to the nuances of the material. There will be daily demonstrations, discussions of contemporary work, and time for experimentation. All levels. Note: this is not a hand papermaking workshop. 

Studio artist; teaching: Virginia Commonwealth University, Arrowmont (TN), Penland; exhibitions: Penland Gallery, Racine Art Museum (WI), Weatherspoon Museum (NC), Taubman Museum (VA); collections: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Roanoke College (VA); representation: Reynolds Gallery (VA).

Intricately cut vanishing pattern on blue paper
Leigh Suggs, "On Our Way," handcut acrylic on Yupo, 36 x 36 inches
Photo Summer Session 7
August 22-28, 2021
May Babcock & Lindsey Beal
Foraged Photographs: Cyanotypes & Handmade Paper

This workshop will integrate hand papermaking and cyanotype printing. We’ll make paper from sustainably harvested plants and traditional fibers and create sheets using deckle boxes and multiple pulps. Using cyanotype and anthotype, we’ll create photograms from foraged plants and photographs from digital negatives. Cyanotype creates blue images that can be toned to other colors. Anthotypes are made with photosensitive plant emulsions. Working in both the photo and papermaking studios, students will build a supply of handmade papers, print unique images, and learn to create environmentally conscious artwork at home. All levels.

May: studio artist; teaching: Rhode Island School of Design, Women’s Studio Workshop (NY), Brown University (RI), Louisiana State University, Pyramid Atlantic (MD); residencies: White Mountain National Forest (NH), Guadalupe Mountains National Park (TX); public art: Rhode Island State House, T.F. Green International Airport (RI). Lindsey: studio artist; teaching: Rhode Island School of Design, Massachusetts College of Art and Design; solo exhibitions: Vermont Center for Photography, Griffin Museum of Photography (MA), Danforth Art Museum (MA); publications: New York Times Lens Blog, BBC Mundo, Photo District News, New Scientist.  |  @maybabcock

four abstract compositions of blue and white on gray paper
May Babcock and Lindsey Beal, "Lamina: Eddy 1–4," artist-made pulp paintings on pigmented cotton, flax, and corn husk, cyanotype, gouache, 8-1/2 x 11 inches
Books – Fall One-Week Session
September 19-25, 2021
Sarah Bryant
Exploring Long- and Link-Stitch

Long- and link-stitch bindings are structures grounded in the traditional bookbinding practices of Italy and Germany. They remain favorites among hand bookbinders today for their flexibility, durability, and the opportunities they offer for innovative pattern-making and design along the spine. In this workshop students will learn three traditional long/link-stitch bindings and then spend the rest of the week experimenting with alternate sewing and covering techniques. We’ll delve into a number of materials for the covers and spine pieces, including leather, handmade paper, wood, and nontraditional materials. All levels.

Assistant professor at University of Alabama; other teaching: Wells College (NY), University of Georgia Cortona Italy Program, West Dean College (UK); collections: Library of Congress (DC), New York Public Library, Yale Arts Library, Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC). | @bigjumppress

NOTE: Participation in fall workshops will require proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.
Most campus activities will return to normal operating procedures.

books by sarah bryant
Sarah Bryant, Long- and Link-Stitch Bindings, leather, paper, veneer, cloth, thread, dimensions vary
Papermaking Fall Concentration
October 3 – November 12 (six weeks)
Radha Pandey
Paper Through Time

Focused on the history of papermaking, this workshop will trace the geographical spread of the craft. The first four weeks will be spent learning techniques from Nepal, Polynesia, Korea, Japan, India, and Europe. We’ll cover sheet forming along with the history, culture, and related craft traditions tied to papermaking of each region, including some tool making and natural dyeing. Students will then have two weeks to dive into their own projects expanding on the knowledge and inspiration gained from all the techniques covered. All levels.

Studio artist; teaching University of Iowa Center for the Book (IA), Princeton University (NJ), Cleveland Institute of Art, Women’s Studio Workshop (NY), Harvard Art Museums (MA), Leksands Folkhögskola (Sweden), Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall (Norway), Museu Molí Paperer de Capellades (Spain); collections: Library of Congress (DC), Yale University (CT), Vassar College (NY), Metropolitan Museum (NYC). | @pandey.radha

NOTE: Participation in fall workshops will require proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.

paper by Radha Pandey
Radha Pandey, Naturally-Dyed Islamicate Papers, paper, dyes, 4 x 1 each
papermaking in process by Radha Pandey
Radha Pandey, Washi, kozo/paper mulberry, 11 x 14 inches