The Painted Book

This workshop will introduce the participants to a unique process of creating a hardbound book in which the painted interior text sheets and the cover are created simultaneously. Initial papers and fabric cover are created using traditional wheat paste techniques in contemporary ways in combination with a variety of multi-media techniques. The focus will be on combining text and imagery using stitching/collage/multi-media to create and sustain a concept through the length of a book. All the essential bookbinding skills are taught in the workshop and no special calligraphic skills are needed. A sense of exploration and adventure and a willingness to try something new are definite assets.

Level: Beginner to Advanced
Length: 3-5 days
Materials Fee: $15-20.00 per participant


• Participants should come with a general “theme” and a related text in mind – e.g. spring, the wind, starry skies, etc. The text should be 25-200 words about any subject with which you would like to work. You could also give some thought to “appropriate” color ranges. Bring some patterned/textured papers for collage, bits of fabrics with different textures and surfaces, rubber stamps, etc. The theme shouldn’t be too specific, because the background imagery is done in quite an abstract manner.

• If you have some specific imagery (photos, bits of text or significant words, maps, etc.) that you think might be compatible with your text, bring those along as collage options. Get them photocopied in several sizes in either Black/White or in color. Use either a laser or a commercial photocopier - don’t just enlarge on your inkjet printer – those inks are water-soluble and the images will blur during the collage process.

• This should include a variety of pencils/pens, eraser, glue stick, paper scissors, masking tape, and utility knife.
• You will be adding text to your books, so bring some “text writing” options (fine tipped permanent markers, pen & ink supplies, gel markers, colored pencils, etc). Whatever supplies/tools you most like to use!
• If you have any “bookbinding” tools (darning needles, thread, weights, paper clips, callipers, bone folder, etc.) include them. Basic bookbinding equipment will be supplied for the class if you don’t have these items.
• Roll of removable tape and a set of yellow Post-it notes
• Ruler (18” x 24”, metal if you have it)
• Cutting mat, and Olfa cutter (optional)

• If you actually have a book press or a large flower press, that would be ideal. The interior size between the screws should be at least 9” x 12”.
• If not, bring 2 boards (approx. 9” x 12” x ½”) and 4 C-clamps from the hardware store.

The basic media that will be presented is “wheat paste” – a mix of acrylic paint in a wheat starch base. On the first day, this will be applied to both sides of large pieces of paper (the interior pages of the book) as well as to the fabric pieces for the cover. Bring:
• Glue brushes (1/2” – 2” bristle brushes - from hardware store)
• Several small to medium-sized plastic containers with lids
• Small tray to transport paint to work station
• Apron and/or old clothes and gloves
• Any “mark-making” tools (old brushes, scrapers, adhesive spreaders, etc.)
• Large sponge, 1 gallon ice cream bucket, paper towels for clean-up

As we are working, we will collage a variety of elements to enhance your interior pages. Some possible suggestions are: (Bring what you have)
• A variety of thinner decorative papers or textured rice papers
• “Thin-ish” fabrics, bits of fabrics with appropriate patterns and/or textures, cheesecloth, shiny and/or metallic fabrics, satins
• Interesting threads and knubby yarns
• Rubber stamps, handmade or commercial
• Photocopied images and bits of text in a variety of sizes

Further enhancing also happens later in the workshop. Additional options at this point are: (Bring what you have)
• Any small embroideries, bits of lace, ribbons, etc.
• Stencils/stencil brushes and pastes (optional)
• Glitter, gold and/or other metal leafs and foils (optional)
• Colored pencils
• Oil pastels
• Chalk pastels

Items can either be glued or hand or machine stitched into the interior and sewn directly onto the cloth cover before it is attached to the hard board. A basic sewing kit should include:
• A variety of needles, scissors (both large and small), seam ripper, tweezers, thimble, and a darning needle for sewing the book together
• A variety of threads (some metallics, some shiny, embroidery) in a variety of thickness for both machine and hand stitching
• A collection of scraps of fabrics, both sheer and opaque, with or without patterns, and any embroideries that you think are appropriate to your theme

SEWING MACHINE: (Optional -the stitched embellishment can be done by hand)
• If you opt to bring yours, make sure it is oiled and cleaned and has all the attachments, the machine’s guidebook, and an extension cord.


• Support materials for your machine – extra needles, bobbins, threads, etc.


BASIC BOOK SUPPLIES TO BE AVAILABLE FOR STUDENTS (These would be covered by the Materials Fee listed above):
• Arches Cover (22” x 30”) – 2 sheets per participant + 5 extra
• Canson Ingres (or equivalent) – 1 sheet per participant + 3 extra
• Book Board – 3 sheets
• A MINIMUM set of Setacolor Transparent Fabric Paints – 250 ml bottles of the following colors: (Other brands of fabric paints would be OK)  Consult with instructor.

13 Buttercup
24 Cardinal Red
49 Fuschia
12 Ultramarine Blue
11 Cobalt Blue
30 Turquoise
28 Moss Green
19 Black Lake

OPTIONAL LIST of 250 mL Setacolor Transparent Fabric Paints:
17 Lemon Yellow
21 Bright Orange
26 Vermilion 29 Parma Violet
15 Emerald Green
18 Pernod Yellow
14 Velvet Brown

A selection of the Setacolor Metallics and/or Shimmer paints (optional)

• Each participant will be working on 2 sheets of 22” x 30” Arches Cover Weight paper simultaneously – so A LOT OF SPACE is needed. 1 per table for the first day, if at all possible.
• 2 extra tables for paint and collage supplies
• Access to sinks/water
• A method to hang up wet papers (22” x 30” – 2 per participant)
• Area to lay wet fabrics to dry
• Extra containers for clean-up, sponges, rags, paper towels

• Ample workspace for each participant (2/table)
• Communal cutting board, ruler and rotary cutter
• 2 extra tables for supplies and samplers
• A “teaching space” comprised of a table and demo space for me with an extra set of chairs around it for participants.
• An easel with a pad of paper and/or a chalk board for demonstrations

• Basic Bookbinding tools – bone folders, needles, thread
• Variety of textured papers and cheesecloth as collage options
• Prepared wheat paste
• Set of Setacolor Transparent Fabric Paints
• Assorted materials for decorating papers - colored pencils, oil/chalk pastels, stencils/stencil brushes
• Handouts and a number of artists’ books

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