April 5, 2023



We have a limited number of half tuition scholarships at $550 available for ARTISTS and STUDENTS to take a week long class during this year’s Summer Institute! To apply, email Interim Director of the Book Arts Center, Christine Elfman at celfman@wells.edu with a letter of interest, CV or resume, and 3 preferred classes from the following list. If applying as an artist, please include a link to your art website or art social media account. Applications will be reviewed beginning July 3rd and will be awarded on a rolling basis. Please note that the cost of optional housing and meals are not included in the scholarship. Applicants awarded scholarships will be given a discount code for registration. Email questions to celfman@wells.edu

Week 1
Tom Balbo // Western Papermaking
Scott McCarney // Creative Elemental Bookbinding
Erin Miller // Photolithography: Pattern & Texture
Week 2
Timothy Frerichs // Eastern Papermaking
Ed Rayher // Tactile Letterpress Journeys
Sonja Rossow // (Flat)Back to Basics of Bookbinding

WEEK 1, July 10-14

Western Papermaking with Tom Balbo

Paper is something many of us take for granted, but learning to make paper brings about an entirely new understanding of its vast artistic possibilities. This course will focus on western production techniques using different fibers including cotton, abaca and flax. Pulp painting and deckle box techniques will also be explored. Tom describes this class as a sharing of knowledge from his forty years of papermaking on both a production level and artistic level. Students will leave with lots of hand-made paper.


Tom Balbo is the founder and artistic director of the Morgan Conservatory. He is a Cleveland based artist whose work has been collected for well over 30 years. Graduating from Baldwin Wallace College with a BA in 1977, he completed his MFA in Studio Arts at Syracuse University in 1980 where he was awarded a Syracuse University Fellowship Grant and a Ford Foundation Grant. In 2007, Tom teamed up with noted Cleveland area artists and national hand papermaking artists to improve and conserve the art of paper & book arts educational programming in the US. Knowing that these were art forms worth preserving, the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and Educational Foundation officially opened its doors in October 2008. Additionally Tom has been placed in the Hall of Champion Paper Makers by the North American Hand Papermakers Association. For more information about Tom, see:  https://www.morganconservatory.org/tom-balbo.

Letterpress Word Play with Julia Ferrari

This class offers participants a unique chance to develop word-poem stories while simultaneously learning traditional letterpress relief printing techniques, making a distinctive multidisciplinary connection to letterforms on paper. 

Word play refers to the fact that we will be inventing poems spontaneously, using improvisation and therefore will become involved imaginatively with composing poem-sentences and then physically with composing metal and wooden type in printed forms. It will begin with word-play exercises involving imaginative and thoughtful, spoken and written responses. Throughout this process, participants will work collaboratively, creating a narrative story together while working toward a finished, shared content, hand-printed chapbook, consisting of traditional relief letterpress methods centered on the written stories we create. Participants will then pamphlet-bind a small edition, which we will share.


Julia Ferrari is a letterpress printer, poet and artist who has worked intimately with metal type for the past 30 plus years, creating full sized letterpress books for her own press (Trois Fontaine) and for projects with authors and artists such as Maya Angelou, John Ashbery, Samuel Becket & Arthur Miller, with her business: Golgonooza Letter Foundry & Press. You can learn more about Julia at: https://golgonoozaletterfoundry.com/

Creative Elemental Bookbinding with Scott McCarney

This class reimagines the basics of hand bookbinding to appeal to the novice and
experienced practitioner alike, rethinking the function of bookbinding for a contemporary practice. Basic materials and techniques will be utilized in creative ways to fulfill the structural needs of a book and spur the imagination of the bookmaker.

Books start with paper folded into folios — folios gathered into sections — sections joined to form a book block — sometimes directly to a cover, other times separately with a cover attached later. Each step in this construction is an opportunity for intervention and variation. This workshop will closely examine each step of this process: looking at different ways of folding to make folios; strategies for gathering and sewing sections; the spare use of glue to make folio bindings; innovative weaving to create unique spinal architecture; and how a cover closes the deal.

The experience of building traditional book structures such as coptics and concertina bindings with mindful observation and thematic variation greatly expands our bookmaking skill set. The whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts. The class will focus mainly on physical considerations of the book, and strategies for coordinating content and structure will be illustrated and discussed.


Scott McCarney is an artist, designer, and educator based in Rochester, New York. His primary art practice has been in book form since 1980 and spans many media, from offset and digital printing to sculptural and site-specific installation. His bookworks can be found in many national and international collections as well as Google. His teaching and lecturing itinerary is varied and eclectic, carrying the banner of creative bookbinding and artist’s books to Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Mexico, and South America. He retired in 2020 after seventeen years of teaching in the College of Art and Design at Rochester Institute of Technology. Learn more about Scott at: https://scottmccarneyvisualbooks.com.

Photolithography: Pattern & Texture with Erin Miller

In this workshop, participants will explore pattern and texture through the technical and material processes of photolithography. Through hands-on instruction and material experimentation, students will learn the basics of photolithography, including plate preparation, photographic stencil production, exposure, and printing techniques. We will also explore print-media’s relationship to the matrix, multi-plate printing, creating textures, and working with photographic, hand-drawn, and/or found materials.

By the end of the course, participants will have developed an understanding of photolithography and the many ways in which it can be used to create dynamic prints. Whether you’re a seasoned printmaker or a beginner looking to try something new, this workshop is the perfect opportunity to explore the exciting world of pattern and texture through photolithography.


Erin Miller (she/her) is an artist and educator based in Ithaca, NY. In 2022 she received an MFA from Cornell University, where she was the recipient of the Kip Brady Memorial Prize in printmaking (2021 and 2022) and the John Hartell Graduate Award in studio excellence. Also in 2022 she received the The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Robert Blackburn Printmaking Award at EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in NY, NY. Miller’s work has been exhibited at Ortega y Gasset Projects (Brooklyn, NY), The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art (Ithaca, NY), Neighbors Gallery (Ithaca, NY), and Box13 Artspace (Houston, TX) among others. She is currently the Kahn Family Fellow at the Ink Shop, located in Ithaca, NY and is a lecturer at Ithaca College and Wells College. Learn more about Erin t: https://www.erinmillerstudio.com.

Writers’ Chapbook Intensive: Design / Print / Bind with Laura Rowley

In this course participants will transform a manuscript into a small edition of handmade chapbooks. You’ll learn basic book design and typography skills that bring your unique content to life and digitally print the interior of the book. We’ll spend time in the magnificent printshop learning how to set metal or wood type by hand and print gorgeous covers with letterpress equipment. The final step will be hand bookbinding and learning an elegant sewn binding for the edition. Manuscripts that are compatible with the class should be edited beforehand, text-based (poetry and/or prose), and a maximum of 50 pages in length. The edition size will be 20 and formatted as 8.5″ tall by 5.5″ wide, but can be trimmed smaller. You’ll leave with the skills and files to produce additional copies of books.


Laura Rowley (she/they) is a teaching book artist from Trumansburg, NY. She is the founder of Illuminated Press, a micro press that publishes small editions of handmade books from writers and artists across the country and around the world. Laura has taught many classes in the book arts: from college courses to community workshops and collaborations. Laura studied bookbinding, letterpress printing, and papermaking at Wells College (BA) and The University of Alabama (MFA). To find out more about Laura, see: https://www.illuminatedpress.org/about.  

WEEK 2, July 17-21

Eastern Papermaking with Timothy Frerichs

Paper and papermaking originated in China and is significant in Eastern cultures including Korea and Japan. This course will explore Eastern papermaking traditions using traditional fibers along with sustainable, local fibers native to New York. During the week, we will investigate quality paper production and using paper for artistic expression. In the later part of the week, stencil-based Western pulp painting will be integrated with Eastern papermaking for color and content.  This course is designed for students of all levels and backgrounds. The course will reflect Frerichs’s emphasis on sustainable, responsible artmaking and consideration of the environment.


Timothy Frerichs is a Professor of Art at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Frerichs has been teaching paper arts, book arts, printmaking and drawing for over 25 years. He has received numerous teaching and artistic awards and conducts international workshops including upcoming workshops in Turkey and Lithuania Fall 2023. His art work is included in national and international collections. Learn more about Timothy at: https://www.timothyfrerichs.com.

Off-the-press Print Lab with Leah Mackin

Through experimental off-the-press print processes, paper decoration techniques, and gestural mark-making actions, participants in this course will create and manipulate papers and paper-like substrates to make unique and small-edition printed works. Folded and woven book structures will be introduced and practiced using these newly treated materials. Techniques to be covered will include paste papers, pochoir, dying Tyvek, suminagashi, and more. Some experience with bookbinding and/or printmaking processes is recommended, but not necessary.


Leah Mackin is a visual artist and educator who explores themes of reflection, response, and re-creation through performative publishing projects. She’s thrilled to return to Wells after holding the title of the 11th Victor Hammer Fellow and later the Assistant Director and Academic Coordinator of the Book Arts Center. Mackin holds a BFA in Printmaking + Book Arts from The University of the Arts and an MFA in Printmedia from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. To learn more about Leah, see: https://leahmackin.com/.

Tactile Letterpress Journeys: an excursion through ink, and beyond ink, into a visual / non-visual appreciation of relief printing with Ed Rayher

Create a tactile-rich booklet using a gamut of letterpress techniques. There will be hand setting of type and printing with ink. Next, an exploration of how to create a visual / non-visual (tactile) artifact. Techniques will include debossing (impressing type or blocks below the surface of the paper) and its mirror image embossing. Embossing brings the image forward, such as is the case with Braille. In fact both printing (visual) and embossing (tactile) Braille type will be integrated into the projects. Die cutting is another method of altering paper surfaces that will also be explored. Each person will create a small book using type and the techniques mentioned above, with a focus on the tactile journey letterpress printing makes possible.


Ed Rayher of Swamp Press: printer, publisher and type founder. Swamp has been publishing limited edition letterpress poetry books for decades. The foundry supplies Monotype world-wide and creates new fonts and ornaments using American Type Founders original equipment for engraving matrices. Notable projects include creation of several sizes of Cherokee after a hiatus of over 100 years. Other highlights include the famous Doves type, Pilot—winner of a FPBA contest, both printing and embossing Braille, Baker by Russell Maret, Kliluk by Barbara Henry, and Twist by Sonia Clark. To learn more about Ed, see: https://www.swamppress.com/.

(Flat)Back to basics of Bookbinding with Sonja Rossow

This class introduces students to a variety of ways to design and make interesting and creative blank journals. Build your skills learning classic flat back case and exposed spine binding. We will cover paper choices, how to prepare signatures, sewing techniques, and making a case for the text blocks. We will dye our own thread for the exposed spine binding and, also learn a variety of hand produced ways to make unique cover material, including gelli plate prints, and other alternative image transfer methods making one-of-a-kind journals.


Sonja Rossow is the proprietor of At Some Point Press, LLC doing business as Greentree Book and Paper, a book repair, custom book and letterpress studio in Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment, an historic cotton mill located in Huntsville, Alabama. She received her BS from the University of Louisville, BSE from Minot State University and MFA in Book Arts from The University of Alabama. See greentreebookandpaper.com.

The Contemporary Handmade Artist Book with Emily Sheffer

Immerse yourself in a course dedicated to the contemporary artist book. Guided by Emily Sheffer, students will learn the process of bringing a small body of work to a digitally printed, handmade artist book format. Students will be led through image sequencing exercises, InDesign and inkjet printing lessons, and multi-signature binding tutorials. Group discussions about content, text and image, the book form will compliment hands-on instruction. By the end of the course, you will have a complete digitally printed and hand-bound book of your images. This workshop is a great opportunity for an artist with a small body of work that is ready to be edited into a book. InDesign familiarity is encouraged, but not required.


Emily Sheffer is a fine art photographer and book artist. In 2017, she founded Dust Collective, a handmade photography book imprint, and has since published over a dozen titles. Emily was listed as a 2015 LensCulture Top 50 Emerging Photographer. In 2019, Maine Media Workshops invited Emily to be their book-artist-in-residence. Emily graduated in 2022 from The University of Hartford Photography MFA program, where she was awarded the Merit Scholarship. She currently works as a studio director and visiting professor of photography in New England. Learn more about Emily at: www.dustcollective.net

Additional Information


All classes will be held on the picturesque campus of Wells College, 170 Main Street, Aurora, New York 13026. Wells College is located on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. The area is well known for its natural beauty, lakes, waterfalls, charming small villages, farms and wineries. The Wells College Book Arts Center is located in Morgan Hall, and houses one of the finest teaching collections of book arts equipment in the country.


Participants staying on campus should plan to arrive on Sunday afternoon between 4:00 and 6:00 pm. Dinner for those who have purchased all meals will be at 6:30pm. Those not staying on campus should plan to arrive Monday morning in time for class. Classes run Monday though Friday, 9 am to noon and 1:30 to 4:30 or 5:00 pm. Departure is the following Saturday morning by 10 am. Participants will receive an introduction letter from their instructor before the course begins giving instructions.  


Tuition for one week is $1100 and includes most course materials. Participants may register for one class only per week. Please consult the sections below on accommodations, meals, and airport shuttles.


On-campus dormitory accommodations are in private rooms with a shared bath at $400 for the six nights. The cost includes all linens and internet access via campus WIFI. Still, participants should consider bringing a comfortable pillow, and those who are driving may benefit from bringing an electric fan. Off-campus lodging options include The Inns of Aurora, bed and breakfasts and major hotel chains 20–40 minutes from campus. Please note that Verizon has the strongest cell phone signal on campus, and other carriers may be spotty.


We regret to say that the Book Arts Center is not currently handicapped accessible, although the dormitory is. Please contact us if you think this would prevent your participation.


Wells College reserves the right to test any or all visitors at any time, and to quarantine anyone who tests positive for COVID. Please help us keep everyone safe.


Participants are encouraged to dine on campus to enjoy the fellowship of communal meals. Three options are available: breakfast, lunch and dinner for $350, lunch only for $150, or off-campus dining. We will have a vegetarian option at each meal on campus. A continental breakfast will be served Saturday morning before departure. Please email rlomascolo@wells.edu if you have any dietary concerns.


We are pleased to be able to offer a limited number of scholarships to participants, with preference being given to current and recent Wells students. Applicants should send a letter of interest and two letters of support to Robert LoMascolo, Summer Institute Coordinator by April 30th, 2023. Email rlomascolo@wells.edu or mail to Wells College Book Arts Center, Attn: Robert LoMascolo, 170 Main Street, Aurora, New York 13026. Applicants should include if they have any prior art and/or book art experiences (no experience is necessary), reason for interest in the institute and the courses they are most interested in attending. Current students should include where they are studying and what year/class they are in.


The Institute offers several two-week internships to college and graduate participants in the book arts, with preference being given to current and recent Wells students. Although these are non-paying internships, each intern will be able to participate in two courses while assisting instructors and other participants. Applicants should send a letter of interest which includes their prior art and/or book art experiences, reason for interest in the internship, and at least one letter of reference to Robert LoMascolo, Summer Institute Coordinator by April 30th, 2023. Email rlomascolo@wells.edu or mail to Wells College Book Arts Center, Attn: Robert LoMascolo, 170 Main Street, Aurora, New York 13026. Please note this internship can be used towards the Wells book arts major and minor.


We are working hard to provide as much as possible without raising prices, but participants may be required to bring certain tools or supplies, pay an additional materials fee, or purchase a kit from their instructor. Instructors will provide a list of required and recommended tools and supplies. Participants will be responsible for purchasing their own supplies when stipulated. If there are any additional material fees for your course, it is listed in the course description.


There will be a one-time pick-up and drop-off at Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport for $60. A Wells van will pick up participants at Hancock airport at 3:30 pm on Sunday afternoon; the van will drop participants off at the airport by 10 am the following Saturday morning. The drive from Aurora to Hancock Airport is approximately one hour and fifteen minutes; remember to allow at least an hour to get checked in and through airport security.


We encourage early registration since our courses are limited to 8–12 participants. A $500 portion of your registration is a non-refundable deposit and is due at registration.

You may cancel your registration until June 15th and receive a refund minus the non-refundable $500 deposit. After that date, there will be no refunds. Should we need to cancel a course for any reason, you will be notified and offered another class or a full refund. We cannot be responsible for non-refundable airline tickets or any other costs.


Contact Robert LoMascolo, Summer Institute Coordinator.
Email is the best way rlomascolo@wells.edu,
or leave a message at 315-364-2961 and your call will be returned.

Click here to register!

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