Course Information:

Title: Book Arts Summer Workshop, ART 342 1323 / EPC 582 1415

Credits: 3.00

Dates: Summer 2023: Monday, July 31 – Sunday, August 6

Meeting Times: Every day from 9:00am – 5:00pm

Location: Portland Campus – Wishcamper Center (Campus Map)

Instructor: Annie Lee-Zimerle

Prerequisite(s)ART 241 and successful completion of the Foundation Portfolio review, or permission of instructor. Email Annie Lee-Zimerle at to request permission.

This course begins with a series of workshops during a seven-day session. Students will study skills and techniques that give them insights into design, history and aesthetics specific to Book Arts. Each student creates an artist’s book for a September-October exhibition at the USM Glickman Library.

This course may be taken multiple times as the workshop changes each summer.

Additional Course fee: $300


  • Completed prerequisite ART 241 OR received instructor permission to add the course.
  • Students attend all 8 workshops at the Wishcamper Center on the Portland Campus.
  • Students will be expected to devote at least 10 hours per week to class projects. 
  • Students Complete One Book after the Workshop as a Final Project to be exhibited on the 6th floor of Glickman Library during the months of September and October.
  • Attendance to the opening reception/lecture of the exhibition early September.
  • Failure to complete projects by the end of the semester will result in a failing grade.  

REQUIRED ESSENTIAL TOOLS: (For every class, and every day have this kit with you

  • X-acto knife and blades or a knife with break away blades or Olfa knife (small, with snap-off blades), and supply of replacement blades
  • 12”-18” Metal Ruler-preferably stainless steel / non skid
  • Self-Healing Cutting Mat about 12” x 18”
  • Pencil
  • Notebook
  • Scissors
  • Bone Folder


Monday 7/3(Two half-day workshops: you will attend both, one in the morning, one in the afternoon)

  • Wandering Mazes and a Toy with Cynthia Ahlstrin
  • Essentials of Book and Paper Sculpting with Joelle Webber

Tuesday 8/1 & Wednesday 8/2 (Two all-day workshops: you will take one on Tuesday and the other on Wednesday)

  • The Elegant Slim Volume with Stephanie Wolff 
  • Playful Books: A Short Introduction to Independent Publishing and Risograph Printing with Hanson Coleman

Thursday 8/3 & Friday 8/4 (Two all-day workshops: you will take one on Thursday and the other on Friday)

  • Fibonacci, Fractals, and Folding: the Intersection of Nature and Art with Jessyca Broekman and Melissa Sweet
  • Hardcover Binding, an Exploration of Technique and Process with Dave DiMarchi

Saturday 8/5 & Sunday 8/6

  • Creating and Presenting with Annie Lee-Zimerle


Monday 7/31 (Two half-day workshops: you will attend both, one in the morning, one in the afternoon)

Sometimes it only takes one sheet of paper to make a fabulous book! In this class we will start off by exploring folding and cutting several different variations of wandering maze books (sometimes referred to as Insta books). Students will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with mark making techniques on a selected form within this free-flowing genre. If time permits students will be encouraged to develop a visual response within their collaborative piece.

The class will then move on to design an abstract decorative sheet of paper with the use of mark making and a variety of media. We will use this paper as the basis for individual content while exploring and creating the toy book form. 

Additional materials to bring for this workshop:

  • PVA glue or small glue stick 
  • A selection of mark making media you have: graphite, colored pencils, India or acrylic inks, watercolor, Posca pens, Sharpie markers, etc. (No charcoal please!)
  • Small brushes to use with paint or ink
  • Small container (to hold paint or ink)
  • Pencil sharpener  
  • Paper punch or Japanese Screw punch (optional)

Cynthia Ahlstrin is an interdisciplinary artist with an ongoing interest in altered and traditional bookmaking, drawing, and printmaking. Her work investigates wisdoms handed down from past generations, the distortion of memory, and the domestic “rules” placed on women in our society. Ahlstrin earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2004 from the University of Maine at Augusta, graduating Summa cum Laude.  She has also completed additional studies at the University of Southern Maine, the Stonehouse Summer Program, and at the Maine College of Art, completing a minor in Book Arts. Cynthia Ahlstrin is currently an adjunct professor at the Kennebec Valley Community College where she teaches drawing and bookmaking.

We will explore sculpting an already bound book onto a solid base, creating a dynamic three dimensional object. In this task we will learn the importance of two different types of glues and the use of hidden props. While the glue dries on that sculptural element, we will create eight cards that illustrate basic paper-sculpting techniques. These methods can then be used to finish decorating this class piece and other sculpted book arts works in the future.

Joelle Webber has spent over forty years collecting book arts techniques. Often times in workshop settings. Her work at Mermaid Bindery has mainly been book binding and box making for other creators. Building on these foundations, she brings all her creativity in writing, paper decorating, collage, calligraphy, book and box binding, pop-up elements and paper sculpting to her own artists books. Illustrating her love of philosophy, nature, literature and sculpture.

Tuesday 8/1 & Wednesday 8/2 
(Two all-day workshops: you will take one on Tuesday and the other on Wednesday)

Variations in the sewing method, finishing details, or materials provide a creative opportunity when binding books. We will examine simple softcover binding methods the instructor has gathered over her many years in bookbinding and conservation. Using materials such as thread, wood, wire, beads, and paper, we will build upon the basic pamphlet to expand the options of this humble small binding. By considering all the details and materials the most basic of bindings can be elevated to simple elegance. This workshop is an exploration of variations, design and material possibilities, rather than focusing solely on structure. We will make as many models as our time allows, with these serving as reference and inspiration for future work.

Additional materials to bring for this workshop:

  • Binder’s clips, 2 (small ones from office supply store work fine)
  • Metal right triangle (30-60-90 degrees, and helpful if the long side is between 6” and 10” long)
  • Piercing tool or awl (with a shaft no bigger than 1/16” is best)
  • Glue stick
  • Scrap paper for gluing (just some 8.5 x 11 from the recycle bin is fine)
  • Bookbinding needle (Please bring your own if you have one, but one will also be provided)
  • A small selection of simple drawing tools: a few colored pencils, a fine black marker
  • Needle-nosed pliers and wire cutters (these are optional, but might be helpful if you have them)
  • C-thru 6” x 1” and 2” x 12” gridded self-centering rulers (these are optional, but helpful)

Optional materials and tools to bring:

  • A small selection of colorful or decorative text weight scrap papers (total amount about the size of an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper)
  • Small beads, (about 10-12) 1/8” or so in size, with a hole a needle and two strands of bookbinding thread can pass through
  • Linen bookbinding thread, (18/3 size) if you have it and want to use a color other than what the instructor provides
  • Any other simple drawing tools: colorful permanent markers and/or a basic set of colored pencils
  • A drawing compass that holds the pen and/or pencils you bring

Stephanie Wolff works with paper, text, textile and the book form, often on themes of weather, science, history and rural life. Her work has been exhibited in the U.S. and Germany and is in many collections, public and private. She has been awarded a creative research fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and was Artist-in-Residence at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts. Stephanie’s years as a book conservator provided her with knowledge in the history, construction, and repair of a wide range of materials. She enjoys teaching online and in person to share her knowledge from bookbinding, conservation, and fine arts.

Over the past ~20 years, the Risograph machine has taken over the hearts and studios of small presses across the globe. Ideal for bookmakers, it is beloved as a more affordable, sustainable, easeful, and beautiful printmaking tool. In our short time together, we will learn how the Riso can be the cornerstone of a publishing practice and use it to make our own prints and multiples. We’ll draw inspiration from the Childish Books’ library in order to playfully approach how and why we want to make books and where we want them to circulate. 

Optional materials to bring:

  • Anything you need for note-taking
  • Anything you might want to use to make your artwork to be turned into multiples (collage materials, photos, text, drawing materials, etc)
  • If you want to print on your own paper, it must be uncoated, letter sized, and between 20-80# weight. 

Hanson Coleman (they/them) is a Maine based arts administrator, care worker, and book maker. In recent years, they have put their labor towards co-organizing the Brooklyn Art Book Fair; hosting an informal Risograph Residency out of their home; and creating/ tending to Childish Books (CB), a small press that seeks to center children within independent publishing. 

Thursday 8/3 & Friday 8/4
(Two all-day workshops: you will take one on Thursday and the other on Friday)

In this workshop we will explore how and why nature creates folding patterns, geometric fractals, and Fibonacci spirals.  Using the models found in nature, we’ll further our investigation looking at how they can both inspire and inform the content and structure of innovative artists books.  Drawing from this information, we’ll gather actual materials from nature with which to create a series of gel prints that will then be used to construct books designed with these nature based phenomena in mind.

This workshop is intended to open the eyes of the students to how the natural world is organized, and using that information as a set of parameters within which to create unusual book structures.  We’ll construct at least one flag book, and possibly additional concertina based pop-up structures.

Additional materials to bring for this workshop:

  • 8” x 10” gel plate (minimum size)
  • Glue stick or PVA type glue (Elmers is fine)
  • Sewing needle and waxed thread
  • Brayer (optional)

Jessyca Broekman is a Maine printmaker and book artist. Her work is included in private and public collections worldwide, and has been shown throughout New England and beyond. She is the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Yaddo, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Heliker-Lahotan Foundation.

Melissa Sweet is an author and illustrator of many award–winning picture books including Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White, and is a Maine Master Naturalist. She lives in Portland, Maine.

Explore the ins and outs of contemporary hardcover bookmaking, towards making your own professionally (and archivally!) -bound journal, sketchbook or albums. This workshop will introduce artists to bookmaking techniques—the basics of paperfolding, adhesives, stitching and sewing, and handcraft—to begin to integrate bookmaking into your artistic practice. We’ll work with high-quality archival materials, easy-to-master skills, and step-by-step processes towards creating a pair of handmade hardcover books. Along the way, we’ll establish basic mark-making techniques in printmaking processes to further personalize our book cloths and end papers. 

Additional materials to bring for this workshop:

  • 1/2” yard (minimum 18”x36”) of lightweight, cotton fabric (like that used for quilting); fabric should be ironed flat before workshop. Fabric must not be: polyester/synthetic, stretchable, beaded or otherwise adorned, heavily geometric (no plaid!), quilted, or transparent (no lace, silks, open-weave). This fabric will be used as book cloth for one hardcover book. 
  • 1 sheet (minimum 18”x24”) decorative paper; paper should be malleable but sturdy (lotka, kitakata, sekishu, Thai kozo, mulberry); solid or factory-printed with pattern okay. This paper will be used as cover paper for a second hardcover book.

Dave DiMarchi is a queer, multi-disciplinary artist working in printmaking, papermaking and sculptural book forms. He engages in a relentless material practice, nurturing ideas into singular and editioned works. As a multi-disciplinary artist, he has exhibited works on paper, installations and books in the US and internationally. He maintains a small  collaborative studio and art space in New Hope, Pennsylvania and teaches printmaking, papermaking and book forms extensively throughout the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania area. Since 2012, he has created his own work, curated exhibitions, provided print exchange opportunities, and published fine art prints as 9INHANDPRESS, a fine art printmaking and education studio located in New Hope, Pennsylvania. In Fall of 2022, he was announced as the Arts Council of Princeton’s Anne Reeves Artist-in-Residence which will allow him to continue to explore collage-based multi-media, print and book works.

Saturday 8/5 & Sunday 8/6

During the last two days of the workshop, students will start working on their dummy books for the final project. We will have opportunities to review and share work in class through individual and group critiques and presentations.

Annie Lee-Zimerle is an Assistant Professor & Faculty Director of the Kate Cheney Chappell Center for Book Arts at University of Southern Maine. She is an artist with a background in printmaking, painting and drawing.  Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in museums and galleries and is in numerous private and public collections, including the Dayton Metro Library in Dayton, Ohio, Harold Washington Public Library in Chicago and the Joan Flash Artists’ Book Collection in Chicago, Illinois. She has held solo exhibitions at Springfield Museum of Art, Kent State University, and Paper Circle Southeast Ohio’s Center for Paper and Book Arts, among other locations. She was also featured on The Art Show on PBS.

Questions about the workshop?

Please email Annie Lee-Zimerle, the faculty director of the Summer Book Arts and the Kate Cheney Chappell Center for Book Arts, at

Registration Dates

  • Current USM/UMS students: March 1 & 2
  • Open Registration*: March 3
  • For Information on Registration Click Here

*Registration continues up to the first start date of a course.

Summer 2023 Registration Options:

When registering for undergraduate/graduate academic credit, participants may choose to receive a grade or to audit the course. Auditing means that the participant is enrolled in the course for academic credit but will not receive a grade.

Costs for participation include full workshop participation, undergraduate tuition, university fees, and some course materials. Participation in the September student exhibition and attendance at the September public lecture is required for all those who wish to receive a grade. In order to complete this course for full academic credit, you must design and make an artist’s book inspired in some way by your week in the program.

Undergraduate course code: ART 342 1323

  • Visit Undergraduate Student Financial Services for tuition & fees based on residency: In-State residents, NEBHE residents (NEBHE states include: New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island.), Out-of-state residents.
  • Additional Course fee: $300
  • Payment for summer is due on or before May 13, 2023.

Costs for participation include full workshop participation, graduate tuition, university fees, and some course materials. Participation in the September student exhibition and attendance at the September public lecture is required. In order to complete this course, you must design and make an artist’s book inspired in some way by your week in the program.

  • Graduate Students Only: In addition, you will write a research paper on some aspect of the week-long program.  For instance, you might write about the history of printmaking, or on a particular book artist, binding, and/or Artist’s Books. This will also be due on or before September 6, 2023.

Graduate course code: EPC 582 1415

  • Visit Graduate Student Financial Services for tuition & fees based on residency: In-State residents, NEBHE residents (NEBHE states include: New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island.), Out-of-state residents.
  • Additional Course fee: $300
  • Payment for summer is due on or before May 13, 2023.

Maine residents 65 and older are eligible to apply for a Senior Citizen Tuition Waiver. The Senior Citizen Tuition Waiver covers tuition, unified fee, and the summer administrative fee. Individuals must be a Maine resident, 65 or older, and registered for undergraduate academic credit. Learn more about USM’s Senior Citizen Tuition Waiver.