Columbia College Chicago


The Center for Book & Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago offers classes to the community at large, designed for those who wish to study book arts in a non-degree seeking program. Most classes require some experience.  Our community class instructors are working professionals in various book arts related fields and come from all over the country. All community classes are held at the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, 1104 South Wabash, 2nd floor, Chicago, IL 60605.

General workshop and registration information

Cancellation Policy

Picture of Letterpress Ink
Student in the DarkroomPicture of Letterpress Student
Photography © John Boehme


A Homecoming for Julia: Language and Labor

Exhibition-Related Workshop
In association with Social Paper: Hand Papermaking in the Context of Socially Engaged Art

Monday, February 17 | 10am-2pm | studio production / dialogue (after that paper will be drying)
Tuesday, February 18 | noon – 1pm | processional to garden & placement of flowers
Instructors: Laura Anderson Barbata with Jillian Bruschera (MFA ’14)
Cost: $75 (community members / free to Interarts students)
Enrollment capacity: 8 students / 4 community members
Registration: call 312.369.6630 or email

An opportunity for participants to engage in an internationally-renowned contemporary art project, this paper and social practice workshop employs a combination of collaborative discussion, design and hand papermaking techniques to address language in the media, oppression, objectification in society from the 19th century to present. Led by artist Laura Anderson Barbata as an extension of her socially engaged, multi-faceted art project to repatriate Julia Pastrana (see project description) exactly one year ago, participants will use the following techniques to create new language collages out of existing language in the paper studio: laminations, stencils, watermarks and shaped-sheets. A focus will be on graphics, spatial design and conceptual re-appropriation of language. 

The collages will collectively be taken as flags and placed into the Papermaker's Garden for one day in tribute to the memory of Julia Pastrana. Synthesizing studio works into public art via a  performative processional, the flags in the Papermaker's Garden will exist in public space alongside a commemorative sign that explains the piece to the public. With the flags as symbols of remembrance, we do not bury the past but remember it to inform our present day speech and practice.  We have control over how we see it, analyze it, process it and transform it into the path that leads to a future informed by a new lens, empowered and critical.  

Students should bring to class cut pieces from newpapers, internet websites and other forms of media or printed matter that represent problematic use of language towards women, minorities and indigenous individuals. Readings will be sent to students in advance

Project Description & Background: A Homecoming for Julia 

Born in 1834 in Sinaloa, Mexico, Julia Pastrana suffered from hypertrichosis lanuguinosa and gingival hyperplasia, causing her face and body to be covered with thick hair and made her jaw disproportionately large. While at a young age she was sold and exhibited as “The Ugliest Woman in the World,” she was a gifted singer, guitar player and dancer who performed in English, Spanish and French. Julia married her manager and at the age of 26 died in childbirth. After her death in 1860, her husband continued to exhibit Julia and her baby, now in an embalmed state, extensively throughout Europe and the United States for over 100 years. In 1988 she was found in the basement of the University of Oslo and later integrated into the Schreiner Collection, Norway.

Since learning of this story ten years ago, Laura Anderson Barbata felt it was her duty as an artist working in the social realm to see her removed from the Schreiner Collection in Oslo and returned to Mexico, in order to recover her dignity and occupy her rightful place in history and collective memory.  In February 2013, after ten years of Anderson Barbata’s efforts, Julia Pastrana was repatriated from Oslo to Mexico and buried in her birth state of Sinaloa following the traditions of the religion she practiced in life.  Anderson Barbata’s burial of Julia Pastrana[1] was more than a religious ceremony, it was an event that encompassed art, memory, politics, science, justice, the law and most importantly: human dignity. She was buried with thousands of white flowers that were sent from around the world to welcome her and give her life closure.  Ultimately, this collective collaborative work engaged transdisciplinary collaborations to inform the practice of art. It demonstrated what can be achieved through dialog by extending and building bridges of cooperation among diverse fields and disciplines  to achieve a common objective.  Her return represents the recognition of a person’s humanity, of her place as an artist, and of her dignity.

DIY Paper "Drop in" Workshops with The People's Library 

Thursday March 13 | 5:00 P.M. -8:00 P.M. | Center for Book & Paper Arts, 1104 South Wabash, 2nd Floor
Friday, March 14|  10:00 A.M. -1:00 P.M. | Columbia College Chicago Library, 624 South Michigan Avenue
Cost: Free and Open to the Public

The Center for Book and Paper Arts is pleased to host visiting artists The People's Library for participatory workshops and an artist's talk, to co-incide with the Chicago Zine Fest. Their work is on view in the current exhibition Social Paper. Join artists of The People's Library and learn how to create paper out of discarded books, while discussing the importance of local histories and participatory culture.  In conjunction with the Columbia College Chicago Library on the occasion of Social Paper

About The People's Library
The People's Library is a Richmond, Virginia-based ongoing collaborative project featuring libraries designed, built and authored by community members. The project transforms and re-purposes discarded books into blank canvasses for the production and exchange of local histories. At the Main Branch of the Richmond Public Library, a thousand blank books are being created for anyone in the community to check out, bring home, fill with their histories and bring back to the library to be included in the permanent collection. The resulting installation includes a thousand micro-monuments, becomes the real and symbolic meeting place for alienated publics, and offers sustainable, collective and critical alternatives for the form and function of public art. The project reflects the histories, needs, desires of local residents, and re-interprets public institutions as a space for production, meditation, and alternative education.Individuals in youth programs at each library have co-facilitated dozens of workshops. At each workshop, which are free and open to the public, participants complete various tasks, engage in conversation and learn functional creative skills.


Images in Pulp

Instructor: Amy Jacobs
Friday, January 17, 10:00-4:00 and Saturday, January 18, 10:00-4:00
Cost: $195 (Columbia College Alumni + Faculty $175) | Limit 10
Registration Deadline: December 13
To register: 312.369.6630

Participants will investigate various ways of producing imagery using a wide range of advanced papermaking techniques. Stenciling using pigmented linen pulps as paint, unique applications of simple contemporary watermarks, and creating blowouts from an object’s silhouette will all be explored in this two-day action packed workshop. Linen rag, cotton and abaca fibers will be available, and Amy will bring samples of work made at Dieu Donné for inspiration.

Please bring simple images and line drawings to trace for stencils, watermarks and blowouts. Other objects can be used for blowouts as long as they can withstand moisture and are flat on one side. A list of recommended materials will be sent out to participants.

Amy Jacobs, Evidence Light; Memento; Evidence Dark

Amy Jacobs is currently the Studio Collaborator and Education Manager at Dieu Donné Papermill in New York City where she has collaborated with many artists including Ann Hamilton, Do Ho Suh, and James Siena. She attended the Penland School of Crafts two-year Core Fellowship Program in North Carolina before attending Columbia College Chicago where she received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts. She has taught workshops and classes at a number of institutions including the University of Georgia Studies Abroad Program in Cortona, Italy, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, the University of Louisville, Longwood University, East Carolina University, Asheville Bookworks, Penland School of Crafts, Ox-Bow School of the Arts, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, The Printmaking Center of New Jersey and at Chateau du Pin in Angers, France. Her work is exhibited nationally and internationally.

Vandercook Maintenance

Instructor: Paul Moxon
Dates: Saturday, September 28, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 29, 12:30–4:30 p.m.
Cost: $175 | Limit 14 students
Register: 312.369.6630 | REGISTRATION DEADLINE: September 6

Participants will learn all the points of maintenance, cleaning and lubrication; be informed of common problems that may arise and suggested strategies for repairs. We will also discuss all models of interest and other brands as warranted. Whether you use a shared press, own one, or are planning to buy, this workshop will provide excellent direction for your future presswork. Bring your questions, photos and/or broken parts. Paul will also share examples from his collection of Vandercook literature.


Paul Moxon is author of Vandercook Presses: Maintenance, History and Resources and moderator of He prints and publishing as Fameorshame Press, is website editor in chief for the American Printing History Association and is a 2013 recipient of an Arthur and Lila Weinberg Fellowship for Independent Scholars and Researchers at the Newberry Library.

Related Lecture: Wingin' It: Paul Moxon on Exploring the Archive | September 30, 6:00 p.m.

Cancellation Policy

Full payment is required with registration and is processed immediately. Fees will be refunded if the class does not meet its minimum enrollment. If you cancel ten days or more before your class begins, we will charge a $20 cancellation fee. If you cancel less than ten days before the class begins we will keep half of your fee and return the other half. Refunds will be processed approximately three weeks after cancellation. No-shows will not receive any refund. All fees are non-transferable. There will be a $20 fee for all returned checks and declined credit cards. After your class, if you are unable to pick up your artwork, you may have the Center mail you your work for a $10 shipping and handling fee. The Columbia College Center for Book & Paper Arts happily accepts Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Discover, personal checks, money orders, traveler’s checks and cash. Please do not send cash through the mail.

Gallery Hours

Due to building renovations, the Center for Book and Paper Arts gallery, studio and facilities are closed. We will reopen in August 2014 for Fall semester classes, exhibitions and public programs.



Due to building renovations, the Center for Book and Paper Arts gallery, studio and facilities are closed. We will reopen in August 2014 for Fall semester classes, exhibitions and public programs.

View Spring 2014 
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