Book Arts 101

Institution: Carleton University (MacOdrum Library 234 E)
Category: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Language: English

Course Description

Spend a week in the Book Arts Lab immersed in bookbinding, letterpress printing, paper-making and paper decorating, block printing and calligraphic mark-making, using traditional techniques to create book arts with a modern spin. These are hands-on workshops that focus on the creative ""journey"" taken through reflection and discussion, allowing you to experience first hand how the old book trades can influence and transform our view of the present and the future. In addition to this, you will gain direct access to MacOdrum Library's Special Collections and Archives, with permission to touch manuscripts and books that are well over 500 years old. Our extensive map collection will be open to you, and you will be treated to a detailed guided tour of the Library, its stacks and the many services it provides.

What is the Book Arts Lab?
The MacOdrum Library Book Arts Lab is a dedicated experiential learning space located in the heart of Carleton University’s main library. Its purpose is to enhance the teaching and learning experience of students from all disciplines by introducing them to the book arts and sciences in a practical, “hand-on” manner. The book arts include bookbinding, letterpress printing, calligraphy, paper making and paper decorating, wood cut relief printing, ink making, quill cutting and more. The goal is to allow students to reflect on these antique book building processes, and to spark synthesis illuminating new approaches to contemporary issues and intellectual inquiry. 

What are the Books Arts?
The Book Arts refer to those crafts, trades, philosophies and ideals that relate to the notion of the book. They span the depth and breadth of human civilization and therefore research in the subject touches on most fields, including art, history, art history, literature, the sciences, engineering, architecture, industrial design, library sciences and more. Book Arts include the physical aspects of the book, its structure, purpose, aesthetics and style, the appearance and message of the text itself, with an emphasis on how all elements of the book create an intellectual and holistic picture of a book’s meaning.