Monthly Archives: July 2012

Summer Teacher Institute at NMWA, Washington, DC

It was a busy day at the National Museum of Women in the Arts on Wednesday as I worked with 22 area teachers participating in a week-long summer institute on arts in education. The teachers constructed sample pop-ups and landscape books, and we discussed ideas for how these could be integrated into classroom lesson plans. Even those who were not art teachers embraced the projects and created very imaginative works of paper engineering, as can be seen in the photos here. I’m always happy when these techniques are passed on to students in our schools.

Wells College, Summer Book Arts Institute

The lovely Wells College campus is nestled along the longest digit of New York’s finger lakes, Lake Cayuga in the town of Aurora, New York. During the summer, this liberal arts college is the site of a top-notch book arts program featuring classes in binding, letterpress, calligraphy and type design. This past week I enjoyed  teaching a concentrated session in paper engineering to a class of six wonderful students. We explored various techniques and bindings for pop-ups, carousel books, and tunnel books.

One of the best things about the summer program is the interaction between students, student interns and instructors. Incredible meals and evening gatherings in the dorm led to a delightful camaraderie between all participants, and when one of the students pied (dropped) a case of 14 point type (Gil Sans), everyone pitched in to re-sort it. (Instructor Sarah Bryant is shown dramatizing the moment, but she didn’t drop the case….)

Australian Teaching Highlights

My long 26-hour plane flight from Washington, D.C., to Sydney was rewarded by a wonderful home visit with Jill Elias and an animated 3-day class working with the Primrose Paper Arts Group. This collective of paper artists meets in an expansive studio in Primrose Park. I taught a three-day session: the first day on paper engineering, the second day on carousel books, and the third day an open workshop where I gave individual help to students completing their projects. The group’s love of all things related to paper was clearly evident in their work.

After the class, I stayed with another Primrose member, Dinah Beeston, who lives in North Sydney. She graciously served as my tour guide for the next five days, during which time we visited such Sydney attractions as the Opera House, the Library of New South Wales, the Botanic Gardens, and the Zoo where Dinah works as a volunteer. Seeing those incredible Australian critters was a highlight!

From Sydney I flew north along the Australian eastern coastline to Rockhampton, Queensland, where I taught a five-day workshop at the Wrapt in Rockie Textile Forum. Held at the Rockhampton Girls Grammar School, the Forum included classes in felting, leatherwork, encaustic, waterless lithography, art fashion design, a traveler’s blanket, Photoshop, and my paper engineering class. My students perfected their designs of basic pop-up forms along with a carousel book


A big surprise came during the final party, when the women from Townsville dressed up (or down, rather) in wraps painted with their nude alter egos. What an uplifting, fun, and generous spirit these women have.