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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 2

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Judy Major-Girardin


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 430

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27287


Office Hours: Tuesdays 1 - 3 pm term 2

Course Objectives:

This course integrates traditional techniques with contemporary concepts and applications of the artist book. Hand-made, imported and found paper will be utilized in a variety of book formats responding to student-centered concepts. Sustainable practices, collaboration and exchange will be promoted.

Four hours; one term

Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level III or IV Honours Studio Art program



  • Creation of one-of-a-kind, artist books as a format to present artistic concepts
  • Build technical skills in stitching, folding and construction of books
  • Experiment with various papers, formats and media considering environmentally responsible approaches

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Text: How to Make Books by Esther K. Smith

Studio Fees: 

This class has a studio fee of $75 that will provide you with a bookmaking kit containing a cutting matte, matte knife, metal ruler, bone folder, methyl cellulose adhesive, sewing needle, waxed thread, book board & some paper (Mylar, pamphlet papers, accordion book page).

You will need to purchase materials for other book projects including paper, drawing, printing and painting supplies as needed.

Tuition covers instruction, technical and administrative support, equipment, tools, facilities/utility costs, models, visiting artists, and resources such as McMaster Museum of Art, Library.

Method of Assessment:



Project #1 Hamilton Accordion Book (10%) Due January 27

Each student will create a multi-panel accordion book for an observation based drawing session on the 21st floor of Stelco Tower in downtown Hamilton. From this vantage point we will observe a 360-degree view of the city and record it on two sides of a fold out book panel. The project may be further developed with photolithography, drawing or selective colouring. A simple cover will be glued to the first and last pages to create the book. All materials are provided in your book kit.


Project #2 Simple Folded Book (10%) Due January 27

Each student will design a book on two sides of a single large sheet that is folded according to one of three patterns available in your textbook. Choose a high quality piece of paper (Somerset, Arches, Rives BFK or equivalent). The simple folded book design must consider the orientation and layout of the images on each folded section so that they create the desired flow and sequencing once folded. Select a simple theme for this project that may recycle past images, old drawings or prints, photographic material or found images as well as newly generated ideas. Consider concepts related to your individual interests/research and gain folding experience and accuracy using your bone folder through this project. A sewn folded book may substitute for a paper folded book.


Project #3 Upcycled Booklet (10%) Due January 27

This upcycled booklet will be created during an in class workshop with materials provided. This project introduces binding techniques and utilizes a variety of paper options. This will be the only blank book that we will create and you may use it for any purpose you wish or develop it into an animated flip book for bonus marks.


Project #4 Stab Binding Book (30%) Due February 24

This project provides an opportunity for further development of stitching and book construction skills. Choice of stab binding pattern is open but should not repeat the option explored with the Upcycled Booklet. Concepts should respond to individual student research on a topic or theme of their choice. Image production may explore any media related to individual interest/research.


Project #5 Coptic Stitch Book, Modified Book or 3D Book (30%) Due March 24

Concept should be deliberately linked to book format with this project. Consider how your choices (format, binding, construction and materials) can create meaning. This book should present a cohesive idea and a unified visual approach. This project demands an ambitious and complex approach to concept and construction and may utilize one of the following approaches:

            Coptic Stitch Book

            This project introduces more complex approaches to stitching.

            Modified Book

            Select a used book and modify its’ content or form to make it your own.

            You can layer text/image on top of existing pages, remove material, fold or reshape to alter the book. 

            3D Book

            This project utilizes a sculptural or pop up approach that activates space or is interactive.


Participation & Course Engagement (10%)

This course involves demonstration sessions and workshops focused on learning through hands-on engagement and group exchange. Your contributions count. Assessment in this category is based on attendance in class, written notes, sketches, reflections on critiques, practice exercises and engagement in workshops. Attendance at all classes is mandatory. Arriving late or unprepared will impact your grade in this category. Two late arrivals or early departures will count as one missed class. Assessment for this category will be determined through attendance and through the collection of drawings, notes, reflections submitted in your Book Arts folder.



Midterm Grade (Upcycled, Folded, and Accordion Book) 30% due on Jan 27

2nd Assessment (Stab Binding 30% and Choice of 3D, Modified or Coptic Stitch Book 30%)

PARTICIPATION (engagement 10%) Assessed on attendance, participation in workshops, sketches, research and critique reflections.


The following scale of percent equivalences is used for calculating final grades:

A+  = 90-100; A = 85-89; A- = 80-84; B+ = 77-79; B = 73-76; B- = 70-72; C+ = 67-69; C = 63-66; C- = 60-62; D+ = 57-59; D = 53-56; D- = 50-52; F = 0-49

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

There are NO automatic extensions or accommodations.    


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

See Avenue to Learn for links to Book Arts information.

Other Course Information:


ART 3BA3 Calendar


Tuesday, January 6                Course outline PowerPoint presentation

                                                TED Talk on Beatrice Coron (Stories in Cut Paper)

                                                Paper folding demo/introduction to folded books

                                                Construct pages and cover for Hamilton Accordion Book

                                                Demo on paper lithography for photo printing

Homework                              Design/create Folded Book page (front and back)


Tuesday, January 13              Visit to 21st floor Stelco Tower to draw accordion book

                                                Bring accordion page, clipboard, materials and camera

                                                Bring water and a snack

                                                Meet at King Street doors across from AGH at 8:45 sharp

Homework                              Work on accordion book (front, back and cover)

                                                Prepare photos for paper lithography next class.


Tuesday, January 20              Paper lithography printing assistance

                                                In-class construction of Upcycled Booklet and Folded Book and intro to Stab Binding                                                          

                                                Stamping materials available

Homework                              Complete Folded Book and Accordion Book


Tuesday, January 27              Accordion Book, Recycled Booklet  & Folded Book due (30%)

                                                Remember to record critique notes for your Book Arts Folder

Homework                              Work on stab binding book page construction/collection

                                                Record research/theme/concept in your Book Arts folder


Tuesday, February 3              Assistance and work period for Stab Binding Book

                                                Bring all materials and ideas to class

Homework                              Complete Stab Binding Book


Tuesday, February 10             Intro to the Modified Book, Coptic Stitch and 3D book

Homework                              Complete Stab Binding Book

                                                Visit Bookbinding Links (Avenue to Learn) for inspiration              


Tuesday, February 17            Break (no classes)


Tuesday, February 24             Stab Binding Book due (30%)

                                                Remember to record critique notes for your Book Arts Folder

                                                Coptic Stitch demo and practice session

Homework                              Practice Coptic stitching


Tuesday, March 3                  Class period for 3D Book, Modified Book or Coptic Stitch book                                                    

Homework                              Work on Coptic, Modified or 3D Book project


Tuesday, March 10                Coptic, Modified or 3D book work session

Homework                              Work on Coptic, Modified or 3D Book project


Tuesday, March 17                Coptic, 3D Book or Modified Book Review

Homework                              Work on Coptic, Modified or 3D Book


Tuesday, March 24                Coptic, Modified or 3D Book due (30%)

                                                Remember to record research and critique notes           

Homework                              Compile Book Arts Folder                


Tuesday, March 31                Final Showcase for all book projects

                                                Submission of Book Arts folder (10%)


Tuesday, April 7                    Collaborative Book Activity

                                                No work accepted beyond this date

Bonus Mark                           

Transform Upcycled Booklet into an Animated Flip Book or bind your Book Arts notes, drawings, research, etc. into a book format  for up to a 5% optional bonus marks (Due April 7)