Kayla Larson's (illustration major) Book as Object project
Kayla Larson's (illustration major) Book as Object project

In addition to the many hyper-major-specific courses offered at MCAD, there are also several classes that appeal to a wide range of disciplines.

Not only are these classes taught at an easy-to-jump-in level, they also help students incorporate mediums and ideas in their artistic practice that they might not have otherwise. A great example of a class like this is Artists’ Books. Taught by Jody Williams this past semester, the class is made up of a variety of majors such as comics, drawing and painting, graphic design, photography, and several others. In short, Artists’ Books is a great fit for anyone at MCAD looking for a studio elective with hands-on learning, some guided projects early on, and free reign to explore your own subject matter later in the semester.

Ben Merritt (middle), Print Paper Book major, discussing his Book as Object project with professor Jody Williams (far right)

Jody Williams is a great professor with a genuine love for bookmaking and teaching others to make books. She is very receptive to questions and ideas from students, and she’s always willing to help a student figure out a new technique that wasn’t covered in class. The class teaches a variety of binding techniques, like long stitch and Coptic binding. There's even an assignment where you can push the idea of “book” as far as you want, even as far as encasing premade books in concrete or simply making your own fancy box!

On critique day for our Book as Object assignment, we were tasked with “creating a sculptural book, or a book with a container, focusing on the initial impact and presence of the piece.” The work that resulted from this prompt really spoke to the individual disciplines in the class, and it was a lot of fun to see all the subtle, crazy, cute, beautiful, and thought-provoking pieces that my classmates created.

Book as Object by Alia Jin, graphic design major 

Book as Object by Ben Merritt, print paper book major 

Book as Object by Jessica Radanavong, photography major

Detail of Jessica's Book as Object 

Rachelle Horowitz telling the class about her piece

Emilee Lund's (illustration major) Book as Object 

Critique days in the Artists' Books class are usually pretty leisurely, with lots of time spent looking at each other's books and talking about their forms and content amongst the class. Because of everyone's different backgrounds, you can get a lot of good feedback and constructive criticism from classmates, especially if you have specific questions or concerns about your piece. Everyone is willing to help each other, especially Jody, so any assistance you might need isn't far away in this class! 

Book as Object by Ally Lasser, comic art major 

Inside Ally's Book as Object box 

Ally Lasser interacting with Ari Mulch's (comic art major) Book as Object project

Joel Thune's (illustration major) Book as Object 

Inside Joel's Book as Object project

Book as Object by Bell 

Book as Object project by Cecily Bohmann

Book as Object by Annika Linde

Book as Object by Sam Larom, drawing and painting major 

Annika Linde perusing Sam Larom's Book as Object 

Ben Merrit examining Dennis Lenihan's Book as Object 

Tiantian Li's (graphic design major) Book as Object

Kayla Larson's (illustration major) Book as Object project 

The best part about this class is the sense of community. It is really nice being a part of a small group of people that are here to make, talk, and breathe books, even if books aren't a huge part of our regular artwork practice. Under the guidance of Jody, my classmates and I have developed finer skills in bookmaking and deciding what should and what should not be made into a book. With a whole semester of bookmaking knowledge, appreciation, and fun under our belts, I have no doubt that most of us will continue to think like bookmakers throughout our artistic careers.