A course in Book Arts is one of my favorites. It is an opportunity to get off the computer and work with beautiful textures and materials to make something magical. It is hard to look at a book and imagine how it is constructed, and the passing on of techniques that have been around for centuries gives students a connection to history and craft. We always incorporate a visit to the Carnegie-Mellon Library Rare Book Room to see artists books, but also the very first printed books from the 1400s. These skills become useful for fabricating three-dimensional components for museum and exhibit work as well.
Construction and fabrication principles from bookbinding translate well into other three-dimensional projects, such as exhibit design. This one was a $20,000 grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council to create a traveling exhibit that needed to be put up by different groups each time and pack into a minivan. It's successor is traveling the state this year for West Virginia's sesquicentennial.