The Book Arts Collaborative ("The Book") is a makerspace in downtown Muncie where community members and Ball State students learn about letterpress printing, book binding, and artist's book design and publishing. We offer community workshops in basic book arts skills and classes leading to finished projects. The Book is the physical home of the proposed Ball State University minor in Book Arts and Book Arts Collaborative Press.
Book arts is an engaging, cross-disciplinary field in which we create such objects as hand printed and bound artist's books, letter-pressed greeting cards, broadsides, and other print ephemera.
Book Arts starts with the study of foundations of art (color, texture, structure, etc.) and the history of the book while working toward the realization of student and community participants' own projects and goals. The program encourages students and community members to work together. We provide professional equipment and education, but participants provide the sparks and energy that power communal creativity.
Letterpress is one of the oldest traditional printing techniques. Paper is printed or lightly embossed by inked type, blocks, or plates. Advancements in letterpress allow a wide range of methods for creating images from traditional wood and lead type to 21st Century computer design on polymer plates. The Book Arts Collaborative puts these tools in the hands of makers.
Book binders might create something as simple as an accordion folded page or a hand-sewn, hard-covered book with a leather spine. Like any art, it is open to a wide range of materials and design elements all centered on the basic notion of pages or "leaves" and protective covering material. The Book Arts Collaborative offers lessons on a variety of binding techniques while encouraging creativity so that participants can create artist's books and journals that meet their own needs aesthetically and functionally.
Rai Peterson came to Ball State University in 1981. She teaches American and Modernist literature and bookbinding classes in the Department of English. Her scholarly publications focus on American and British women writers in Paris between the World Wars, but she frequently returns to the topic of her doctoral dissertation, E. E. Cummings. Rai held the H.D. Fellowship in American literature at the Beinecke Library, Yale University. She is working on a book-length biography of Solita Solano. Her previous immersive seminars have focused on Paris in the 1920s and Hoosier author Kurt Vonnegut.