Summer Institute 2022. Register Now!

Week One, July 11-15, 2022

Marbling on Paper and Silk with Stephen Pittelkow
Great class for beginners!
Marbling is a unique method for making beautiful decorative paper. Water-based colors are dropped onto a liquid bath, combed into geometric or fantasy patterns and then printed on paper. Students will learn all the elements of this historic craft and will gain experience with over 30 patterns as well as in-depth knowledge of materials and color. We will also fill the really big tank and marble silk scarves. The results are always stunning and experimentation is encouraged. Please note this class has a $75 materials fee.

Steve has been marbling for nearly 40 years. Steve’s interest in marbling stems from a long time interest in book binding. His papers are known for bright colors and precise patterns. Steve has taught previously at the Wells College Summer Institute, the Morgan Conservatory, Cleveland, the Penland School of Craft, the Metropolitan Museum, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and many other book arts centers and colleges and universities as well as locations in Europe. His papers appear in many collections and are frequently used by book artists. Steve especially enjoys teaching the magic of marbling to students of all ages.

Tooling on Leather with Samuel Feinstein
During this week-long class on leather and book decoration, students will learn the fundamentals of tooling on leather in blind, with gold leaf utilizing home-made shellac glaire, and with different color pigment foils, as well as an incised leather technique and adding color that can be either subtle or really pop. The primary focus will be on line-work, one of the most important and versatile design elements that can be used in everything from traditional to contemporary designs. Students will also have time to use the tools in the Wells collection, branching out into other tooled decoration, and culminating in a final, completed, leather plaquette with the techniques covered.

This is an introduction for beginners as well as a step forward for those who would like to build on their existing knowledge.  The goal of this workshop is to familiarize you with the processes involved and prepare you for further practice. Please note this class has a $175 kit fee to be paid to the instructor.

Samuel Feinstein trained formally at the North Bennet Street School program under Jeff Altepeter and Martha Kearsley. Since graduating in 2012 he has been in private practice specializing in fine and design bindings, luxury clamshell boxes, new bindings in period style, and gold finishing for other binders.  His work can be seen on his website:  

Western Papermaking with Tom Balbo

Western Papermaking with Tom Balbo
Paper is something many of us take for granted, but learning to make paper brings about an entirely new understanding of its vast artistic possibilities. This course will focus on western production techniques using different fibers including cotton, abaca and flax. Pulp painting and deckle box techniques will also be explored. Tom describes this class as a sharing of knowledge from his forty years of papermaking on both a production level and artistic level. Students will leave with lots of hand-made paper. Please note this class has a $80 kit fee to be paid to the instructor.

Tom Balbo is the founder and artistic director of the Morgan Conservatory. He is a Cleveland-based artist whose work has been collected for well over 30 years. Graduating from Baldwin-Wallace College with a BA in 1977, he completed his MFA in Studio Arts at Syracuse University in 1980 where he was awarded a Syracuse University Fellowship Grant and a Ford Foundation Grant. In 2007, Tom teamed up with noted Cleveland-area artists and national hand papermaking artists to improve and conserve the art of paper & book arts educational programming in the US. Knowing that these were art forms worth preserving, the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and Educational Foundation officially opened its doors in October 2008.

Woodblock on the Letterpress with Heather O’Hara
Great class for beginners!
Woodblock printing is a simple, expressive, and versatile medium. In this week long intensive, we will examine different strategies for creating multi-color relief prints. The course will cover all aspects of designing, carving, and printing wood blocks, with a focus on using the letterpress to create consistent editions. Participants will learn to prepare blocks for relief printing, to create designs for multicolor prints, to use and care for carving tools, and to print using Vandercook proof presses. Each participant will design and print a two-color edition with the opportunity to add additional color blocks or to complete a second edition as time allows. We will also organize an in-class print exchange with a typeset colophon and folded paper portfolio cover. At the end of the week, each participant will take home a completed personal edition as well as the class exchange portfolio. Please note this class has a $100 materials fee.

Heather O’Hara is the owner of Burdock & Bramble, creating original block print greeting cards that can be found at independent retailers across the US. Before starting Burdock & Bramble in 2014, Heather was the head printer for Plunger Press. Heather has taught printmaking and book arts classes for over twenty years, including two years as the Intro Bookbinding instructor at Wells College. She has been a resident at the Roswell Artist in Residence program and at Women’s Studio Workshop. Heather studied at Carleton College and holds an MFA in printmaking from Cornell University. See

Week Two, July 18-22, 2022

A Printer’s Palaeography with Jesse Marsolais
Before the invention of letterpress printing, all books were written out by hand in script styles unique to the locations in which they were made. To sell their books to a reading public accustomed to these scripts, early printers followed Gutenberg’s example of designing typefaces that simulated calligraphy, first the Gothic blackletter and later the romans and italics popular in Renaissance Italy. Many of the typefaces to be found in traditional letterpress printshops carry that calligraphic influence into the present day, but even the most carefully designed typeface can only approximate the expressive freedom found in letters made by the human hand.

Using the typefaces in the Wells printshop as our points of departure, students will explore the calligraphic prehistory of letterpress printing. We will cover a range of historical scripts and the tools that made them, from hand-cut reed- and quill pens used in manuscripts to the flat brush at monumental scale.

After graduating with a BA in creative writing from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, Jesse Marsolais began a six-year hot-metal apprenticeship under John Kristensen at Firefly Press, Boston. Later he received a grant to study lettercarving in stone with Nicholas Benson at the John Stevens Shop. Since 2013, Jesse has been the proprietor of Marsolais Press & Lettercarving, a commission-based workshop offering traditional letterpress printing and hand-carved lettering in stone and wood. He also teaches book arts at Yale University and is the Printer at the Jonathan Edwards College Press. See

Box Making: Exploring Shapes with Stephen Pittelkow
Spend a week making three or more boxes of various shapes and sizes. Armed with compass and ruler, explore shapes beyond square. From one-piece pyramids to lantern shapes and hexagons and others, we’ll make boxes that are as useful as they are beautiful—all with embellishments you design. A little geometry, some careful measuring, and a bit of glue and a beautiful box is ready to store your treasures. Let’s make unusual boxes.

Steve has been marbling for nearly 40 years. Steve’s interest in marbling stems from a long time interest in book binding. His papers are known for bright colors and precise patterns. Steve has taught previously at the Wells College Summer Institute, the Morgan Conservatory, Cleveland, the Penland School of Craft, the Metropolitan Museum, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and many other book arts centers and colleges and universities as well as locations in Europe. His papers appear in many collections and are frequently used by book artists. Steve especially enjoys teaching the magic of marbling to students of all ages.

Stereoscopic Photography – Building on a Victorian Invention with Diego Ruiz
Since The Victorian Era, stereoscopy has been used as a tool to document the world around us in 3D. In this hands-on photography course, we will examine 19th century 3D images and viewing devices and uncover their power to mimic natural human sight.

Participants will craft artistic 3D imagery and explore factors specific to the 3D realm, including composition and mechanical execution, to create high end results.

A mix of classroom and computer lab time will prepare us for outdoor photo walks. Images will be processed in specialty software and printed for review. Students will leave with stereo cards of their finest work and several stereo viewing devices.

Participants should have basic familiarity with their own camera. A DSLR camera is ideal but mirrorless or any camera with the ability to shoot in manual mode will work. A limited number of DSLR cameras will be on hand for those who wish to reserve one.

Detailed information at

Diego Ruiz lives in Interlaken, New York and is a creator of 3D books and imagery, apostle of the trade, and curator of obscure stereoscopic knowledge of the19th century. His work has received recognition from the National Stereoscopic Association, International Stereoscopic Union, and the Photographic Society of America.

A background in Electronics and a working knowledge of materials and mechanics has served him well in developing systems to advance his stereoscopic photography techniques.

Extensive 3D shooting under challenging and varied conditions across the United States has made Diego a resource for practical knowledge in the Stereoscopic field.

The Joy of Making your own Journal from Beginning to End with Sonja Rossow
Great class for beginners!
Immerse yourself in an intensive workshop of papermaking and journal binding. This class is geared towards anyone who has been interested in learning basic papermaking and a very approachable book binding structure. We will cover basics of Western style papermaking techniques using cotton linters and old t-shirts. Including pulp processing, sheet forming and drying of paper. After the paper has dried, we will use it make a journal,  learning a binding technique that is not only functional but pretty.

Sonja Rossow is the proprietor of At Some Point Press, LLC doing business as Greentree Book and Paper, a book repair, custom book and  letterpress studio in Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment, an historic cotton mill located in Huntsville, Alabama. She received her BS from the University of Louisville, BSE from Minot State University and MFA in Book Arts from The University of Alabama. See

Additional Information


All classes will be held on the picturesque campus of Wells College, 170 Main Street, Aurora, New York 13026. Wells College is located on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. The area is well known for its natural beauty, lakes, waterfalls, charming small villages, farms and wineries. The Wells College Book Arts Center is located in Morgan Hall, and houses one of the finest teaching collections of book arts equipment in the country.


Participants staying on campus should plan to arrive on Sunday afternoon between 4:00 and 6:00 pm. Dinner for those who have purchased all meals will be at 7 pm. Those not staying on campus should plan to arrive Monday morning in time for class. Classes run Monday though Friday, 9 am to noon and 1:30 to 4:30 or 5:00 pm. Departure is the following Saturday morning by 10 am. Participants will receive an introduction letter from their instructor before the course begins giving instructions.  


Tuition for one week is $1000. Participants may register for one class only per week. Please consult the sections below on accommodations, meals, airport shuttles and course supplies.


On-campus dormitory accommodations are in private rooms with a shared bath at $400 for the six nights. The cost includes all linens and internet access via campus WIFI. Still, participants should consider bringing a comfortable pillow, and those who are driving may benefit from bringing an electric fan. Off-campus lodging options include The Inns of Aurora, bed and breakfasts and major hotel chains 20–40 minutes from campus. Please note that Verizon has the strongest cell phone signal on campus, and other carriers my be spotty.


We regret to say that the Book Arts Center is not currently handicapped accessible, although the dormitory is. Please contact us if you think this would prevent your participation.


Wells College is currently requiring masks to be worn on campus. Should the campus policy change, your instructor still has the right to require participants to wear a mask while in their class. Wells College reserves the right to test any or all visitors at any time, and to quarantine anyone who tests positive for covid. Please help us keep everyone safe!


Participants are encouraged to eat on campus to enjoy the fellowship of communal meals. Three options are available: breakfast, lunch and dinner; lunch only; or eating off-campus. We will have a vegetarian choice at every meal. A continental breakfast will be served Saturday morning before departure.


We are pleased to be able to offer a limited number of scholarships to participants, with preference being given to current and recent Wells students. Applicants should send a letter of interest and two letters of support to Robert LoMascolo, Summer Institute Coordinator by April 20th, 2022. Email or mail to Wells College Book Arts Center, Attn: Robert LoMascolo, 170 Main Street, Aurora, New York 13026. Applicants should include if they have any prior art and/or book art experiences (no experience is necessary), reason for interest in the institute and the courses they are most interested in attending. Students should include where they are going to school and what year/class they are in.


The Institute offers four internships to college and graduate participants in the book arts, with preference being given to current and recent Wells students. Although these are non-paying internships, each intern will be able to participate in two courses while assisting instructors and other participants. Applicants should send a letter of interest which includes their prior art and/or book art experiences, reason for interest in the internship, and at least one letter of reference to Robert LoMascolo, Summer Institute Coordinator by April 20th, 2022. Email or mail to Wells College Book Arts Center, Attn: Robert LoMascolo, 170 Main Street, Aurora, New York 13026. Please note this internship can be used towards the Wells book arts major and minor.


We are working hard to provide as much as possible without raising prices, but participants may be required to bring certain tools or supplies, pay a materials fee, or purchase a kit from their instructor. Instructors will provide a list of required and recommended tools and supplies. Participants will be responsible for purchasing their own supplies when stipulated. If there is a material fee for your course, it is listed in the course description.


There will be a one-time pick-up and drop-off at Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport for $60. A Wells van will pick up participants at Hancock airport at 3:30 pm on Sunday afternoon; the van will drop participants off at the airport by 10 am the following Saturday morning. The drive from Aurora to Hancock Airport is approximately one hour and fifteen minutes; remember to allow at least an hour to get checked in and through airport security.


We encourage early registration since our courses are limited to 8–12 participants. The $100 portion of your registration is a non-refundable deposit and is due at registration. If you wish to pay only the deposit portion of your registration now, you must do so by registering using the mail-in registration form below. The remaining tuition and any fees are due by June 25th, 2022. If you pay on-line, you will be charged the full cost upfront.


You may cancel your registration until June 15th and receive a refund minus the non-refundable $100 deposit. After that date, there will be no refunds. Should we need to cancel a course for any reason, you will be notified and offered another class or a full refund. We cannot be responsible for non-refundable airline tickets or any other costs.


Contact Robert LoMascolo, Summer Institute Coordinator. Email is the best way, or leave a message at 315-364-2961 and your call will be returned.


You may register and pay by mail, or online by credit card.

Click here to register online!

If you wish to register by mail, please download and fill out the form below.

Summer Institute 2022 Lineup

We are thrilled to announce our classes for this summer!
Full class descriptions and registration instructions coming soon.

Week One will be July 11-15, 2022

Marbling on Paper and Silk with Stephen Pittelkow

Tooling on Leather with Samuel Feinstein

Western Papermaking with Tom Balbo

Woodblock on the Letterpress with Heather O’Hara

Week Two will be July 18-22, 2022

A Printer’s Palaeography (a class on Letterpress and Calligraphy) with Jesse Marsolais

Box Making: Exploring Shapes with Stephen Pittelkow

Stereoscopic Photography – Building on a Victorian Invention with Diego Ruiz

The Joy of Making your own Journal from Beginning to End with Sonja Rossow

2022 Summer Institute!

The Wells College Book Arts Summer Institute is back for 2022! We are pleased to announce that we will be holding classes the weeks of July 10th and 17th.

This year we will be bringing back a few of your favorite instructors, and maybe a few new faces too. Week-long classes will be open to everyone from the total beginner to the experienced artist. Topics from hand bookbinding to letterpress printing and more will be taught at our exceptional book arts center on the picturesque Wells campus.

We will be announcing more details soon! Questions or comments may be directed to

49th Susan Garretson Swartzburg ’60 Memorial Book Arts Lecturers: Erin Zona and Lauren V. Walling ’97 from Women’s Studio Workshop

We are thrilled to present, as a virtual event, the 49th Susan Garretson Swartzburg ’60 Memorial Book Arts Lecture Cracking Open the Universe: Women’s Studio Workshop Since 1974 delivered by Women’s Studio Workshop’s Artistic Director Erin Zona and Executive Director Lauren V. Walling ’97.

UPDATE: Enjoy a recording of the lecture here via YouTube.

Learn more here.

CANCELED: Summer Institute 2020

With a heavy heart, but out of concern for safety and well-being, I must announce the decision to cancel the Summer Institute 2020 program. Please refer to the Updates on COVID-19 for the Campus Community page for information regarding how Wells College is dealing with this on-going situation.

Please be in touch with any questions.
Wishing health and safety to you and yours,
Leah Mackin

Summer Institute 2020

We are pleased to announce Summer Institute 2020! Join us for our annual program offering week-long intensive courses in letterpress printing, hand bookbinding, artists’ books, lettering and paper arts taught by some of the foremost book artists working today.

Week 1 — July 12 – 18, 2020
• Writing & Setting the Times – Tia Blassingame and Tonya Foster
• All New Alphabets – Clare Jones
• Macrostructures of Punctuation: Bookbinding for the Self-publisher – Woody Leslie
• Reduction Introduction: Reduction Woodcuts on the Vandercook Press – Val Lucas
• Poured and Shaped Paper: Large Sheet Formation – Heather Peters
• Books in a Box – Jenna Rodriguez

Week 2 — July 19 – 25, 2020
• Typecasting and Monotype Composition – Michael & Winifred Bixler / The Bixler Press & Letterfoundry
• Vegetable Papyrus: making sheets and ornamental sculpted objects
 – Tracey Cockrell
• Single Sheet Books: Imposing, Printing, Editioning 
– Amanda D’Amico
• Leather Binding Fundamentals
 – Karen Hanmer
• Light, Paper, Print: Experimental Photographs from the Natural World
 – Nick Marshall
• Vandercook Week: Maintenance and Presswork 
– Paul Moxon

Course Descriptions and Faculty Information can be found here. Register online here.

“A Bookbinder’s Journey: My analog and virtual life in the book arts” / Lecture by Peter D. Verheyen

Video recording of the lecture, A Bookbinder’s Journey: My analog and virtual life in the book arts,
at Wells College on October 17, 2019

On October 17, 2019, the Wells College Book Arts Center hosted the 48th Susan Garretson Swartzburg ’60 Memorial Book Arts Lecture. Peter D. Verheyen spoke about his career as a bookbinder, conservator and academic librarian. Along with examples of his work, he discussed the materials and techniques he uses to craft his bindings, with selections of his bindings for attendees to explore. He also discussed his 25 years of building online book arts communities, and a recent project which ties together the many threads of his long and accomplished career.

Slides with notes are available here.

Matter & Spirit—April 26, 2019

Matter & Spirit 2019
A Celebration of Poetry and Printing at Wells College
Friday, April 26, 2019, 1-4PM
Free & Open to the Public
Light refreshments provided

• 1:00-2:00 PM Readings in Sommer Center
• 1:00 PM – Book release and reading from the Advanced Poetry Writing class’s newly-published chapbook
• 1:30 PM -​ Broadside release and reading of the poem “Traveling with Spring” by Donn Vickers. Broadside produced by Wells College students who received the inaugural Wells Book Arts Broadside Award

• 2:00-4:00PM Open House in Morgan Hall​
– Open printing workshop with artist-in-residence Katherine Taylor from Nova Scotia.
– Papermaking demonstrations
– Wells College Press Pop-Up Shop with posters, books, cards and more!

2019 Chapbook Contest Winner

Wells College Press is very pleased to announce that the winner of our 2019 Chapbook Contest is James D’Agostinofor his manuscript, Play Attention. His prize includes 10 copies of the letterpress-printed chapbook. He will also read at Wells College in Aurora, NY and receive a $1,000 honorarium plus room and board. In the tradition of the Wells College Press, his chapbook will be crafted obsessively, with hand-set title pages and hand-sewn bindings. It will be published in an edition of 150 signed and numbered copies.

James D’Agostino is the author of Nude With Anything (New Issues Press), Slur Oeuvre, which won the Diagram/New Michigan Prize, and Weathermanic, winner of the CutBank Chapbook Contest. His poems have appeared in Conduit, Forklift Ohio, TriQuarterly, Denver Quarterly, Rattle (Poets Respond), Third Coast, and elsewhere. He lives in Iowa City, Iowa with his wife, the poet and book artist, Karen Carcia. 

This year’s finalists are:
The Clearing by Lisa Hiton
granulated sugar poured slow from a bucket onto snow by Rusty Morrison
Hart & Sword by Christopher Nelson
Litany of Flights by Laura Hogan
The Relentless Pursuit of Good Enough by James Ellenberger

This year’s semifinialists are:
Home and Other Centos by Trevor Ketner
Rain Shadow by William Cordeiro
Red Motel by Christopher Nelson
Siberian by Jill Osier
Speyerby Lisa Hiton

This year also marks the second Bennett Prize, given to a single outstanding poem from among the finalist manuscripts. The winner is “Hallucination with Four Fathers” by Christopher Nelson, which will appear in a limited-edition broadside in Fall 2019. This prize is named in honor of Bruce Bennett, Professor Emeritus of English and former Director of the Book Arts Center at Wells College.

The readers and final judge were overwhelmed by the beautiful range and ambition of submissions this year, as well as the sheer volume. Ultimately, James D’Agostino’s Play Attention won us over with its loving attention to the surface of language, its efforts at not just naming the world but experiencing it through language anew. One reader responded by praising its “incredible sharpness” and “the attention not just to sound play between words but to the connotations of the sounds of words themselves.” The contest judge, Dan Rosenberg, agreed, noting that within the gorgeous play of language in this manuscript he found “love and despair filtered through a palpable sky.” We are thrilled to be publishing this outstanding collection of poems.

Amos Kennedy at Wells!

Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. will be in residence on campus conducting a week-long series of events co-sponsored by The Wells Book Arts Center, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the String Room Gallery and the Wells College Scholar-In-Residence program.

Visual Noise features poster prints by acclaimed letterpress printer and book artist Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. Renowned for his bold use of typography and renegade letterpress technique, Kennedy has built a forceful, witty, and subversive creative practice centered on calling attention to past and present experiences of race, labor, art, and printing. While his work is widely exhibited and held in collections, he ensures access to his posters by selling them at affordable prices. Visual Noise will culminate with a “Cash & Carry” event, with all posters available for purchase.

All are welcome to join Kennedy at the following public events during his residency:

  • Open Printing Drop-In Session: April 15, 3:30-6:00 p.m. — Morgan Hall
  • Open Printing Drop-In Session: April 16, 3:30-6:00 p.m. — Morgan Hall
  • Tea Time with Amos: April 17, 3:00 PM — Zabriskie Hall, Room 306
  • Documentary Film Screening, Proceed and Be Bold: April 17, 7:00 p.m. — Stratton Hall Room 209
  • Artist Talk, Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothin‘: April 18, 6:00 p.m. — Stratton 209
  • Closing Reception and Cash & Carry, Visual Noise: April 19,  6:30—8:00 p.m. — String Room Gallery