Sep 25, 2020  
2005-2006 University Catalogue 
2005-2006 University Catalogue [Archived Catalogue]

Printmaking/Book Arts

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Mary Phelan

The Printmaking major bases its instructional program on the development and realization of visual ideas through multiple image-making processes. The primary objectives are to develop conceptual abilities and technical proficiencies, leading the student to acquire personal imagery and professional competence in printmaking media.

The department provides the expertise of a faculty of professional artists to study traditional and digital methods. The major graphic media explored include relief processes, etching (intaglio), lithography (stone, metal plate, and offset) water-based screenprinting, non-silver photographic printmaking and papermaking. Courses in book and typographic design stimulate experimentation in unifying the elements of paper, prints, typography, and bookbinding.

Visiting artists, field trips, and guest lecturers supplement the studio experience. Using the city as an extended workshop, Print students attend seminars and museum collections. The Print Study Seminar is held in the Print Room at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and furnishes a unique opportunity to study original prints from the 15th through the 20th centuries.

The main emphasis over the three-year undergraduate period of study is on the evolution of students as artists who make individualized demands upon the media. As with any study in the fine arts, the experience should be multidimensional, reflective of a broad range of personal and professional involvement, and reinforced with stimulation from related areas of interest, including drawing, painting, digital arts, photography, graphic design, illustration, sculpture, and crafts.

The undergraduate curriculum is enhanced by the graduate program in Book Arts/ Printmaking. This two-year course of study of 60 credits culminates in a Master of Fine Arts Degree. The program provides the opportunity for the individual artist’s expression in limited edition bookworks. Undergraduate students work alongside MFA candidates in studios, workshops, and some major and elective classes. (Students interested in the MFA degree in Book Arts/Printmaking should contact the director of the program or the Office of Admission.)


The Printmaking Department provides extensive facilities for waterbased screenprinting, stone and plate lithography, relief, etching and non-silver photographic processes. The bookbinding room houses book presses, board shear, and a guillotine paper cutter. The letterpress studio contains five Vandercook presses for printing handset type and polymer plates with over 600 drawers of monotype, foundry and wood type. The offset lithography press room features a Davidson 901 offset press used by the students for hands-on experience.

Other important resources on which the program draws are the Borowsky Center for Publication Arts and the Imaging Lab. The Borowsky Center is equipped with a Heidelberg KORS offset press and a full darkroom for experimental and production printing of student, faculty, and visiting artist works. The Imaging Lab allows for  in-house film and print output and the university’s computer facilities.

Printmaking/Book Arts faculty and students have been committed to the testing and integration of non-toxic printmaking processes and inks in the studios since the late 1970s.


Susan Viguers

The MFA Program in Book Arts/Printmaking focuses on the book as a conceptual departure for art making and personal expression. It is a two-year, 60-credit program, to be taken in four full-time semesters. Built upon the University’s long tradition of involvement with the book and the printed image, it is open to qualified students with an undergraduate degree in liberal arts, design, photography, printmaking, or fine art. Students explore the book as an art form that incorporates three-dimensional as well as two-dimensional structure, time and sequence, text and image. It embraces both the rich history of the book and the new processes and forms created by digital technology. Its concept of book arts includes fine-press printing and illustrated texts, visual and verbal narratives, and works that push the idea of a book toward expressions as different as sculpture and multimedia.

Important features of the program are its printmaking opportunities, its emphasis on investigating traditional and modern bookbinding, and its encouragement of writing and the use of text. Its situation in an arts university gives the students a unique opportunity to draw on other art areas

Specialized Facilities

Students have individual workstations where light tables, storage space, book presses, and paper cutters are available. They enjoy full use of the University’s well-equipped studios and specialized facilities, including studios for papermaking, non-silver photography, bookbinding, water-based screenprinting, letterpress, intaglio and relief printing, stone and slate lithography, and offset lithography. Stationary vertical and portable book presses, a board shear, tabletop shears, and a guillotine paper cutter are available for bookbinding. Letterpress facilities include five Vandercook proof presses, a photopolymer platemaking system, and over 600 drawers of monotype, foundry, and wood type. Five etching presses and four lithography presses are available for printing. Besides an ATF-Davidson offset press in the lithography pressroom, students have access to the Borowsky Center for Publication Arts, equipped with a Heidelberg KORS offset press and a full darkroom for experimental and production printing. An imaging lab houses a darkroom equipped with enlargers, horizontal and vertical copy-cameras, and a state-of-the-art filmsetting system integrated with the University’s Macintosh computer labs.

In the graduate Book Arts/Printmaking resource room, students can find book structure models, books, journals, and newsletters relating to book arts and printmaking, and professional materials on book artists, presses, and programs.

Students also have access to many of the University’s other extensive facilities, including state-of-the-art computers, galleries, and the Greenfield Library, whose visual art collection (books, periodicals, and slides) is one of the largest among the nation’s visual art schools. Its special collection of artists’ books provides a valuable teaching resource.

Academic Requirements

A cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for good standing and for graduation for graduate students. A qualifying review at the conclusion of the first year’s coursework is required to continue in the program. The final semester culminates in a MFA Thesis Exhibition. Please refer to CAD Graduate Programs for further information on graduate requirements.

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