Susan Kae GrantMapping The Unconscious: Zen and the Art if Bookmaking with Susan Kae Grant

August 8 - 12, 2021 Go back
View of a redheaded woman reviewing one of her students job

This retreat is an introduction to bookmaking as an art form, using memory, dreams, experience and imagination to inform the content and creation of your own unique book.

Terms & Conditions
  • Class description
  • Bio
  • Supply List
  • gallery

Class description

Knowing the techniques and skills to make a book of your own is one thing—tapping into your creativity and subconscious to create a book is yet another.

This retreat introduces participants to the art of handmade artists’ books that are as diverse in style and direction as they are in technique. In this retreat, we concentrate on memory, experience and imagination to inspire the content, design and execution of personal photo book-works.

Participants learn through lectures and discussions to develop methodologies for collecting and recording dreams and memories. Classes include guided meditations and written exercises designed to elicit creative insights to strengthen and combine writings and images for their books.

Slide presentations and examples of original book works inspire discussions addressing diverse topics such as design strategies, content, structure, imaging techniques, materials, and sources needed for production. Class demonstrations include a variety of ways to incorporate images and text into books as well as the technical execution of three binding styles and the DASS Transfer process. Participants will produce personal projects and books of their own utilizing the styles and techniques demonstrated.

This retreat is about the study of bookmaking as an art form and is open to participants of all levels, working in every medium. You may come with a work in progress, or a new idea.

Through hands-on experience students learn significant methodologies for designing and creating handmade books that successfully balance form and content by using symbolism and intuition.


Susan Kae Grant is an inventive and influential artist, educator, and early proponent of photographic book arts. She has lectured and exhibited throughout the United States and internationally, from Spain to Japan. Her ongoing touring immersive installation of Night Journey and her curated exhibition Photographic Book Art in the United States have traveled to over 30 venues between them. Public collections representing her photographs and book-works include George Eastman Museum; J. Paul Getty Museum; Minneapolis Institute of Art; Tokyo Photographic Museum; Victoria & Albert National Art Library; Center for Creative Photography; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Grant holds an MFA and BS in Photography and Books Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. From 1981-2017, she served as Head of Photography and Book Arts at Texas Woman’s University (TWU) and was named Cornaro Professor Emerita in 2018. Selected teaching awards include Cornaro Professor, TWU; Society for Photographic Education (SPE) Honored Educator (2014) and Honored Educator, South Central Region, SPE (2007). Grant is on the staff of the International Center of Photography (NYC) where she has taught “The Art of Photographic Bookmaking” (4-day workshop) each spring since 1993. Her work is represented by, Conduit Gallery, Dallas, TX and Vamp & Tramp Booksellers, LTD, Birmingham, AL.

Contact: Website:

Supply List

$75 supply fee included in tuition

SUPPLY LIST for Participants to Bring

Supplies and price estimates listed below are available (on-line) from Blick or Talas.

  1. Canson Universal Sketch Pad ($7.00)
  1. Lineco Bookbinding Tool Kit ($38.50)
  1. BFK Rives Heavy Weight Paper ($19.00)
  1. Fabriano Tiziano Paper ($11.50)
  1. Decorative Papers ($7.50)
  • 4 sheets, 4”x6” – 8”x10” decorative papers or equivalent
    (This paper is used for the Accordion & Pamphlet book covers)

2 Examples: Black Ink Decorative Paper Pack or others

  1. Decorative Paper ($5.00-$10.00)
  • 1 sheet, 18x24 (approximate) decorative paper or equivalent

(This paper is used for the Flat-back book cover)
Examples: Click here for many to choose from such as: 

Black Ink Nepalese Marbled Lofta, Black Ink Thai Marbled Mulberry, Black Ink Nepalese Sunwashed Lokta, Black Ink Screenprinted Napa, Black Ink Fiesta Lokta Paper, Screenprinted Nepalese Lokta Paper

  1. Photographs and/or prints for use in your personal book project 
  • Bring 8-10 printed images or image files to print at the retreat

Media Type Examples: Black & White, Color, Non-silver, Digital, etc.

  • Suggested image sizes are 3.25”x4.25”, 4”x5”, or 5”x7”
  • You can bring completed images for your books or create images at the retreat
  1. Misc. Other Items to Bring
  • Mixed media materials that are of interest for incorporation into your book
    (objects, ribbon, letters, type, magazines, rubberstamps, paint, colored pencils, etc)
  • Blank Journal or writing paper for capturing information and brainstorming
  • Laptop with photo editing software if you want to edit or print your own images

  1. Alternative Papers for Book Pages
  • If you prefer to use inkjet paper for pages, there are a variety suitable for bookbinding. 
  • Choose a paper that is between 175-276 gsm. In order to  fold easily without cracking. 
  • Choose “Duo” paper to print on both sides
  • For suggestions, feel free to contact me directly at

SUPPLIES Provided 

Wild Rice Retreat will provide a limited number of the following tools and supplies for the retreat. If you have your own tools, please feel free to bring them.

  • Bookbinding Glue (Sobo or PVA)
  • Linen Bookbinding Tape
  • Lineco Acid Free Binders Board, 15”x20” (.098)
  • DASS Premium Transfer Film @ $109.00 for 100 sheets
  • 8 oz Purell Hand Sanitizer Pump dispensers for DASS Transfers
  • 11” 3M Scotch Position-able Mounting Adhesive, 50Ft Roll
  • Canson Mi-Teintes Assorted Color Pack, 19”x25”
  • Book Cloth Sample Packs (Talas) 
  • Speedball Soft Rubber Brayers
  • 3m Scotch Glue Sticks
  • Cut-rite wax paper 
  • Wooden clothes pins
  • Utility Knives and X-Acto knives
  • Cork Back Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Bricks for book weights
  • 2 pieces of 1/2" plywood (approx 10”x12”) will be used as book presses for each student
  • 2, 3-4” C-clamps per student 
  • Cutting table station covered with self-healing mat