A summer workshop for artists and teachers

March 31st, 2010

If you are looking for a classroom activity that combines literacy and art or if you are looking for a new tool to help students think deeply about content matter, then The Artist’s Book retreat might be the best summer professional development event for you. Join JoAnn Portalupi, author of Craft Lessons and Nonfiction Craft Lessons in a week-long retreat to explore your artistic side and to take back a creative, fun activity to your students in the fall.

The Artist’s Book: A Retreat by the Sea
JoAnn Portalupi and Shawn Pelech

For the last three summers Shawn Pelech and I have traveled to Lubec, the most down east town in Downeast Maine, for intensive weeks of painting. During these retreats we experience the energy and learning that come from spending unhampered time in a community of like-minded peers. In between sessions of easel painting, we watch for eagles, visit beaches where sea glass still abounds, treat ourselves to homemade sweet rolls from the local bakery, watch the fishing boats come and go.  Always, when we return to our easels, we find ourselves renewed by the quiet time spent in the rhythm of this humble town perched on the edge of the sea.

It was into this space that we dreamed of the workshop we are offering July 18 -24, 2010: The Artist’s Book: A Retreat by the Sea. Shawn and I share a love of both painting and teaching and this topic, the Artist’s Book, is the likely marriage of our talents and interests.

What is an Artist’s Book? In this workshop we will view the Artist Book as a creative expression where form and content work together to convey a maker’s intent, understanding that the maker will borrow on selected aspects of the book form.

An Artist Book might be as simple as a commonplace book of literary lines gathered in accordion style fashion or a fictionalized journal depicting the life of an immigrant ancestor compiled with photos and artifacts into a handmade stub book. Or maybe it breaks the bounds of the traditional page-turning book and becomes a sculpted memorial told through images, objects, and design.

An Artist Book may be:

  • an object of art
  • something made by hand
  • a tool for interdisciplinary learning that invites students to think deeply about content area subject matter or
  • a way for students to show what they know

If this sounds intriguing, we invite you to let the rhythm of the tides create a place where you can discover this tool for yourself. Workshop participants will explore a variety of print-, paper-, and book-making techniques as they create unique Artist Books of their own.  Time will be available for interested participants to reflect together with instructors on how to bring this tool into the classroom.

For more information, please visit our website at www.artinlubec.com

Entry Filed under: Author News,Literacy

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Patti McKinnell  |  April 13th, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I may be interested in coming to this great summer workshop, yet I have a few questions to ask about. I am a long term fairly creative teacher but certainly not an artist. I am interested in this workshop as a place to learn some technique and gather teaching ideas. While I feel I am a friendly sharing person I would rather the workshop design not involve sharing on a personal or spiritual level. Could you share some more information about this workshop so I could make an informed decision.
    Thank you so much for your response.
    Patti McKinnell

  • 2. stenhouse  |  April 16th, 2010 at 7:35 am


    Great questions! To contact JoAnn Portalupi, e-mail her at artinlubec@gmail.com.

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