The Kalamazoo Book Arts Center (KBAC) practices, teaches, and promotes the collaborative arts of the book: papermaking, printmaking, letterpress, bookbinding, and creative writing, through preserving and employing traditional technologies and combining them with contemporary ideas and techniques to reinvigorate the collaborative arts of the book.
The KBAC was founded in 2005 by artists and writers with a passion for book arts. Their vision is now a creative public space where artists and book enthusiasts of all kinds gather to collaborate and celebrate books and the many arts that inform them.
If you love books—in any form—we have something for you: events and exhibits, classes for all ages and abilities, presentations, guest and resident artists, a book arts store, library, and regular celebrations of the book.
The Kalamazoo Book Arts Center is located in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan, in the historic Park Trade Center Building, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., STE 103A. The Park Trade Center, originally a manufacturing facility that produced ledgers and waxed paper, currently houses a creative community of over 100 artists, artisans, designers, entrepreneurs, and small business people. Enter our studio though the central door on Kalamazoo Ave. to participate in a class, see an exhibit, or shop in our store. On-street metered parking is available.
Our gallery has ample wall space to accommodate large and small work, and gallery-quality directional lighting. Additional movable display panels, pedestals, and wall-mounted shelving are also available. The space doubles as a presentation area, with seating for Poets in Print readings and other events.
The KBAC Book Arts Store, overlooking the gallery, stocks book arts supplies, paper, journals, broadsides, cards, gifts and more for sale.
The Kalamazoo Book Arts Center has a reference library focusing on book arts, papermaking, printmaking, print history, type and letterpress. Please visit our LibraryThing page to view our collection.
Chandler Price new style platen press 8 x 12 (ca 1913)
Vandercook sp15 (ca 1963)
Vandercook Universal III (1964)
Kelsey platen press 5 x 8
Platen press 6 x 8.5
Proofing press (galley height)
Lead and wooden type
2 Dickerson combination presses
Litho press and rollers
2 1.5 pound valley beaters
Hydraulic and pump paper presses
Multiple sizes and shapes of molds and deckles
Over the years the KBAC has hosted many nationally and internationally acclaimed artists and writers, often in collaboration with Western Michigan University’s Waldo Library Special Collections, and Visiting Scholars and Artists Program. These creative individuals present their work in our gallery, participate in our Poets in Print reading series, and teach workshops in our studio. Some of the special guests have included:
Jeff was a Fulbright Research Scholar in Venice, Italy, where he worked at the Accademia di Belle Arti and Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione to study the history of Italian printing and book arts. He has returned to Europe each summer to conduct the Western Michigan University study abroad trip Book Arts in Europe, working in traditional letterpress, printing, and papermaking studios in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. He also teaches book arts each summer to children in public schools in Sardinia, Italy. He has a Master of Fine Arts from WMU’s Frostic School of Art, where he has taught as adjunct faculty for 22 years. He is a founding member of the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center.
Lorrie Grainger Abdo
Lorrie is a graduate of The University of Michigan and Thunderbird School of Global Management. She has worked for a large publishing corporation as well as advertising and design firms focusing on marketing, advertising and design. She is a paper artist working with handmade paper, surface design applications and paper mosaics. She teaches various paper-related classes at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center and at other venues in Michigan and beyond.
Katie is a graduate of the Studio Art program at Grand Valley State University. She completed an internship at the Women’s Studio Workshop, an arts organization specializing in printmaking and book arts in Rosendale, New York. Katie manages the KBAC studio, supervises interns and volunteers, manages the website, and installs exhibitions in the KBAC Gallery. She has supervised the printing of over 100 KBAC Poets in Print broadsides, working with writers and artists to facilitate the collaborations.
Crystal earned her BFA from Western Michigan University. She is an alumnus of KBAC’s own Book Arts in Venice program and has remained with KBAC ever since. Though the focus of her study at Western was painting, she has developed a deep interest in bookbinding and letterpress and shares this knowledge with the local community and beyond. She is responsible for training new interns and coordinating their activities in the studio so that they become valuable members of the KBAC community.
The KBAC works with local and national artists to teach our classes and workshops.
Elizabeth C. Teviotdale
Paul Alvin Robbert
July 2, 1928 - September 22, 2008
Papermaker and Professor of Art; MA in Fine Arts specializing in painting and printmaking, Michigan State University. Paul served on the faculty of Western Michigan University for more than forty years. Following his retirement he remained active in the arts, continuing to produce his own work and was also known as a dedicated mentor and advisor to other artists. As an artist, he was nationally and internationally recognized. His affinity for materials and color eventually led to his exploration of paper as an art form, which he pursued for 30 years. As a faculty member at Western Michigan University he established the papermaking curriculum. Paul inspired many young artists with his experimental approach and spirit. The papermaking area at KBAC is dedicated to him containing much equipment he built himself and used in his studio at Park Trades Center. Please visit paul-robbert.com to find out more about Paul’s work.