Unlock the art of book creation over a 4-month journey of personalized mentorship with Richard Reitz Smith, taking your book from concept to completion in the Maine Media book arts studio.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

Note: Students meet as a group via Zoom once or twice per month starting January 16, 2024, at 3 pm (Future dates and times can be discussed to determine what works best for everyone) and individually every other week online through January, February, March, and April. Students then work in our on-campus book arts studio May 6-10, 2024. See the schedule below.

Watch: Learn more about your mentor, Richard Reitz Smith, and Maine Media’s incredible book arts program

Creating a book is a hierarchy of developmental steps. Starting with a strong concept as the solid foundation from which all other decisions should flow. The process weaves the maker through print production and design challenges as well as creative considerations. Over 4 months, you will be mentored through these choices with assigned reading and customized resources to be provided. We end up face-to-face in the Maine Media studio where you can execute your plan. This is your opportunity to take a book concept from start to end or at least to printed pages with the binding to be completed later if needed. Students can also take their files to an online printer/publisher and complete the printing and binding to those specifications. For the most part, this will be a digitally printed book with letterpress accents. An at-home digital printer is very helpful.

Richard Reitz Smith Book Arts Creations
Left: High Hopes, Center: Memories of Sedona, Right: Crucible – By Richard Reitz Smith.


This course uses a flexible hybrid schedule, with group meetings and individual mentorship occurring online via Zoom, and culminates in our on-campus book arts studio. Collaborations are welcome and encouraged for larger-scale projects. Students will meet once or twice per month as a group (future times and dates to be organized with the group for best flexibility). Meetings can be recorded for review later.

Students will meet with Book Arts chair, Richard Reitz Smith, via Zoom to introduce their projects and develop an appropriate path forward for successful book art or print project. Students will complete their projects on-campus in the Maine Media book arts studio from May 6-10, 2024.

Equipment provided (in our studio):

The Charles Altschul Book Arts Studio at Maine Media houses the following equipment and tools, allowing students to create a wide range of work:

  • Vandercook Universal III Letterpress can accommodate a paper size of 18” x 27”.
  • Vandercook Universal I Letterpress can accommodate a paper size of 15” x 24”.
  • Kelsey tabletop press that can accommodate a paper or board size of 8.5” x 11. Note: the live print area is smaller.
  • Charles Brand etching press that prints 15” x 30”.
  • Photopolymer plate maker for small areas of type.
  • Board shear, a guillotine, a nipping press, sewing frames, and a book press.

Course requirements:

  • Students should have basic InDesign and Photoshop skills – if you are looking to learn InDesign we offer a 2-Day Intro to Adobe InDesign (Online).
  • Learning how to use the equipment in our studio is part of this course.

The Life of a Leaf

This Workshop is Sponsored by:

Awagami Factory Logo

Fine Art Washi Papers, Digital Inkjet Papers, Origami, Stationery, Papercrafts, Stationery and Washi Decor crafted in Tokushima, Japan - for Photographers, Fine Artists, and Designers. Visit Awagami.com to learn more.

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Instructor: Richard Reitz Smith

Richard Reitz Smith is a letterpress and book artist who excels in marrying traditional techniques with technology and is the Book Arts Program Chair and Studio Manager at Maine Media. He is the owner of DoubleDoor Creative in Camden, ME. In 2015, Richard was the first Book Artist in Residence at Maine Media where he wrote, illustrated, printed, and bound a limited-edition abecedary of alliterative haiku. Richard received a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in painting and illustration.

After working for three years developing products for Crayola and Liquitex, he returned to school and earned an MFA in graphic design (Tyler School of Art- Temple University). Then started a five-year tour of universities as an art and design professor which led him to New York City, where he taught at Pratt Institute and School of Visual Arts. While doing this, he freelanced as an illustrator and graphic designer for companies like The GAP, Macy's, American Craft Museum, Metlife, Pearson Education, and Scholastic. Then he took positions at Clicquot, Inc. and Clinique Cosmetics consecutively. For Clinique Cosmetics, he managed multi-million-dollar, international, seasonal product and promotional launches as the director of package design worldwide. For Clicquot, Inc. he was a one-person art department for the wine importer/promoter of Veuve Clicquot, Krug, Bouchard, and many other ultra-premium wines. It was in NYC, that he found and frequented The Center for Book Arts learning much about letterpress and the book as an art form.