Paper Arts

September 17 - October 1, 2023
Maximum enrollment: 20
See website for cost

International Center for the Arts in the village of Monte Castello (near Perugia) is hosting a Paper Arts workshop. Incredible culinary meals included as well as airport transfers from Rome, 24/7 bi-lingual support, ground transport, art materials and four internationally known instructors.

Paper is an amazing material with the potential to be structurally strong or flexible and soft, opaque or translucent, a base for drawings and paintings, a sculptural form or bound into books for writing and illustrations. In this session we will explore the potential of paper as a basic material and as a medium for artistic pursuits. This two-week session will be led by internationally known instructors Amanda Degener, founder of Cave Paper; Carol Barton of Popular Kinetics; Denise Carbone from the University of the Arts and Tom Balbo of Tom Balbo Galleries.

Students will be signing up for the complete session, with sixteen hours of instruction in each area: hand papermaking, pulp paper painting and marbling, sewn bookbindings, and designing pop-ups. The session will also include field trips to the Fabriano Paper Mill and to the city of Florence, along with several other excursion stops. In addition, Amanda will be offering optional morning Tai Chi sessions.

This is an ideal session for teachers, graphic designers, creative artists, and anyone who likes to play with paper. No prior experience is necessary; all skill levels are welcome.

Hand Papermaking by Amanda Degener

Amanda will show you how to cook, process and form strong, translucent Asian-style sheets of paper and will also introduce you to natural dyeing and surface treatments on flax papers. The color palette of Cave Papers has often been compared to the earthy Italian palette. We will work with indigo, walnut and persimmon dyes and apply gelatin as a resist. Cave Papers are special because of the crackling, layering and combined effects resulting in dark, durable papers. Asian hand papermaking does not require much equipment, so it is easy to continue on your own. You will make both kozo and abaca paper, cloud paper, stencil “water away” paper, add inclusions, and try combinations of your own. You should bring a water-resistant apron or light raincoat along with waterproof footware to wear in class, or you can buy inexpensive waterproof shoes at the local hardware store.
You will be introduced to suminagashi (Japanese marbling) which can be done on your handmade papers or on provided sheets. Each participant also will create a portfolio and/or sample book with descriptions of both Asian and Western papers, to keep as a reference. You will take home a huge stack of your own papers and be encouraged to use your papers in the other classes. The school has paper tubes for sale in order to take your work home.

Pulp Paper Painting and Marbling by Tom Balbo

In this session we will explore hand papermaking methods, both traditional and non-traditional, to produce pulp paintings. When using pre-colored pulp as a “paint,” it is best to form a base sheet of plain pulp and work on top of that. Students will use molds, deckles, and deckle boxes (basically screens and frames) in creating these base sheets out of cotton rag, abaca, and flax fibers. Then students will create their own colored paper images using finely crafted, pigmented cotton linter (short cotton-fiber pulp). Stencils, brushes, or squirt bottles can be employed in this process. Students will experiment with both spontaneous and controlled methods of production.
We will also explore some experimental marbling techniques using commercial papers and some of our handmade sheets. Students will use acrylic paints for creating patterns, and more free-form designs will be achieved with the use of stencils. Experimentation will be greatly encouraged.

Designing Pop-Ups by Carol Barton

Discover the creative magic of constructing your own pop-ups in this exciting workshop on “paper engineering.” We will begin with basic cut-and-fold pop-up structures that can be used to enhance graphics for greeting cards, invitations, gallery announcements, children’s picture books, and much more. From there we will explore a range of more complex glued structures which form the basis of entire scenes in contemporary pop-up books: props, floating platforms, spirals, straddles, and V-folds. You will be encouraged to invent and explore these structures to create your own artistic paper environments.

A Medley of Bookbindings by Denise Carbone

“A bookbinding has two main functions. It protects its text block against wear and tear, and, by its structure, it makes a book out of a heap of otherwise separate leaves or quires”.


What happens at the spine of a book effects its structure and action.

A functioning book begins with a solid sewing. This class is open to everyone interested in the rudiments of how books are put together.

We will get acquainted with the materials and tools used to get started.

This Class will cover a supported sewing, adhesive based structures, and album alternatives, paying attention to how materials and composition of the binding affects the book action.

Introduction to basic hand tools of the trade will be covered. These books are meant to be constructed at the bench and made in a sparsely equipped home studio. We will learn about paper grain, folding, marking up and punching signatures, sewing on and off a sewing frame and gluing up and lining the spine.

A series of handouts will be provided outlining the steps to create the models made in class.
Structures include drum leaf hybrids, sewn paper case constructions & album alternatives.

All will be covered in a variant of board constructions that are suitable for the books function and flexibility. It can be a challenge to find the right combination of materials to accommodate structure.

You leave the workshop with the technical foundation and structural principles for continued investigation.

Instructor Bios

Amanda Degener earned a BFA from Bennington College and an MFA in sculpture from Yale University. She then moved to Minneapolis in 1984 and started Cave Paper, at first as an informal enterprise, then formally as a partnership in 1994 with Bridget O’Malley. Cave became known for its durable papers, made from flax, and dyed with combinations of black walnut hulls, indigo, red iron oxide and persimmon. Due to their superb quality, Cave Papers are desired by artists and publishers worldwide. Degener taught papermaking, artist books, sculpture, and 2D- and 3D-foundation classes at Minneapolis College of Art and Design from 1994-2005. At Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Degener was the first artist-in-residence in a three-year position and later was their first Artistic Director. Degener co-founded and for six years co-pubished Hand Papermaking, a magazine devoted to the art and craft of papermaking. In 2020, Degener retired from the day-to-day operations of Cave Paper, and in 2021 founded Cave Paper Editions to make collaborative books that incorporate handmade paper. To see the papers, go to; contact Amanda at

Carol Barton is a painter, paper engineer, book artist and teacher who has published several editions and has organized both local and national shows, including the traveling Books and Bookends show and the Smithsonian Institution’s Science and the Artist's Book exhibition. Her work is exhibited internationally and is in numerous collections, including the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She has taught at elementary, high school, and university levels, and has conducted adult workshops at art centers internationally. She was on the faculty at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia for 35 years and George Washington University’s Corcoran School of Art and Design in Washington, D.C. for four years. She has had residencies at the Bogliasco Foundation in Italy, the Sacatar Foundation in Brazil, GilsfjordurArts in Iceland, and the VCCA residency in France. Her Pocket Paper Engineer workbooks in three volumes are how-to guides to making pop-up cards and pages. She is now producing a series of watercolor landscape paintings for exhibition.

Denise Carbone’s studio is in South Jersey where many unusual experiments happen.
Her interest in historical bookmaking has taken her to Italy and Greece to study with masters on the subject and China to teach western bookmaking. Her publication, Observations on the Caterpillar Stitch, 2007, was based on a 12Th century book binding. She has taught many workshops on structure and book protection at book arts centers and events like the Paper Book Intensive. She’s taught at The University of the Arts, The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and was a book conservator at the American Philosophical Society for many years.

“I like making things, figuring out the details of particulars, especially when it comes to function and the haptics of objects like books. The challenge (and pleasure when it happens) is finding a material that excites the senses. And maybe not in the sense one would expect. “

In 2019 she collaborated with a fashion designer. Wrap Book Studio was the result.

Tom Balbo has been making paper since 1978 while attending Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts for his MFA. Tom's earliest work was primarily in ceramics and printmaking. As his interest in papermaking grew, his work turned increasingly towards expressing his artistic creativity in this area. In 2008, Tom along with other local artists, founded The Morgan Art of Paper Conservatory and Educational Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio, where he now holds emeritus status. Presently, Tom continues to work in paper, printmaking, and ceramics, dividing his time between creating in his studio/gallery and as co-director of the annual Paper and Book Intensive, a working spring sabbatical for book and paper artists. Over the past 40 years, Tom's work has been exhibited and shown in a large number of shows and galleries and he has garnered numerous awards and critical attention for his work. He is committed to fostering the craft and art of hand papermaking and the art of the book.

Daily Schedule

Tuesday – Thursday and Saturday (1st Week)
Monday -Thursday (2nd Week):
8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast
9:30 – 1:00 Morning Session:
1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
3:00 – 6:30 Afternoon Session
6:30 – 8:00 Free time or independent work:
8:00 – 9:00 Dinner
9:00 – 10:30 Optional time for presentations, films, lectures, etc.


First week, Saturday classes, Sunday free or independent work.
Second Saturday and Sunday, free or independent work.

11:00 AM Brunch


Typically, our basic program fee includes one excursion per week. These day-trips occur on Fridays and are generally limited to locations within 2.5 hours drive of Monte Castello. The duration of the excursion cannot exceed 10 hours (departure from and return to, Monte Castello). Please bear in mind that on this day the kitchen is closed on Fridays and no meals will be served at Asilo on that day.

Please bear in mind that Excursions DO NOT include site admissions or meals unless otherwise specified - at an additional fee.

Excursion - Week 1: Fabriano and/or visit the Istocarta, Fedrigoni Foundation Archive, 15 minutes walk from the museum, reserve at
Required Sites*:

Excursion - Week 2: Florence
Required Sites*:

Optional Excursion with additional payment Orvietto
Required Sites*:

*Admission to Required Sites along with a 20% booking fee, will be added to the overall per person cost to participants.


Tai Chi Private Instruction

Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Tui'na are simple traditional Chinese practices that use your inner strength or "Qi" to feel better. These simple healthy movements will improve blood circulation, balance, and the empowerment of your own self-care. This private instruction is designed for people of all ages and all physical abilities, chairs can be used. Tai Chi is portrayed like a river, one long flow, and Qi Gong is often described as being like clouds, individual movements. Self-massage or Tui'na handout (with pictures) is included so it will be easy to continue practicing afterwards. I can travel to your home for instruction, see for yourself how playing can help with equilibrium, aches and pains, and overall health.


Amanda Degener was an assistant teacher at Natural Step School for 5 years where she learned the Yang family form as played in Taiwan. She studied Chinese Medicine at The American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) where she met and worked with Dr. Xinrong He.  Amanda has 25 years of teaching experience and now teaches the Yang family form as played in mainland China. Amanda is also a successful artist and hand papermaker with a studio called Cave Paper. 

Please contact Amanda for information and to set up a session
Sliding fee scale suggestion donation $25. per hour limited space needed.
Phone/text: 612-998-8075. E-mail: