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The Art of the Commonplace Book


In Person



7:00 PM
10:00 PM



$350 + $25 materials fee



About the Course

Join us to learn about the Commonplace Book, a scrapbook or journal which documents a journey of discovery and curiosity. We will print photos as cyanotypes and collect them in a handmade book using the drum leaf binding. Students are encouraged to add text and other materials to their books.

Your Instructor

Sebastian Hesse-Kastein & Paige Billin-Frye

RAB Self Portrait for Photoworks - Richa

Sebastian has been a (photo) journalist for over 35 years. In addition to his job in the news business he continuously works on long term documentary projects. Sebastian has published four photo books and his images have been in newspapers and magazines. For some time now he has worked with historic photographic processes.
In his own words:
If I can do it, you can do it! Teaching is not about giving lectures but working together as a group where everyone contributes.

“I'm less interested in single images and putting photographs on a wall. I prefer storytelling with images and making them accessible in books. Photo books are the most democratic way to share photographic work: affordable, sustainable and accessible everywhere!” Paige began taking pictures when she was a kid, printing them with her Dad in their makeshift darkroom using the same enlarger that he had printed on with his dad when he was a kid. Since then she has studied and experimented with various aspects of photography, most recently balancing the digital world of Photoshop and Lightroom with making work that she can touch with her hands, exploring various historical processes of photo printing. Her photographs have been shown in venues in Washington, DC, where she lives, as well as across the country. Her fine art work can be seen at

Working as an illustrator in children’s publishing for over 40 years, along with her photographic work, has created for her a synergy of visual practice and learning. She has illustrated over 30 books for children and has worked for many trade, mass market and textbook publishers. Her illustration work can be seen at

She also uses her skills on a volunteer basis heading up a project to photograph the mollusk collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The digitized images are made available to researchers around the world.

“I believe that everyone is an artist and I enjoy providing the guidance needed for students to find their own creative path.”

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