Bari Zaki Studio expanded in 2015 to become a studio, a shop, and a salon. The new space has allowed us to offer workshops for the first time. As it happened, Bari initially met almost all of the instructors when they came to see the new shop. All workshops involve paper as their beloved surface. Collectively, the workshops have imbued the space with a sense of community of kindred spirits.


Bari Zaki, Proprietess

Bari made her first book—by stapling  beautiful paper samples from her father’s print shop—when she was ten. She took her first bookbinding classes at Artist Book Works when she was in her early 20s, and considers herself primarily self-taught. Bari opened Ardour Bookbinding in 1989. She continues to do custom bookbinding and boxmaking for new as well as long-time clients.

“One of my favorite things about teaching bookbinding is hearing every student say, at the completion of class, how satisfying it is to make a book! Everyone leaves with a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of happiness, and a desire to make more books. I’ve made thousands of books and boxes, and I still feel so happy after every book I make.”

“I also teach drawing, which is a much more recent practice and passion for me. I enjoy encouraging students to overcome their anxiety about making their first mark in a blank book. I love to hear how they’ve integrated various drawing exercises into their day, and how much joy it brings them.”


Cat Bennett, Visiting Instructor
Wild Botanicals
Drawing Faces
Bold Still Lifes

Cat was a commercial illustrator for 25 years. Her clients included The Montreal Star, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, and The Atlantic. She now makes art and exhibits in group shows. Since 2006, she has taught drawing in Watertown, Mass. She has also written three books: The Confident Creative, Making Art a Practice, and The Drawing Club of Improbable Dreams. (lovingly signed copies available in our shop & online).

“I believe that drawing and painting create happiness. I love teaching because I get to see people discover their own creative genius! In 2018, I started a creative coaching business I’ve named The Art of Change.”

Cat's Website


Becka Bravo
Modern Calligraphy

Becka holds a BA in fine art photography and  art history from DePaul University. Her professional experience includes calligraphy, illustration, graphic design, and figure drawing. She also has an extensive history of incredibly good handwriting. A lifelong student, Becka would come home from school and feel compelled to rewrite her class notes because they weren't aesthetically pleasing enough.

“I inherited my love of teaching from my father, a musical theory professor and classical composer who related best to others as a teacher. In observing him, I learned to enjoy the act of teaching as a form of social interaction, a way to share oneself with others.”

Becka's Website

Anne Leuck sketchbook journaling.png

Anne Leuck
Sketchbook Journaling

Anne is a visual storyteller. Her personal depictions include snippets from her own life journey, and commissioned works telling her clients’ stories via portraits and murals. She utilizes traditional painting as well as her daily sketchbook journals and digital media.

“I love rekindling the art of play in my students and observing the transformation as they come to realize they have never really “lost” it. It brings me great joy to see my method of journaling give people insight into ways that they can capture and celebrate the everyday simple things and foster their own creativity. This in turn enriches their lives and also inspires the people around them.

Anne's Website


Pam Martinez
Introduction to Orizemogami
Introduction to Suminagashi Paper Marbling
Introduction to Contemporary Paper Marbling


Pam has studied, taught, and practiced the ancient Japanese arts of paper marbling for fifteen years. She teaches at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, at the Sumi-E Society, and at Gilda’s Club. She also offers private lessons. These techniques are a spiritual practice, an opportunity to explore the mystery of “creating” an undetermined result, and to inspire the imagination.

“I love sharing my artistic training as taught to me by master marblers. To me, the process is both a form of alchemy and a metaphorical spiritual journey. This creative exercise presents the challenge of gently floating liquid pigments on another liquid surface. Capturing the designs on paper is revelatory, each effort becoming a one-of-a-kind print.”

Pam's Website


Julie Wildman
Expressive Cursive Handwriting
Monoline Lettering
Crazy Calligraphy
 Pointed Brush Calligraphy

Julie is a graphic designer by training, with a degree from Chicago’s Columbia College. Several years after establishing Wildman Designs, she discovered her passion for calligraphy. Ever since, she has continued to study “the art of beautiful writing” with numerous world-renowned calligraphers and lettering artists. Her calligraphic work has been exhibited in juried shows throughout the Midwest, and has been featured in various publications.

“I love to share my passion for calligraphy with people of all ages. I teach throughout the Chicagoland community, and elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada. I especially love when people’s faces light up as they begin to ‘see’ what it takes to make writing beautiful.”

Julie's Website