Dreamy theaters. Experimental workshop of illustration in woodcut reduction

Umberto Giovannini

2-13 August 2017

Castle of Montefiore Conca

in collaborazione con Fabriano paper
in collaborazione con Fabriano paper

This 12-day workshop is a research path for new iconography through the construction of theaters, like in the the painting tradition of ‘600.
You will work on the realization of theatrical models in a contemporary way, which will be set up as real sets to be photographed and translated into colour woodcuts.
The scenes and the subjects will be created by the participants; subjects and scenes will be chosen with a free approach, encouraging dreamy, playful and surreal visions.
The scenes will be animated with everyday objects or some we will make, and other possibilities we will discover during the workshop.
Each participant will work on images and ideas that will be developed during the workshop: be free, the path has many possibilities.
During the workshop, each participant will be given the skills to design and develop a series of reduction woodcuts – design, engraving and print – starting from the ideas and images created making the theaters.
You will experiments with images and with the possibilities offered by the translation of three-dimensional scenes unto reduction woodcuts.

The technique
The woodcut reduction is one of the most popular techniques both for the European and Japanese woodcut masters, because it is the woodcut technique which allows a playful and inventive approach step by step.
The name “reduction” comes from the working process: a woodblock is carved and printed in a number of copies. The same block continues to be carved and printed in register on the same sheet, with a different color, step by step, color after color, until the block is exhausted.
This technique is wonderful to create tonal effects, such as landscapes and figures, to obtain very soft gradations of chiaroscuro.
This technique is wonderful to create tonal effects such as landscapes and figures to obtain very soft gradations of chiaroscuro.
The the workshop will include invention of the drawing for reduction, its transposition to the block, and creation of the intaglio. Attendees will be taught to use a special body posture intaglio technique, in order to develop high precision and speed. Finally, will be taught the basic techniques of inking and printing, specific for this technique.
In reduction technique is very important the use of registration: in this workshop will be used double Kento derived from the Japanese printing technique.

Pablo Picasso, Still Life under the Lamp, 1962, reduction printed by Hidalgo Arnéra
Pablo Picasso, Still Life under the Lamp, 1962, reduction printed by Hidalgo Arnéra

Umberto Giovannini
After studying Graphic Communication Design, he graduated from the DAMS in Bologna and began dedicating his time to graphic art.
He is a founding member of the art group, VACA.
Since 2009, he has directed the Opificio Della Rosa low-environmental impact printmaking centre.
He is in particular attracted to woodcut, in relation to which he has developed personal carving and printing techniques.
His prints and artists’ books can be found in international collections.
His personal, study and research work is supplemented by teaching.
He is currently Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London and Visiting Professor at the RUFA, Rome University of Fine Arts.
He is the president of  Renate Herold Czaschka Foundation dedicated to artist book and printmaking.
As a graphics historian, he has been called upon to organize various exhibitions and has planned a series of books dedicated to engraving and illustration.

  • This workshop is suitable for beginners and professionals
  • Language: Italian-English
  • 14-day workshop from 2 to 13 August 10, 2017
  • Location: Castle of Montefiore
  • Hours: 10-13 / 14-18
  • Cost: EUR 400
  • Course scheduled for a maximum of 12 students (for the first 5 students accommodation is included).
  • Materials and tools necessary for the workshops are included in the cost of the course and will be provided for each participant.
  • You are asked to bring small objects that may serve to set the scenes
  • You will need a smartphone or a tablet to take pictures will be used as a reference for the woodcuts

General information

  • participants should bring their own drawing equipment and suitable clothing to work comfortably.
  • Usually at lunch time we eat together in the park nearby the castle. Everyone brings their own food; water and wine are always available for everyone.
  • A certificate of attendance will be awarded at the end of the course.
  • There is a limit of 10 places per workshop
  • 5 participants are needed for the course to operate
  • If the course has insufficient participants to run, those already enrolled will receive a full refund of the amount they paid at registration.
  • Participants who have registered but find they can no longer attend will be refunded half the registration fee providing they notify us at least 20 days before the course commences.
  • Early registration is recommended in order to secure not only a place on the course but also accommodation in Montefiore Conca.