Workshop 2015

Color woodcut 1: Camaïeu
tutor: Umberto Giovannini
15-17 May 2015

Woodcut (xylography) is the oldest graphic technique. The power and communicative force of its sign lies at the heart of works created from the 14th century onwards, from Dürer and Holbein up to Cézanne, Picasso, Münch and contemporary artists. Lately xylography has once again become popular, not only for its language, but also because it is an ecological technique, which uses wood, oil inks and natural essences. The purpose of this workshop is to teach woodcut techniques and the ability to use materials, tools and methods with a view to creating woodcuts with more than one block (polychrome) through the classic technique of camaïeu. The work will include invention of the drawing for the colour woodcut, its transposition to the blocks, 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, and the basic techniques of registration printing and polychrome inking.

Umberto Giovannini is a multidisciplinary artist with a specific interest in printmaking. He has a passion for woodcut, for which he has developed some personal intaglio and printing techniques. Founder member of VACA, he is the director of the Opificio della Rosa a low environmental impact graphic centre. His practice is complemented with teaching on BA courses in Graphic Design and Printmaking since 1991. At the moment is Associated Lecturer in Graphic and Communication Design at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London and Visiting Professor at Rome Academy of Fine Arts.

Greetings from Montefiore
Letterpress printing with movable type and cliché.
tutor: Veronica Bassini – Anonima Impressori
30-31 May 2015

In the last years the interesting upon letterpress increased more and more. Some studios opened with the aim of saving movable type, machinery and the knowledge of classic typography, Opificio della Rosa is one of those. To start again with letterpress, one of the most important thing is to find, rescue and store materials that are abandoned or forgot. In an old fashion printshop you can find not only movable type -the letters- but also images: the cliché.
This images bring stories that are lost: faces, landscape, houses, buildings, satirical drawing made by some unknown artist… All this materials rest in old boxes covered with dust. During this workshop we will compose and print a postcard from the typography shop of Opificio della Rosa in Montefiore Conca using the clichés and movable-type.

– Tech.: how to compose with movable type and how to print – knowing letterpress.
– Creativity: Knowing the materials, we will have a look to all the cliché and letters available
– Tech: how to print a cliché and how to print in colors.

– Techniques and creativity; How to develop your own project
– Creativity and technique: Make your postcard
– Write your postcard, put the stamp on it and mail it.

Veronica Bassini is a printer. She studied printing at Scuola delle Arti Applicate del Castello Sforzesco (Milano) and worked with the master printer Moreno Chiodini at 74/B print studio. After some projects on etching, relief printing and letterpress with the artist Arianna Vairo (AttilaMarcel collective), in 2012 she opened a print studio in Bologna called Anonima Impressori.

Blue etching: non toxic printmaking
Museo della città di Rimini
tutors: Fabiola Mercandetti and Marco Innocenzi
14-19 July 2015

The Opificio della Rosa non-toxic workshop will be hosted in the new area of Museo della Città of Rimini, a wonderful environment to work about drawing and printmaking.
This course aims to provide new solutions for toxic printmaking materials through the use of non toxic materials and methods. It will also be an occasion to find new ways of expressing yourself because etching is a constantly changing technique and language, which continuously develops new methods and creative possibilities.
Antique books already contained some precautions concerning the use of etching materials, but it was only in the Eighties that, due to a greater awareness of solvent and acid toxic effect, a special attention for people’s health and safety developed. This was the basis for further development in the following years, to refine new non toxic etching methods.
These methods, which also use antique recipes, have contributed in making etching more eco-friendly, leading to a greater interest worldwide, especially by those who do not have a traditional printmaking studio available, who can now etch anywhere without any risk, like many other art techniques.
This 6-day course will start with a historical-theoretical introduction to non toxic etching, dealing mainly with the following aspects:
⁃ overview of different indirect engraving techniques (Etching: hard ground, soft ground aquatint) using non toxic methods;
⁃ insight on the “blue” mordant (copper sulfate), its characteristics, preparation and usage

⁃ introduction to the use of etching inks made from oils and natural pigments with no toxic additive, and also of the Charbonnel Aquawash inks with water washable emulsified oils

⁃ overview of non toxic methods and products for cleaning the plates with vegetable oils instead of traditional solvents.


We will warm up each morning with a one hour live drawing session: wandering through the art works in the Museo della Città – from the printing collections to the Roman Lapidarium –, or you can prepare your drawing startin from your personal projects.
A new technique will be presented every day: first we will explain the method, then will show the process. After that, each participant will create his/her own plate.
Day 1
historical-practical introduction to non toxic processes; presentation of the etching on zinc technique with alternative solutions which substitute the traditional bitumen; demonstration of the process, plate preparation, working, etching and printing.
Day 2
soft ground on zinc using roller and pastel; process demonstration, plate preparation, working, etching and printing.
Day 3
Alternative Aquatint on zinc and other methods ( reserve method, open bite ecc.); process demonstration, plate preparation, working, etching and printing.
Days 4 -5-6
participants will work on their own projects using the non toxic techniques; plate preparation and working; etching: copper sulfate mordant in its different preparations and dilutions; the copper sulfate is a non toxic mordant which substitutes the highly toxic nitric acid; inking and printing of the plates.

Fabiola Mercandetti and Marco Innocenzi are burinists and engravers, and they promote the art of engraving with a special historical interest in technique development. Fabiola Mercandetti has written an essay on the history of burin intaglio technique from its origin to the twentieth century and in 2014 she published the book L’incisione Blu about non-toxic printmaking. She holds engraving courses at the Associazione Cattolica Operaia Tiberina di Roma.

Marco Innocenzi has specialized in the restoration of decorative schemes, with a deep knowledge colours and antique techniques.

They are interested in and have worked with copper sulfate, non toxic materials and methods since 2005. They are the curators of the website

The magic box: the Japanese theatre Kamishibai
Experimental workshop of printmaking illustration and story telling
tutors: Umberto Giovannini, Luca Ronga
26 July – 6 August 2015

This 12-day workshop born from the experience of the tutors, Umberto Giovannini and Luca Ronga, that work together for years on interdisciplinary artistic projects about Puppet Theatre: Umberto Giovannini is specialized in illustration and printmaking and Luca Ronga, actor an director, is specialized in story telling and puppets.
Kamishibai is a traditional Japanese images’ theatre originally used by story-tellers. It is a wooden case with inside cardboards printed front and back: on one hand the drawing and on the other the text. The audience is watching the illustrations while the story-teller acts the story. A little theatre in a suitcase that becomes a scenic place to create a strong involvement between the storyteller and the audience.
Starting from a text, a story or a narrative will be given, to each participant, the skill to create his own Kamishibai and animate it. Each participant will bring his own story to realize: from fairy tales to thrillers, from oral narratives to daily life stories: feel free, this path has many possibilities.
The stories will be divided into scenes according to the techniques of illustration and theatrical drama, experiencing new areas and possibilities, just like to create an illustrated book or write the play of a show.
Will be given, to each participant, the skill to create his own little theatre divided in ten illustrations made with the cardboard reliefprint technique. This technique borns from woodblock but allows an immediate approach, much more freedom, freshness and flexibility making the prints.
Under the guidance of Luca Ronga you will act your own Kamishibai in a big final Party.
Each participant will have, at the end of the workshop, his Theatre Kamishibai.

Umberto Giovannini is a multidisciplinary artist with a specific interest in printmaking. He has a passion for woodcut, for which he has developed some personal intaglio and printing techniques. Founder member of VACA, he is the director of the Opificio della Rosa a low environmental impact graphic centre. His practice is complemented with teaching on BA courses in Graphic Design and Printmaking since 1991. At the moment is Associated Lecturer in Graphic and Communication Design at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London and Visiting Professor at Rome Academy of Fine Arts.

Luca Ronga is working in the theatre since 1994 as actor-puppeteer, writer and director.
Since more than ten years directs his research towards puppetry, using puppets as a means of theatrical expression. The figures become for him a necessary contemporary expression. His shows are directed to children’s theatre and the adult set. For years, the company, trying to clear that common imaginary related to puppets, relegating themselves to a show just for children. His shows are recognized and rewarded by national and international theatre scene, its shows is appreciated in numerous festivals: Austria, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Ireland, Iran, Scotland, Spain, Ukraine and Hungary.

Linocut Workshop: Book of Monsters
Inspired by Ulisse Aldrovandi’s ‘Monstrorum Historia’
tutor: Nick Morley
18-23 August 2015

In this six day workshop you will make a small series of prints inspired by Ulisse Aldrovandi’s masterpiece ‘Monstrorum Historia’, a bestiary of mythical creatures first published in 1642. Each student will create two or three finished prints of their own imagined monsters.
At the end of the workshop all the prints will be editioned and put together into a book, for each of the students to take home a copy.
The workshop will include a visit to the Museo Aldrovandi in Bologna which holds over 3000 of the printing blocks used to print the original books of Aldrovandi as well as the surviving specimens from his collection.

During the workshop you will learn how to:
• Carve using a range of tools to make different marks
• Plan your design and transfer it to the block
• Control your carving to produce accurate lines
• Ink up the block properly and print by hand and on the press
• Create an edition of identical prints

The workshop will also cover an introduction to materials and tool sharpening.
We will warm up each morning with a short drawing session around the castle and village of Montefiore. Students will be encouraged to draw inspiration from the local animals and plants to inform their monster designs.

About Ulisse Aldrovandi

Ulisse Aldrovandi (Aldrovandus) (1522-1605) is considered by some to be the founder of modern Natural History. He studied humanities and law at the universities of Padua and Bologna, followed by a degree in medicine and philosophy. In in 1561 he became the first professor of natural sciencesat Bologna University. Arrested for his heretical ideas, he was held in Rome for a year, during which period he developed his interest in the natural world. He began making expeditions around (what it now called) Italy and collected vast numbers of animals, plants and minerals. In 1568 he founded Bologna’s Orto Bonanico (Botanic Garden) which still exists today. Aldrovandi published his Storia Naturale, in a volume of thirteen books, intended as a complete guide to the natural world. In addition he published several other volumes, including his Monstrorum Historia.

Nick Morley is an artist and illustrator who specialises in linocut. He has more than fifteen years of printmaking experience and has taught workshops at several venues including the V&A and Cenral Saint Martins. He has illustrated book covers for Penguin, Faber & Faber and Random House and he also makes his own books. Nick is the founder of Hello Print Studio in Margate.

Burin on copper 2: advanced level
tutor: Jürgen Czaschka
25-30 August 2015

This course, only for those who have practice in copper engraving techniques, is a unique chance to draw on the wealth of artistic experience that Czaschka has fine-tuned in more than thirty years of studying and experimenting with burin technique, of which he possesses unparalleled knowledge, from the classic to contemporary developments. A preliminary phase deals with preparation of the plate and methods of sharpening the tools. The central part of the course involves experimentation with different techniques of burin engraving on copper: morphology of the sign; the relationship between heavy and light signs; the rhythmicity of the hatching and the intersecting undulations of 16th century anatomy engravings; the synthetic linear sign. The course concludes with the final phase of inking, cleaning and printing the matrix.

Born in Vienna, Jürgen Czaschka is unanimously acknowledged as one of the most extraordinary living burin artists. He got his artistic training in Berlin at the end of the 70’s and has created works of extraordinary technical expertise and overwhelming expressive force that make him an undisputed master of this art.

Drypoint on plexiglass and Cyanotype
tutors: Gianna Bentivenga e Laura Peres
4-6 Septembre 2015

This 2 and ½ day workshop, is aimed at the study of printmaking through the combination of intaglio and photography with the use of drypoint on plexiglass and cyanotype.
By using the plexiglass as a plate – an intriguing material because his transparency and grain –, and cyanotype – the ancient technique of photo printing –, you will learn project’s methodologies, that will allow you to create images and develop ideas through a micro journey, along the trajectories of a new language to be discovered.
Each student will print an edition used to realize his own book, bounded with the Japanese technique, who each participant will take home.

Gianna Bentivenga, she graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. Since 1997 he began to devote himself to engraving. In 2006 he obtained a study to Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin where he will remain for a few months and will allow her to get in touch with many artists from around the world for a meaningful comparison in the field of art. In 2013 constitutes the cultural association INSIGNA where periodically organizes workshops aimed at disseminating the graphic art in all its aspects and also to the artist’s book typography. She has participated in several national and international events artisctiche.
She currently lives and works in Rome.

Laura Peres, after graduating from the Art School, in 2004 she moved to Rome and enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts where he graduated in painting in 2009. In parallel with her academic studies he graduated from the Roman School of Photography. Since 2011 she is professor of Editorial Photography at the International School of Comics and started working with the Printing House of the Tiber which becomes a member in 2013.