castlecastle-2_SAM6007press-2jesusscorpionepress-italy_SAM6297rooster street _SAM6228 _SAM6251 _SAM6259 _SAM6265The Surgo press.

_SAM6271The door to the studio.

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Having been very kindly offered the opportunity to spend some time at the Opificio Della Rosa Print Studio by Umberto Giovannini, director and founder of the studio, both myself and Wendy were able to take Umberto up on his offer in late June when we spent five fantastic and very inspiring days there.  As well as running and working in the studio, Umberto, amongst other things runs relief printing projects with FAD here at CSM.

Amazingly, dramatically and quite possibly uniquely, the print studio is situated within a 14th century castle. The castle overlooks the village and surrounding countryside of Motefiore in the Emillia Romagna region of Nortern Italy.

The thick, medieval stone walls of the studio along with the peace and quiet of the castle create a space and atmosphere of sepulchral, almost monastic calm that very much focus’s the mind. The downside to this is that the time seems to pass far too quickly!

The daily routine was pretty much up early for a stroll around the village taking photo’s, a bit of bread, olive oil and cheese then down to the café for a couple of strong expresso’s then up to the castle for a day of printing, or at least until middayish when it was back to the café/bar for a beer or two then back up to the studio.

I remember working a bit later than usual one evening and having to lock up the studio and castle gates in the dark which was pretty spooky especially for some one of a nervous disposition…..

As I would only have a short, (too short), time in the studio I had cut some small blocks at CSM based on an ongoing series of multiple exposure photo’s I’d been taking. I wasn’t expecting to end up with a finished body of work by any means, but wanted to be able to experiment with and develope them as a potential basis for a new set of larger scale woodcuts. The idea was to concentrate on printing the blocks in different order and colour combinations and just see what happened. I was also trying out the idea of incorporating blocks I’d simply drilled into to add extra layers to the prints. Working in a new studio I felt it was important to start some new work and to work in a way I hadn’t done before. In my work I usually build up the image/print from a single block, cutting it reductively during printing rather than working with multiple blocks. I was hoping this different approach would give me the scope for experimentation without having to actually spend time cutting blocks whilst there.

I also made a quick print of a scorpion…I’d never seen one before, their only small but a scorpion’s a scorpion! We also saw plenty of lizards, a few snakes and fire flies and one evening some wild boar near the castle…

Wendy worked on a series of monoprints that related to and developed a series of screenprints she’d been working on back at CSM.. Again, the idea was to be able to work in a different way and to work through as many new ideas as possible in the short time in the studio.
“Working in the Castle was an amazing experience, one that we intend to repeat and share with students.
The time in the studio was a combination of total focus, a divergent creative output within  an incrediable environment. A great local community, no tourists and off the wall moments, such as the time we found ourselves walking through a mass of fire flies, flitting around a dark patch of road – tiny moving natural lanterns.
I particularly benefited from the exercise of turning my hand to the small studies of mono prints, in giving myself the space and time to work simply and think through ideas immediately and practically, with a lightness of touch and no other agenda.”

Here’s the link to the studio…


Paul Dewis.  Scorpione. Woodcut 40 x 20 cmITALY DEXP PRINTSPaul Dewis. Multiple Exposure Woodcuts. 22 x 40 cm


Wood blocks for Multiple Exposure series.

paper cirlces 4-1.pngpaper cirlces 3-1.pngpaper circle 1-1.pngstudies in paper circles 2-1.png

Wendy Chapple. Monoprint Studies. 20 x 29cm.

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