|La Romita, as seen from the courtyard. Photo: Jena Shepherd|
I was at La Romita teaching “Immersive Printmaking” to a group of artists from Austin and Dallas, Texas: Lucy Flores, Marc Durbin, Chu Nui Pak, Jeff Smith, Camilla Cowan, Jena Shepherd, and Karla Barfield. My husband, Mike Brimberry, volunteered to assist us. My intention was to teach a printmaking workshop at La Romita that would concentrate on how to use water-based ink with polymer etching plates, called Solarplates, which could be etched with water instead of chemicals and I also wanted to guide the participants into trying unique and expressive printing methods. The Solarplate printmaking technique is a process that is a more non-toxic approach to printmaking and can be made even more so with the use of inks that do not require solvents. My group of artists, who joined in this adventure to do the workshop in Italy at La Romita, was ambitious to get to work. I launched into the first demonstrations of how to make and print the plates the second day we were there. For those of you not familiar with the Solarplate printmaking methods, we needed some equipment not usually found in most printmaking studios. La Romita had the glass and wooden exposure frames as well as a UV exposure box built for us. La Romita's Italian-made press worked well for the plates, and we brought magnetic inking and wiping pads to hold the plates. It didn't take long before the studio was buzzing with activity and creativity. The workshop participants were full of ideas and took full advantage of all our studio time. Our plan had been to spend most mornings visiting nearby Umbrian hill country towns and sites and to work in the afternoons. We amended that schedule and decided to work mornings and "play" afternoons and play we did by going to over ten different sites in Umbria during our fifteen days there.
|Immersive Printmaking Group with Ben and Enza. Photo: J.Shepherd|
|Karla Barfield (right) pulling a proof.|
I plan on coming back to La Romita in 2013, and am already imagining and planning the next workshop. Flatbed is considering offering two workshops during that session at La Romita. I look forward to being there once again and being with the good people there and other fellow artists.