Sunday, August 30, 2009

More Book Arts Adventures with Mary Laird and Cathy DeForest

Our days at Santa Reparata have been filled with creativity and wonder. Participants have made books out of bags (the original idea for a bag book came from Betsy Davids of SF). Our photos tell our story: Kathleen Rydar of SF presents her idea for her bag book inspired by shopping adventures and Nancy Jo Mullen tells the tale of how important paper has been to civilization as she hold up a bag from one of our favorite paper stores. 
We also made solarplate etchings and turned them into a collaborative book bound with copper corners via Mary Laird's instructions. Cathy DeForest is shown here printing an etching from a photograph she took on her trip to the Venice Biennale. 
Participants also worked on a book based on a found object. Rebecca Dant can be seen here showing her book to Dan Welden documenting the glories of gelato in Florence. The book stands on gelato spoons gathered by fellow classmates.
Stay tuned for more book art photos as we gather them up to share with you. 

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dan Welden Teaching Solarplate Printmaking at Santa Reparta

Bottom row: Barbara Savadori, Michael Gaffney, Jacqueline Aust
Next row: Pamela Gordon, Susan Overill, Sue Doyle, Hanneke Barendregt, Dan Welden, Amy Orange, Theresa  Airey, Deborah Riley, Jill Landau Reich, Rosalind Weinberg,

Susie Overill, Barbara Salvadori, Pamela Gordon, Dan Welden, Michael Gaffney, Amy Orange, Cynthia Boynton, Rosalind Weinberg. 

  It was an international happening under the Tuscan Sun. We came from all over the world…Bermuda, Netherlands, New Zealand, England, USA, and Italy.  The studio was a cornucopia of sounds, languages, dialects and laughter. We were Professionals, teachers, writers. photographers, painters, mothers and fathers, all who wished to take a sabbatical from the real world and expand our true selves... our creative selves. We were living a dream many never get to experience. What better place than the heart of the Renaissance- Firenze?  Master printmaker, Dan Welden, was the glue that held us together and made it work. Dan was our leader- inspiring, encouraging, honest. He is a great teacher, artist and humanitarian. 
  We learned the technical side of printmaking…how to determine the density of a transparency, expose and develop a Solar-Plate, wiping a plate, adjusting the pressure on the press, and pulling a print. We learned techniques: creating collagraphs, chine collĂ©, making monotypes and monoprints.
The Santa Reparata School of International Art is a jewel in the heart of the city for all artists to come together and enjoy Florence, to experience what Italy and art is all about and a place to call home for those of us in a strange land.  We thank you Santa Reparata, we thank you Dan Welden for all your instructions, help and encouragement, and we thank Jessica Bayer, program administrator, who keeps Dan organized and took care of all the endless details that made these three weeks enjoyable and possible.  
Photographs and text written by Teresa Airey. Class portrait photograph by Cathy DeForest.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ben Long Teaches Digital Photography in Florence, Italy

Ben Long was an inspirational leader, who was knowledgeable, accessible and great fun! We each brought our photographs to a higher level and learned so much from one another as the weeks coalesced into an extensive search for images. Thanks to Ben, we travel home with a successful experience under our belts and friendships that will endure. Our work is our statement. Check out Ben Long's website: His book Complete Digital Photography is in its fifth printing. 

From left to right: Pat Beary, Barbara Kitzen, Carol Valstyn, Jessica Bayer, Ben Long, Judith Hochroth, Fraser Shein, Len Lea, and Erin Astrup
Photo of class by Susanna Lamania. Text and photography of work by Judith Hochroth.

Photographs of work by Judith Hochroth. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Printmaking in the sun of Firenze!

Michael Gaffney, Dan Welden, Elaine Bennett, Amy Orange

Jill Landau, Sue Crosby Doyle,  Rosalind Weinberg,
Jacqueline Aust, Hanneke Barendregt, Dan Welden

Photos by Theresa Airey and Cathy DeForest

Juliette Aristides' Classical Painting Students in SIRSA studio

Back row: Eileen Shaloum / Julie Barbeau / Zoe Franks / Toni Jones/ Charles Prutting / Aron Hart/ Juliette Aristides

Middles: Llewellyn Matthews / Stephen Brunner /Skia Laurence / Kristi Clarke / Kathy Troyer / Roger Clarke

Front: Elizabeth Zanzinger / Osamu Tanimoto /Sue Menkes / Tenley Dubois / Celeste Giordano

Juliette Aristides Teaching Classical Painting and Drawing in Florence, Italy

The Classical program instructed by Juliette Aristides focuses on learning foundational drawing skills. Surrounded by the beauty of FLorence we can not help but be inspired. We are joined by Carol Hendricks our resident art historian. In the morning Carol takes us to see artistic masterpieces and helps us put the work into context. Carol lead us on a path from early Renaissance in Venice, the middle period in Florence and the high Renaissance in Rome. Half days we are found drawing on location in front of a landscape, painting, sculpture or piece of architecture. 

Our day begins under the Loggia de Signoria, drawing the classical sculptures of Roman antiquity, followed by espresso and a trip to the many museums that house the treasures of the Florentine Renaissance. In the afternoon we move into the studio to work from the life model. It is here in the studio that we learn the theory behind the great art that we are looking at and how to incorporate it into our own work. We are enjoying this amazing opportunity to study the language of design as it has been handed down through the ages. Check out Juliette Aristides' art at:
Her books include: Classical Painting Atelier and 
Classical Drawing Atelier.
Photograph by Cathy DeForest

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Philippa Blair Painting Workshop In Florence

Dorothy Helyer in discussion with Philippa Blair

Paintings by Philippa Reed.

Kathy Birdsong, Phillipa Reed and Marion Vidal.

Photographs by Phillipa Reed.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Philippa Blair Painting Workshop In Florence

Philippa Blair is taking her class on a physical and metaphorical journey, exploring Florence, Fiesole and Venice, through archways, pathways, canals and history. We have crossed oceans and decades to come here and now we trudge pavements, board buses and bob along on vaporetti to uncover new layers of meaning before us and beneath us, oh and above us, but don't forget to watch your step and not trip.
We have stood transfixed in front of frescoes in medieval monkish cells and as well as taken in the bold graffiti next to the rows of bicycles and scooters to the doorway to our studio. We have gathered the materials for our journeys from favorite art supply stores, kitchen benches, pavements, hillsides and rubbish bins in the spirit of re-cycling and rediscovery. This is a personal exploration for all, as well, a "vulnerable journey of learning", so please treat our new steps and discoveries with care as we share them with you. Check out Philippa Blair's web site at:
Photos and text by Philippa Reed of New Zealand. From left: Philippa Reed,
Brett de Gregoria, Dorothy Helyer, Michelle Librett, Marion Vidal, Kathy Birdsong

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Samantha Budy discussing Fragmented Self Portrait with instructor, Kristi Colell. Myrna Ratcliffe and Jason Nyugen working.

Myrna Ratcliffe at work during the Mixed Media class session, August 16th.

Samantha Budy at work on watercolor
Fragmented Image.

Mixed Media Workshop with Kristi Colell

Kristi Colell, California Lutheran University art instructor, got her mixed media students off to a jump start by photographing their first impressions of the streets of Firenze early in the morning. Returning to the San Gallo campus, their slides were developed and the process of Polaroid Emulsion began. The Mixed Media class then joined Dan Welden and Juliette Aristides Solar Printmaking and Classical Drawing and Painting classes on a three day journey to the Venezia Biennale beginning August 10th.
Thee Venice trip inspired more visual information to incorporate into the students own artwork. In addition to the Biennale the Mixed Media class visited Ravenna and Bologna.(note attached photos) The group returned to the studio August 13th and began applying their Personal Italian Visual statements by incorporating the medias of watercolor, carbon lithography, solar plate collage, Polaroid emulsion, photo emulsion, collage and figure drawing. Photo: Kristi reviewing Sharon Dyer's Colors of Florence and fragmented in Florence ideas.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Letterpress printers: (left to right) Raffaella Macaluso, Diane Lea, Rebecca Dant, Maritza Davila, Elaine Bennett, Barbara Mortkowitz, Nancy Jo Mullen, Mary Laird and Kathleen Ryder (not in photo).

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mary Laird Teaching Letterpress in Florence

Mary Laird, book artist and letterpress printer came from Berekely, California to teach artist books at Santa Reparata. She reconditioned the Swiss printing press at the studio to get it in working order. After her magnificent introduction, the class went to work setting metal and wooden type for a book based on a medieval form of a laced binding with copper corners. The class used Bodoni metal type and and an assortment of wooden type to create the book. The book is entitled, Le Sorelle del Libro and will contain a collection of solar plate etchings created by each student. Mary Laird is proprietor of Quelquefois Press and teaches at the SF Center for the Book as well as in her home studio.

Ben Long Teaches Digital Photography in Florence, Italy

Deborah Riley Show "Quiet Moments" opens in Florence Italy

Current resident artist, Deborah Riley, opened her one person show at the SIRSA Contemorary Art Gallery in Florence, Italy on Thursday, August 14. Her stunning work is series of solarplate etchings which utilize her expertise in darkroom photography as well as printmaking. Her prints resemble mezzotints in value and tone and draw the viewer into another realm. She describes her work in this way: "My images are about finding the marks, merging photography and drawings with printing as the vehicle. The images are monoprints created on the surface of the plate. On a good print day, I find the quiet place where the marks seem to dwell. I invite the viewer to bring his or her own thoughts and feelings to the work. The subject matter can be interpreted to encompass such feelings and emotions as loneliness, despair, anger, and grief. It can also be interpreted to depict feelings of love, hope, joy, and perseverance. All the intertwining aspects of being human."
Deborah teaches her techniques in the US and abroad. More of Deborah's work can be viewed at

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Marbling Paper Demonstration in Florence

A small group of us visited Il Papiro at Via dei Tavolini 13r for a demonstration of the process for making marbleized paper. This is the paper often seen in the end papers for books and was originally intended to cover up the ends of the string used to bind the book. It is quite amazing to realise that all of these hand made papers are all different even if several sheets of the same design are needed, because of the nature of the process. The process begins with a shallow bath of about the size of the paper being used. This bath has a thin paste in it, a lot like paper paste, the consistency of which has a significant effect on the resulting print. Acrylic paint in a variety of colours is dropped into the bath, leaving a mosaic of paint drops on the surface. The next step is to drag a thin stiff wire through the pan leaving the beginnings of the worls that characterize marbled paper. The end design is shown in the attached photo. Paper is then carefully laid onto the surface of the design in the liquid and then carefully removed leaving the pattern on the paper. The design on the surface of the pan liquid is destroyed in the process. -Photography and text by Len Lea of Selma, Oregon

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Magnani Paper Mill Visit

The making of the new Magnani paper: Silk Revere. Photo by Maritza Davila

Dan Welden At Magnani Paper Mill

Francesco Natali giving a tour to book artists. Photo by Maritza Davila

Magnani Paper Mill Visit

Dan Welden led over seventy of us to the Cartiera Magnani Paper Mill. This mill was founded in 1404 and is a wonderment to behold. We were graciously hosted by Dr. Eng Renzo Angelo Cardini, CEO and his staff including Dott. Francesco Natali, the sales manager for Magnani. After being warmly welcomed by the mayor of Pescia and the assistant bishop of the region, we were given a tour of the paper mill. Located on the banks of the Pescia river, Magnani has printed security and currency papers since the 18th century, including the currency for Italy, Brazil. Chile, Iran and Thailand. Most impressive to all of us was seeing the machinery that produces some of the finest art papers in the world including their distinctive papers for etching, watercolor, serigraphy and lithography. On the cutting edge for over 600 years, Magnani is continuing this by producing a watercolor paper for digital printing as well as a new line of papers called Revere. We were able to touch the paper called "Silk Revere" on the rollers as it was being made.

After being wined and dined by one of the most delicious Tuscan meals many of us ever had, we of course bought papers that we will now print on back at Santa Reparata! We cannot recommend their papers enough! Check out their website: