CREATIVE WORKSHOPS & RESIDENCIES in Spain
Escape the busy world. Allow yourself time and space, develop
your artistic skills through tuition, inspiration and practice
Photogravure printmaking originated in the late 1800s and is widely regarded as the most challenging, labour-intensive and beautiful of the photographic printing processes. A photogravure, or photo-etching, print is produced by mechanically pressing a sheet of paper onto an etched, inked metal plate. The result is a beautifully detailed print with a full tonal range from deep blacks to bright highlights. Unlike other photographic prints where the image lies on the surface of the paper, with a photogravure, the image is literally pressed ‘into’ the paper. Due to the nature of the process, each print is a unique, hand-crafted object, with a depth and textural feel unlike anything else in this age of mass digital printing.
The modern version of the process, referred to as polymer or solar-plate photogravure, is a low-toxic alternative to the chemically hazardous copper-plate etchings of the past. It combines the precision and health improvements of modern technology with the manual craft of the traditional process to produce photographic prints of astounding beauty and refinement.
I teach direct-to-plate (DTP) polymer photogravure, a further improvement on the process made possible using modern Epson printers. DTP simplifies a complicated process and eliminates the need of a vacuum frame, transparency films, stochiastic (aquatint) screens and potential problems associated with double exposures. I use a calibration method that is simple but accurate, ensuring a full reproduction of tonal values in equally measured steps, from rich blacks to bright highlights. The DTP approach allows the printmaker to concentrate more on creative matters than on technical ones.
You will learn how to print a calibrated photographic image onto a polymer metal plate, expose it to UV light and etch it by processing it in water. Oil-based inks are rolled onto the plate and pressed into the etched grooves. The plate is gently wiped to reveal the image. The deeper grooves retain more ink than the shallower ones, corresponding to the tonal range of the image. Then the plate is positioned on the bed of a traditional printing press with a dampened sheet of paper placed on top of it. They are rolled - or ‘pulled’ - through the press, and the always exciting result is a unique hand-crafted photogravure print.
The print studio is fully equipped for polymer photogravure printmaking, digital image processing and Giclée inkjet printing. The equipment includes a UV light exposure unit, indoor/outdoor exposure meters, a 50-year old Harry Rochat cast iron etching press, a digital printing station with a calibrated Eizo monitor and an Epson SC-P800 A2 printer. For photography classes I have a small studio suitable for portraiture and still-life, with pro-lighting, stands, backdrops and props, plus there are numerous places around the property for studio-backdrop set-ups and outdoor photography.
The materials for photogravure printmaking will include Toyobo polymer plates, Charbonnel oil-based inks and a range of quality etching papers. Inking tools, gloves, wiping cloths, studio aprons, cleaning supplies, paper towels, etc, will be provided. There are sufficient materials for the course. Additional plates and papers can be purchased if needed.
There is a small library with an ecelectic collection of books on art and other subjects which you are welcome to browse through.
The workshops are held at Casa da Cabaza, a rural B&B and creative retreat centre located on the shores of a countryside lake in rural Galicia, northwestern Spain. Charmingly renovated from an old stone farmhouse, it has four spacious rooms with double beds and one room with two single beds. All the rooms have private bathrooms and ample storage space. Linen, towels and weekly room cleaning are included. Several rooms have writing desks. Let us know if this is necessary for your stay.
Casa da Cabaza provides the accommodation, meals and drinks for the duration of workshop courses. The food is delicious and healthy, mostly vegetarian, organic and locally sourced. Dietary requests can usually be accommodated if notified in advance.
Casa da Cabaza is a peaceful, creative place in a beautiful location. Far from the busy world and close to nature, it is ideal for learning and developing new ideas and work. It is also our home, and that of our dogs, horses, cats and free-ranging chickens. In our spare time we enjoy gardening, horse riding, reading and writing, cooking healthy meals, music and connecting with the nature and life around us.
The ethos at Casa da Cabaza is similar to the philosophy that shapes our permaculture-inspired, organic vegetable garden and our approach to horse training. We aim to create an environment that allows for the growth and development of both the individual and the collective in a holistic and respectful manner. A greater learning and sharing of knowledge, ideas and inspiration, is achieved through connecting and (partially) working with others.
For more info see Casa da Cabaza
WHAT OTHERS SAID
“Thank you for your patience and skill as a teacher. It was a privilege to experience your passion and expertise. Casa da Cabaza is a marvellous place to be; the energy is calm and it allows for space to think and to wonder.”
“The workshop was exceptionally well planned, with a super smooth workflow and generous sharing of knowledge. It was a unique experience and cannot be recommended highly enough!”
“Thank you for all your help, technical advice and hard work. The workshop was extraordinary and it feels like I have made a huge leap forwards with my craft. I learned so much and enjoyed it a lot. So much was achieved.”
“I am so grateful for the quality of the instruction, plus the exquisite experience of staying at the heaven of a place at Casa da Cabaza.”