Linocut and letterpress residency in Italy

I just got back from Italy, where I was making a new artists book at Opificio della Rosa in Montefiore, near Rimini. This is the studio where I will be teaching a linocut and letterpress workshop in August. The studio is in this medieval castle:

Montefiore castle
Opificio della Rosa has an amazing collection of old wooden type, belonging to Umberto Giovannini who runs the studio. Umberto was very generous in allowing me free access to the type and the printing presses.
Umberto Giovannini unpacking wooden letterpress type

The aim of my residency was to design and edition a book based on Pinocchio. This is a project I started last year but I only really had a rough idea of what I wanted to achieve then. More recently I’ve been reading the original Collodi version of the book, in Italian with an English translation (I was mainly reading the English pages!)

While reading the book I started noticing the use of onomatopoeic words (words that sound like their meaning – splash, boom etc) and I decided to base the book on these.  Having picked out all the onomatopoeic words I selected the ones that were most interesting and started to play with the old wooden letterpress type in the studio.

Inking up some wooden type
Some of the letterpress and linocut elements of the book

My interest was in combining text and image in an unusual way and also in combining letterpress with linocut. It was a real luxury to have the studio to myself for a week to just play around and experiment.

Linocut donkey tail and ears

Positioning the wooden blocks

Here are three spreads from the finished book. I still have to bind it and finish the cover. I’m hoping to show it at the KALEID 2012 artists’ book event in July. The book is cleverly called Onomatopinocchio. Click on the images for larger versions.

Geppetto carves the block of wood which cries Ohi!

The cricket speaks: cri-cri-cri

The cat and fox stab Pinocchio: zaff e zaff!