Linocut workshop in Italy – Book of Monsters

Linocut workshop – Book of Monsters

Opificio della Rosa, Montefiore Conca, Italy

18th – 23rd August 2015

I’m running a linocut workshop in Italy this summer at Opificio della Rosa. The workshop runs over six days and takes place in a stunning medieval castle in the hilltop town of Montefiore Conca, an hour or so from Rimini on the Adriatic coast of Italy. During the week students will make a small series of prints inspired by Ulisse Aldrovandi’s masterpiece ‘Monstrorum Historia’, a bestiary of mythical creatures first published in 1642. At the end of the workshop the prints will be bound into a Book of Monsters, for everyone to take home a copy.


Ulisse Aldrovandi (Aldrovandus) (1522-1605) is considered by some to be the founder of modern Natural History. He built up a huge collection of animals, minerals and plants and in 1568 he founded Bologna’s Orto Bonanico (Botanic Garden) which still exists today. Aldrovandi’s most famous work is his Storia Naturale, a volume of thirteen books, which was intended as a complete guide to the natural world. In addition he published several other volumes, including his Monstrorum Historia, a collection of beasts and monsters.


The workshop includes a trip to the Aldrovandi Museum in Bologna, which holds over 3000 of the printing blocks used to print Aldovandi’s original books as well as the surviving specimens from his collection. Students will be encouraged to draw inspiration from this fascinating collection and use it to create their own mythical and magical monsters.

The workshop is suitable for beginners and those with some experience of linocut and printmaking. The first day will be dedicated to learning the basic skills of this versatile technique, including carving, mark-making, planning an image and printing. During the course of the workshop you will develop your linocut skills, using them to create two or three finished prints, which you will print in an edition. You will also learn some basic bookbinding and letterpress, although the main focus will be on linocut.


Opificio della Rosa is a very special studio. It is an inspiring place to work and I love going there to teach. Time seems to slow down and there are no distractions, apart from the amazing views from the studio windows and the temptation to drink coffee and explore the castle and town of Montefiore. The studio also contains a large collection of wooden and metal type, which students can use to give their creations names and to add the book title at the end of the workshop.

For more information about the workshop, where to stay and how to book, visit