Katherine Brimberry departed about a week ago for home with her group of print-makers.  We know that Flatbed Press in Austin is one of the best print-making studios in the country, but we didn’t know how entertaining and inspiring it would be to shake this place up with Katherine’s innovative techniques.  To call her processes “green” would be perhaps confusing in the world of art, where green is a pretty established concept.  We can call them “non-toxic.”  The power of the sun and an old hand cranked plate press were all she needed to construct amazing works of art.  Enza, being a print-maker herself, was right in the middle of things.  This is a workshop we will definitely offer again…tentatively in September 2013.  You can see a few examples of Katherine’s work at at Flatbed Press’s site, here.

It is perhaps illuminating to explain what it is about our workshops that make people time and time again praise their experience here as a high point in their year, their travels, their lives.  Early on in their stay here people often ask me to go along on the trips to the hill towns…partially to take advantage of my familiarity with the places and the history, but also maybe to feel more secure in a foreign environment, with a foreign language and unusual customs.  A couple of years ago after hearing my descriptions of Terni, our host city and not usually a tourist destination, a group of twenty asked me to come along to show them the hidden jewels of our host town.  After the compulsory gelato stop, we lost a couple of people to an interesting textile shop, then a couple more to leather goods, others to interesting ancient chapels and ruins of a roman amphitheater.  By the time we arrived at the Cathedral of Terni, the beginning of our tour, Helen Dayton, of Greenwich CT, was my only listener…and it turned out that she’s something of an expert on iconography in renaissance painting, so I just listened to her.

Some variation of this has happened numerous times.  The point is that once your base of operations is taken care of, your needs are being met and your belongings are stowed, when you don’t have to choose restaurants and you don’t need train schedules or bus information, the explorer inside you is set free.  Once our bus hits town, you are free to go in any  direction—and find a painting spot or a café or a museum or climb to the top of a bell tower or hike the ramparts or find a quiet corner in the courtyard of a castle…or maybe just to shop. (Even with the exchange rate fluctuating, Umbria is still a shopper’s paradise.)  Whatever you wish, you know that at the assigned time our little air-conditioned bus will be waiting in the shade to take you home…to your home away from home at La Romita.  I know that phrase is a bit over-used, but we hear it time and again.  It has always been a major part of Enza’s and Paola’s dream and we will do everything we can to make it come true.

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