Master craftsman makes an impression

Photo of Mogens Johansen

Printmaking is one of the world’s oldest art forms and one of the most ancient ways of sharing knowledge.

The technique of duplicating images goes back several thousand years to the Sumerians, who conceived the idea of multiplication and the principle of the printing press.

They engraved designs and inscriptions on cylinder seals which, when rolled over soft clay tablets, left relief impressions.

Visitors to Margaret River can learn this ancient art form from Italian master printer Francesco Geronazzo who, after graduating from the Academy of Fine Art in Bologna, came to Australia to explore our unique plant varieties.

He now lives in Margaret River with his young family.

The courses explore traditional printing processes like etching on zinc and aluminium plates, and mono printing using seeds, stems and leaves collected from the bush to add texture and detail to the prints. The courses can be tailored to suit particular interests and the groups can range from two to 20.

They are suitable for all ages and a fun activity to do with a group of friends or as a family.

The Mono Printing course is the most popular. “It’s a different experience, it’s not just an art class — we sit down, have a chat, have a drink and some nibbles, and play with colours and shapes,” says Francesco. The course runs for 90 minutes and includes all the materials and the all-important wine and nibbles. Mono printing is the fastest and easiest technique, and each participant will print up to 40 prints which they can use as individual pieces or as one massive piece.

Francesco has a huge respect for nature and likes to collect things from the forest floor rather than snipping things off trees and bushes, but he encourages participants to bring their own things along to add texture if they have a particular interest or idea.

“People can bring anything that can leave a mark — it’s completely up to them,” he says. “They can bring stuff from home or stuff like seaweed they have found on the beach, but they don’t have to. If people are down here and want to do one of the classes on the spur of the moment, I will provide everything for the experience.”

Read the full story here.

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