Visiting Artist: Liz Shepherd

10 / March / 2016


10 March 2016

Liz writes about her experience as visiting guest artist at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica.

“I was fortunate to be invited to the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice as a visiting artist for six weeks. I traveled from Boston, where I own a print shop, which is rented by artists and where I also teach printmaking classes. I have an intimate knowledge of what it takes to set up and operate a print shop. It is because I have had this experience that I appreciate the thought and hard work that went into designing and equipping the Scuola’s print shop and the continuing work that is requred to keep it beautifully organized.


The shop has a whopping 8 etching presses, a litho press and an array of litho stones as well as other equipment, including a giant dinosaur of an automated paper cutter that can make quick work of slicing up stacks of paper. I don’t know if I would ever need to use it, but the printmaking geek in me wants one!


I so admire the vast selection of brayers, neatly arranged by size, gorgeously clean, hanging on the wall at one’s fingertips. Perhaps I am among the few who delight in the boxes of cut up phone book pages (in a selection of sizes!) sitting alongside one of the plate inking areas. Also, why didn’t I think of a box for lightly used gloves sitting next to the new gloves?

There are too many small but beautiful touches in the studio to mention here and, to be honest; I will be taking home (stealing?) some ideas for my own shop. I am definitely going to imitate the lending library of gouges: you write your name on a piece of paper and slip it into the lovely handmade gouge holder. Sigh. It is a thing of beauty to a nerdy printmaker like myself.


But most important, of course are the people who designed and who run the shop. It is Matilda’s brainchild and her hand is in everything. She is in the big ideas and in the details that have gone into making everything perfect. I have been listening in on her printmaking classes. It is clear that she has a devoted following; she is an exemplary instructor. All of her materials are neatly arrayed for the students before they arrive. Her demo is clear and flawless. Matilda’s staff talk about her creative work in reverential tones.



No studio could be as beautifully maintained as this one without an extraordinary shop manager. Roberta provides expert printmaking instruction and makes sure that the studio runs flawlessly. Generous in all things, she is full of information and wonderfully helpful.

My family and the folks that I abandoned at my own studio at home are thinking that I am having a little too much fun between working in this amazing space and running around Venice. I had better produce some great prints while I am here!”

Liz Shepherd
10 March, 2016

Liz is president of Boston Printmakers. More information on:

Liz Shepherd ➤

Boston Printmakers ➤