Reduction Block Printing 101 with Mary Bruno

Saturday, June 30, 2018 9am - 5pm

Hippocrates, of medical oath fame, was also the first to say, ars longa, vita brevis — “art is long, life is short.” Occasionally, those tables are turned and it’s the life that’s long and the art that’s short. That’s the case with reduction linoleum prints. As you work on them, you’re actually destroying the source, so when your print is finished, it is truly finished, never to be printed again. If you can wrap your head around that, then your heart, hands, and eyes will savor this workshop.

In this truly hands-on workshop, you’ll spend a day learning how to print a multicolor poster from one linoleum block, Mary Bruno’s specialty. Through a series of progressive carvings and press runs, the image emerges while the actual linoleum block is destroyed. Attendees will learn first-hand how to prepare artwork, transfer the artwork to linoleum, and the proper use of carving tools. At the end of the day you'll be able to trade prints with your workshop mates and take a edition of your posters home. Feel free to bring an idea or simple sketch to be transferred onto 5"x7" linoleum block, then be prepared to get inky. All supplies and paper will be provided.

  • Choosing the best type of images for reduction linocut printing
  • Examples of successful reduction linoleum printed pieces
  • Selecting the right carving tools and plan the size of your block
  • Planning your color scheme and overprinting techniques to create multiple-colors
  • Visualizing the many stages your print will go through as your block reduction progresses
  • Operating a Vandercook cylinder press for best results

Mary Bruno is letterpress printer in St. Joseph, Minnesota, where she runs Bruno Press, a print shop started by her father, design professor, Don Bruno. As you might expect, Mary’s love for printing and skill for the craft came from her father, whose memory she honors every time she carves linoleum, handsets wood or lead type, or prints a broadside. Mary produces an irreverent line of greeting cards that are sold nationally, and she has also been involved in organizing travelling exhibitions of letterpress.

This workshop is for any designer or printer who is interested in creating unique hand-carved illustrations. This style of printmaking is doable whether you have access to a printing press or not. You must bring an idea or simple sketch to transfer to a linoleum block for printing

The workshop runs from 9am until 5pm. Please wear comfortable shoes and clothes that may get ink on them. The cost is $125 per person with the museum providing all the materials you need. If you would like to bring your own carving tools you can.

Space is limited, so registration and a $65 non-refundable deposit is required. The $60 balance is due at the beginning of the workshop. Cash, credit cards and checks are accepted. Because of the nature of the pressroom and the pieces being used participants in the workshop must be 18 years or older. Please fill out the registration form below to reserve your place in the workshop. If you have any questions please e-mail us at or call 920-794-6272.


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