Collage as a Visual Language with Berri Kramer, March 26 - April 1, 2023

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Join Berri Kramer in the spectacular Italian countryside for an extraordinary workshop where you’ll learn how to use collage as a visual language. Surrounded by the beauty of Italy, you’ll discover the process of creating personal imagery while looking at and using materials in a new way.

COLLAGE What is it?

The history of Collage goes back to the Cubists. The technique of Collage upended the fine art world when the cubists incorporated bits of newspaper and printed wallpaper into their paintings. Collage is a method combining real world objects, images and ephemera into a single work. With Berri’s expert instruction, you’ll print on a variety of papers, utilizing the Gelli plate to achieve dimensional textures, as well as learning many important techniques that can be applied to any art form. In addition to both small-group and personal instruction, you’ll enjoy excursions to medieval hill towns and delectable, chef-prepared meals at your 17th century villa accommodations.

ABOUT Berri Kramer

Berri Kramer grew up in Lincoln, Massachusetts and spent as many hours as she could in the studios at DeCordova Museum. She earned a BFA in Design and Crafts from Kent State University and a Masters in Fiber from Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. Berri was the founder and President of Heartwood College of Art which thrived in Maine for 25 years.

” My work reflects the blocks of color and patterns that surround all of us everyday. I am fascinated by the tools and tracks that are unintentionally left behind. …a fiber remnant, a letter or a feather. The exercise in choosing from endless imagery and palettes, and editing it to distill the message, has become my practice in every medium. Often the scale of these snippets is exaggerated or reduced to take the viewer away from the ‘assumed’. The simplest forms can often tell the greatest story.”


  • Discovering what you love in the process of creating personal imagery
  • Collecting ephemera and found materials that capture your voice
  • Editing materials and considering surface design as a language
  • Looking at and using materials in a new light, and as a visual element
  • Discovering a personal sense of design
  • Creating compositional energy and drama
  • Approaching basic design by recognizing the importance of scale and value within a given perimeter
  • Printing on a selection of papers (rice, mulberry, tissue…)
  • Using a Gelli plate to achieve texture and a personal palette
  • Printing with vintage letterpress type to create pattern and imagery
  • Using stencils, graphite and tissue to add depth and translucency
  • Adhering a variety of material and ephemera to a substrate
  • Revisioning a piece as part of the process
  • Participating in a group critique to learn the language of art
  • Editing, simplifying and finishing a piece to be matted


Day 1 ~ Sunday, March 26: Arrival

  • Welcome and trip orientation with Berri and Susan
  • Aperitivo, dinner

Benvenuti in Italia! Upon arrival at Rome Fiumicino Airport our private drivers will transport you to the Italian countryside, and your boutique hotel accommodations in the unspoiled village of Città della Pieve. After check in, you’ll enjoy a brief walking tour in the historic center of the village with trip facilitator, Pamela Haack. Then it’s off to the art studio with Berri and Susan as they give an overview of collage itself – with samples of what you can expect during this exciting workshop. Afterwards, it’s time to gather for a friendly aperitivo, followed by a delicious, regional-style dinner.

Day 2 ~ Monday, March 27: Studio Time & Bruschetta

  • Highlights: Instruction and projects with Berri and Susan, bruschetta lesson
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner

This morning, after breakfast, you’ll join Berri and Susan for a full morning session as you explore the papers in an ephemera packet. Then it’s time to set up and make gelli prints, with different textures and a variation of palettes, on rice paper, tissue paper, copy paper, dictionary pages, book pages and more.

Lunch today will be served up at nearby Mon Cafe, followed by an afternoon session with Berri and Susan that includes a discussion of design, hue and value. Using magazine pages, ephemera and gelli prints, you’ll make several 3″ x 3″ studies. You’ll also learn to use the “sanding” technique on magazine pages and explore the concept of working in a series.

This evening we’ll walk to a private home for aperitivo and a mini-lesson on bruschetta (with an exceptional local olive oil, of course!), then on to our favorite, family-owned trattoria for a dinner featuring local specialties.

Day 3 ~ Tuesday, March 28: Orvieto & Aperitivo 

  • Highlights: Excursion to Orvieto, marbled paper lesson with Lamberto
  • Breakfast, dinner

This morning, after breakfast, it’s off to the magical hill town of Orvieto, situated on a stunning, rocky outcropping with sweeping views of the Val d’Chiana below. In this ancient city, you’ll be meeting up with our friend, Lamberto – a paper and printing expert – for a fascination lesson on marbled paper – a technique used in Italy for centuries. After designing your own sheet of marbled paper with Lamberto’s assistance, you’ll have time to explore the winding avenues of town (a stop in the magnificent cathedral is a must!), and to enjoy lunch on your own at any one of Orvieto’s inviting trattorie.

This evening you’ll enjoy aperitivo, along with a wrap-up of the day with Berri, followed by dinner at Ristorante Lo Zafferano.

Day 4 ~ Wednesday, March 29: Pasta Making & Saffron

  • Highlights: Instruction with Berri and Susan, pasta making lesson, saffron tasting and painting
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

After breakfast this morning, you’ll join Berri and Susan for a morning session in the studio where you’ll make pages of “ink” textures, and print with vintage letterpress on tissue and found papers. Then, it’s off to our friend, Cristian’s bistro for an oh-so-fun pasta making lesson – plus a tour inside his 15th century cantina. Lunch follows, featuring your hand made pasta, of course.

This afternoon, it’s back to the studio with Berri and Susan as you complete black and white studies (visual note taking) and then begin working on the first of your 6” x 6” pieces, while learning how to edit and find what you love.

In the late afternoon, we’ll view a masterpiece by Renaissance artist, Perugino, then continue Alessandro’s saffron shop, where you’re in for a treat as you take part in an inspiring painting session using saffron “watercolor”, followed by a saffron tasting and casual aperi-cena (aperitivo and dinner).

Day 5 ~ Thursday, March 30: Studio Time & Pizza

  • Highlights: Instruction with Berri and Susan, pizza night
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning, after breakfast, it’s off to the onsite studio with Berri and Susan for an inspiring morning session that includes layering with tissue, along with using stencils, pencil and graphite. Plus you’ll be learning how to seal marks. Lunch will be served at Mon Cafe.

After lunch it’s back to the studio with Berri and Susan as you work on your project, followed by some free time to rest and recharge.

This evening you’ll join our friend, Paola, for a short walk to a cozy cafe in the piazza, where she’ll teach you her best kept secrets for enjoying a true Italian aperitivo. Afterwards we’ll enjoy pizza together at our friends’ wood-fired pizzeria.

Day 6 ~ Friday, March 31: Studio Time & Farewell

  • Highlights: Instruction with Berri and Susan, farewell aperitivo and dinner
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner

After breakfast this morning, you’ll join Berri and Susan for another full morning session as you complete additional 6″x6″ pieces, including layering techniques.

After lunch, it’s time for a final afternoon session where you’ll learn various mounting and presentation options. Plus, get ready to choose your best 3″ x 3″
work for a final matting, followed by a grande finale Art Show. A special aperitivo accompanies the show, followed by a delicious farewell dinner.

Day 7 ~ Saturday, April 1: Departure

Early morning transport to Rome Fiumicino Airport.

ACCOMMODATIONS ~ Boutique Hotel Vannucci

Hotel Vannucci began as a project of Vittoria Spinola, daughter of King Vittorio Emanuele II, who fled Pisa (and an arranged marriage with her elderly husband) to start a new life with her lover in Città della Pieve. Here, she and her soon-to-be new husband, Paolo, built two villas that became luxurious holiday accommodations for wealthy Romans vacationing in the countryside. In 1903 one of the villas became Hotel Vannucci, and today it maintains the elegance and refinement of its inception, with luxurious sleeping rooms, marble bathrooms and inviting gardens. A stay here is truly special, nestled just outside the medieval walls of the historic, and unspoiled, village of Città della Pieve.

VIEW Photo Gallery


  • Daily, individualized instruction with Berri Kramer
  • 7 days/6 nights at elegant Hotel Vannucci
  • Private van service pick-up on arrival and departure days (Rome Fiumicino Airport)
  • Private van service to/from all towns and sites included in the itinerary
  • Day trip to Orvieto
  • Excursion to Città della Pieve
  • All abundant breakfasts
  • 5 Lunches
  • All Dinners, featuring local wines
  • Evening aperitivo hour
  • Bruschetta with olive oil tasting
  • Marbling demonstration
  • Saffron tasting and painting
  • Pizza night
  • Lessons, demonstrations, presentations and individual instruction with with Berri Kramer and assistant Susan Wilder.
  • Paper packet #1 (for Gelli printing)
  • Paper Packet #2 (ephemera)
  • Gelli Plate, Brayer, matte medium, stencil, brush (for you to keep!)
  • Also supplied: Gelli printing paint, letterpress ink, sumi-e ink

Not included: Airfare, meals, alcoholic drinks, buses, trains or boat transportation outside of that which is specifically listed in the trip package, gratuities for staff and drivers

The Unexpected is Part of the Journey: Although we are weaving amazing, authentic experiences into this trip, sometimes unexpected things come up. If a site has an unscheduled closing, we improvise to include something equally as wonderful and interesting. The quality of the trip is never at risk, as our hosts at Strada Toscana are committed to excellence, along with their vast Italian connections.

Collage as a Visual Language with Berri Kramer


  • 6 Nights
  • March 26 – April 1, 2023
  • A $500 deposit is required to book your space on this trip.
  • Trip Price (choose your room configuration upon booking)
    • $3,590 USD per person – Single Occupancy Classic Room (double bed, walk-in shower)
    • $3,790 USD per person – Single Occupancy Superior Room (double bed, more space, tub with shower)
  • Terms and Conditions