I have recently returned from Florence and a workshop with Valentin
Yotkov, and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
The focus of our study was to use shade and shadow to create
dimension in working drawings, to be then translated into metal by
repousse. It was my second workshop with Valentin, the first being an
introduction to Chasing and Repousse at his studio in Brooklyn. It
was a reminder of my college studies in drawing and rendering and has
served to encourage me to add more dimension to all of my work. And
the ever patient Master Valentin was a wonderful teacher.
An intimate group of 8 met at the airport in Newark to fly to Rome
and then on to Florence where Sharon Fosko, Valentine’s assistant,
had arranged accomodations in a beautiful villa just a little outside
of the historical center of Florence; 20 minutes or so by bus. We
took classes on the terrace in the mornings and spent the afternoons
touring the Piti Palace, and the Uffici Museum and nearby Basillicas
viewing paintings, frescoes, sculpture and metalwork. At days end,
when we could absorb no more, we repaired to a number of wonderful
neighborhood restaurants to eat and drink and laugh, very easily
slipping into the 3 hour dinners of the Florentines. There was also
time made for shopping (the Ponte Vecchio!) touring a small family
owned silver workshop where chasing and repousse was the stock in
trade, and visiting the Bottega of Goldsmith Alessandro Dari. New
friendships were forged (especially with you April!) and old ones
renewed. It was like summer camp for metalheads!
This will be an annual workshop, our group having been the first of
what will hopefully be many more to come. A trip to Bulgaria next
year is already full, so if you are considering such an opportunity,
it would be wise to plan ahead. I know that Valentin will welcome any
inquiries, and can be contacted through
It was an experience I will never forget.