Begin again
January 1, 2016
waxing my third eye, Venice edition
January 20, 2016
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I am in Venice.IMG_2018

I arrived yesterday, after spending a couple of great days with my sister, her husband and my favorite nieces and one of my favorite nephews in Munich.IMG_0243

I am here on a fellowship at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica. I came with the goal of using their letterpress equipment and all kinds of fun stories have come to me around the printing of Joseph Brodsky’s Watermark by Peter Koch at Scuola. Before I arrived an acquaintance of mine told me a bit about the story behind Koch’s printing of it, involving floating a Vandercook #4 down the Grand Canal to Scuola so he could print it there. Once I arrived, another resident told me about it again. This is the press I will be using. It feels like there is all kinds of good and crazy juju with this press, for the Watermark printing was quite an ordeal, or so I have heard. I am looking forward to seeing proofs of it…I’m hoping it’s in the Scuola archives. We shall see.  And I had an LOL moment. This is the typecase layout:IMG_0245

Whoa, that is NOT a California Job Case. Of course not, I’m in Italy!

Everyone I have met in the past 30 hours has cautioned me about the letterpress equipment. That it’s totally a mess. I was prepared for a real nightmare, imagining some of what I cleaned and what my incredible interns cleaned over the years. (Thank you Carrie, Adriana, Sarah, Marli.) I investigated and determined it needs some love and attention, but that they have what I need to do something.  Who knows what that means!

Scuola’s type faces are a bit “dirty,” to use a letterpress term, (meaning the cases are mixed up by size and font), not too terribly, and very little cuts/forms. But what they do have fits into an every constant challenge of mine: time. I can’t WAIT to use these cuts.

I spent today, my first day, culling through my writings and readings, reviewing what I underlined and garnering it together with the hope of finding connecting threads. (Thank you Holly Wren Spaulding for the perfect blog post about just this today!) So far the circle seems tie it all together. No surprise there.

This was of course after a nice little run through San Marco and out to the Giardini, then a walk to an art supply store and finally arrival at Scuola. On the way home from Scuola, (which is on Cannaregio and my apartment is on San Marco) I stopped at Chiesa di Santo Stefano. My friend Marianne (brilliant pop-up and animation artist) inspired me to do what she did when she spent time in Venice, to visit a different church every day. So far I’m two for two! Wish me luck.

I’m here through February 20th, provided I don’t get too homesick. If you happen to be coming through, do let me know. I would love to do a cicchetti crawl with someone!


  1. Holly Wren says:

    You are off to a fine start, friend. I love the idea of seeing a new church (or building?) each day during your visit? This will be delicious.

    I hope you get to see the Brodsky.

    Lucky duck.

  2. where is your flat? If you take via XXII marzo, you must must must visit San Moisé (pron. moysay). San Pietro di Castello is phenom too. So glad you’re in my old digs. Let me know how you are.

  3. Addy Gale says:

    Recognize that handwriting? That’s my chart! Too funny that it is still hanging there after ten years.

  4. annei says:

    Lovely! Thinking of you!

  5. Constance Pierce says:

    Sending good thoughts your way, Melanie!
    Hope you brought a little Moleskine sketchbook.
    Don’t forget to sketch in the churches ~
    and everywhere else.
    Wishing you well!

    • Melanie says:

      Constance! Definitely. I will post soon about my little moleskin and the Niji water pen that you introduced me to so long ago!

  6. Kathleen says:

    Hi Melanie glad you arrived safely. What is a cicchetti crawl?

  7. Robin says:

    Very glad I took the time to read my friend! Fun adventure for you!

  8. Michelle (mom of Isaac) says:

    It all sounds wonderful, enjoy your experience!

  9. tara says:

    Oh to play with type, visit churches, sketch, and drink real cappuccino for almost two months… what a great way to start 2016! Have a wonderful time!

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