Today is our first working day at the studio. I’m quite looking forward to it. Last week we went to scope out the studio and it was large, well equipped and pleasant with its own kitchen and bathroom. I am here with my friends Daphne and Nicki. Daphne is a bookbinder, and Nicki is a photographer.
Through our combined efforts, we’ve been able to chat people up and they have given us enough materials for free to make many more prints than we need to. We will give them a print to thank them if it all goes well. People have been really helpful and informative if we tell them what we want and what we are doing. Daphne’s Italian has been amazing. I have asked her to try and find out where there might be a luthier, where I might be able to buy beeswax, where we might be able to find a commercial lithographer, and although she doesn’t know the correct vocabulary, she is able to get a response from people which allows us to follow up and achieve what we want to.
First thing we are going to a commercial lithographic printer to collect a lot of large used aluminum plates. We need to get there early, before the tourists want to go to Murano, so that the vaporetto isn’t too crowded, and we don’t inconvenience people with our large package. He at first offered to give us used ones that were still dirty with ink, but then he decided to give us clean ones, found us a sturdy box to put them in, and he will make a handle for the box to make it easy to carry.
We are making rubbings of textures we find in the streets of Venice. It does create a bit of a stir! The sight of three women of advanced age squatting on the ground with charcoal and paper attracted a crowd three deep at times. It was my idea to do this : I thought the rubbings would be a reference for the work we will produce, a way of getting a sort of intimacy with the city, and also a simple introduction to printmaking for Nicki and Daphne.
We also had a discusion about making a book from our rubbings, the photos we are taking and prints, locally sourced papers, fabrics and so on. So, we’re collecting material for this project, too. Daphne will be in charge of this – telling us what sizes to make the pages and so on. We won’t have time or material to make it here in Venice, but when we go home we can do it. It will be a record of our time here, and a reference book for future work.
Nicki has been in charge of navigation, and has done a wonderful job in a city notorious for it’s complexity and difficulty.
We are loving our time here.