Thread: New studio
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Old 06-22-2018, 05:54 AM
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joseph engraver joseph engraver is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Sarzana,Italy
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Default Re: New studio

“Watch yourself, Joseph, you’re falling in love. No, I will not let that happen again. It is much too painful. How can I ever trust a woman again?”
All these thoughts were going around in my head while walking up the winding
mountain road to school the following day.
“I’ll enjoy the affection but I’m not going to leave my heart unguarded. She is
nice though.”
I enjoyed the fresh early morning air, the new tennis shoes giving
wings to my heels.
I do not know exactly what happens when someone enters into a relationship.
Perhaps you smile more, walk differently, or glow. It did not take long for my art
teacher to notice. The whole school knew the American had met someone.
In fact, the whole town knew.
Signor Campanelli, my art teacher, was my friend at school. We could
communicate by drawing.
“A woman?” he asked.
I nodded my head. He smiled and patted my shoulder.
Signor Giovanelli’s youngest daughter Maria was about to celebrate her seventeenth birthday. A party for her to be held at the villa and all the students could bring a guest. I decided to ask Franca to accompany me.
That night after school, I walked up to her apartment and rang the gate bell. Suddenly two heads appeared over the third story balcony, Franca and her younger sister Giuliana.
They looked down and started laughing. Franca had just noticed that I was quite bald.
“Would you like to go to the school Thursday night with me? One of the students
is having her birthday party.” I asked.
“What time is the party?” The giggling Franca replied.
“7 p.m.”
“I’ll pick you up at the hotel,” the still-smiling Franca whispered, as she disappeared behind the balcony doors.
Thursday evening, I had just taken an icy shower and was naked except for a
towel; I hurried back to the room to towel off and dress for the party, my skin
covered with goose bumps from the cold. I entered the room, shut the opaque
glass door, stripped off the towel, and started drying my body. Suddenly, I heard
Franca’s voice from the other side of the closed door.
“Are you in there, Joseph? It’s me …”
She is twenty minutes early. I have never known a woman to be early in my
entire life.
“Just a minute,” I called out while grabbing the towel and re-wrapping my
body just as the door opened.
I could not stop myself from staring. She was so beautiful.
In her arms, she was carrying a large bouquet of flowers composed of gladiolas,
ferns and a flower I had never seen before called a “bird of paradise.” Not knowing
what to do, I just stood there open-mouthed, hanging onto the towel.
“You can’t go to Maria’s birthday party without bringing her a present,”
Franca said. “I brought these for you to give her”
Bang! I fell in love with her at that very moment. I knew she was created for
me. It was not long after that she invited me to live with her in her apartment.
She has been my constant friend, confidant, and advisor since that day.

June 20th, 1982
Dear Universal Mind
Thank You for answering my prayers. I am happy. Happier than I’ve ever been in
my entire life, Franca is wonderful, full of life, honest, loving, caring, and intelligent.
Everything I have dreamt of. I promise I will love and cherish her until I die …
That I will always be honest and truthful, that I will live my life in such a manner
That You shall be proud of me.
I know that you exist and that you care for your creations provided they care for themselves
Gone with my loneliness were also the last obstacles at school. Soon I was learning the more advanced techniques of engraving: precious metal inlay, relief, sculpting, and the art of printmaking were also part of my studies. I was impatient to cut my own designs.
Like any other artist, I wanted the work to be my own, to be original. Maestro Sanzgoni would not allow me that freedom.
“If you want to be a good engraver, you must copy the other engravers
works,” he kept reminding me
“Here,” he would say pointing to the photo of a model 70 Winchester rifle floor plate. “This is good engraving. You copy this.”
The months at school flew by. My time with Franca and her gentle ways
started the healing process and I stopped having those horrible night mares.
Franca would always pay for our trips to restaurants, weekends in Florence, days on Lago d’Iseo, a trip to Bolzano, Rimini.
Every time we would go somewhere, I would protest that she was spending too much money.
“I’ll pay now. You can pay later. She would say. You cannot worry about
money. You must concentrate on your engraving.”
From my journal
Dear Universal Mind,
Please grant us these three wishes:
That we will always remain deeply in love
That we will always have good health
That we will have enough wealth to enjoy the world you created.
Joseph and Franca
My love for Italy, its people, its food and culture grew with every day that
In August after the summer holidays, I returned to school and started engraving my own plates. The plate I had been working on at school was a very thick block of steel. When one side was full of practice, engraving the plate was taken to the machine shop where it was milled down of the work and the apprentice engraver would start over. I knew that one day I would be leaving school and I needed to have a portfolio of my work. I asked my Maestro if he could get some stainless steel plates for me to engrave on.
The day of departure from Giovanelli’s Bottega d’Incisione came sooner than
I wanted. Franca and I were really starting to discover one another. We would
hike in the hills of Gardone, laughing and holding hands like children. She was
carrying the weight and I was worry free. One morning at the start of school,
Cesare Giovanelli sent for me and informed me that school was over. I shook my head not understanding. School was supposed to take three years. I loved school; I did not want it to end.
His interpreter explained to me that I had been an exceptional student and had learned all there was. That it was now time to return to the United States where my work would become my teacher.
From my journal:
Have decided to leave Italy about September 15. But before leaving I will cut six more practice plates and make each one better than the last. When the last one is done it will be some of the finest engraving seen in a long time.

The realization that I must soon return to the United States carried with it a
bag of mixed emotions and decisions. Franca was in the middle of it.
I was very much in love with her. I was sure she was in love with me.
She referred to our first meeting as me being a naked man. I had no hidden agenda. I thought of her as a woman who was honest. If she could love me at the lowest
point of my engraving career, she would not destroy me once I had become successful.
"What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life by him who interests his heart in everything"-Lawrence Sterne
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