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Small World, Milanese Connection, First Writer

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Our old friend, Barbara Mason (from the Atelier Meridian in Portland, Oregon), was kind enough last summer to recommend my etching workshop to a friend called Mary Marjerrison. Mary showed up a couple of weeks ago with her friend, the author, Nancy Tomasetti, the Gallinero’s first writer. Did they come from Oregon? No, they came from Milan, Italy, where they both live. It’s a small world. Hence the silly title of this post.

Mary Marjerrison in Maureen Booth's studiooMary, who works in administration at an international school in Milan was able to rob a week for printmaking thanks to the very civilized Italian tradition of the “Settimana bianca,” a week off school in March. Perhaps it’s because she was previously an art teacher, or because of her high energy level (How many grandmothers do you know who run marathons?), but Mary got straight down to work, preparing her solar-print acetates in the Gallinero in the evenings and showing up in the studio each morning prepared to burn the images onto plates.

Perhaps her efficiency in the studio also had to do with the fact that she didn’t have a lot of experience with solar plates and was eager to learn. It’s often more difficult to work with people who already know a lot about the subject. Maybe that’s why the Chinese say, “Before you can fill a glass it must be empty.” I think she made more successful prints in one week with me than most artists make in two. Even so, Mary insists that she didn’t have enough time and that she needs to come back and do some more work as soon as possible. That’s excellent news.

While Mary and Maureen were in the studio all morning every Maureen and Mary in the studio
morning, Nancy stayed ensconced in the Gallinero with her feet up by the fire and her laptop on–you guessed it–her lap.

The first thing they did when they arrived was to reorganize the furniture in the kitchen, relegating the little Spanish-style kitchen table with the warming brasero (brazier) under it to a rear corner, dragging the old coffee table out of the pantry and swiveling the sofa around so it faced the wood stove. (It worked well; we left it that way.)

Nancy is from New York but studied in Wisconsin. She still has a house on the shores of Lake Michigan, and goes back there ever summer to spend time with old friends and family.

Nancy Tomasetti working in the GallineroBesides working on her latest short story, Nancy, who had never visited the Alhambra, took a morning off work to see Granada’s–and one of Europe’s–prime tourist attractions, and one of the few which actually lives up to its advanced billing.

In all, I couldn’t have hoped for a more rewarding visit from these two charming Milanese-American artists.Nancy Tomasetti

2 Responses

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  1. Dear Mike,
    I was glad to find this story, written 15 March 2011, because I was beginning to worry that you or Maureen might not be well. As before, the description here confirms my estimation of how nice the 2 wks. in July I have planned in Maureen’s studio will be. Please look for my emails and try to advise me on transport. Thanks!

    Cathy Naro

    March 16, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    • Hi Cathy,

      I’m going to answer you here, as I have the suspicion that you’re not receiving our emails. We’ve answered them all, but after answering the next to the last one, we received the same questions again the next day, as if you hadn’t received our reply. We’re well, thank you, and looking forward to your visit in July. Please tell me where you’re flying from and where you’re landing in Spain. The usual places are Madrid and Málaga. Often you can get a cheaper flight to Málaga, and from there it’s only two hours to Granada by bus. If you opt to fly from Madrid to Granada it’s a lot more expensive.



      P.S. Do you have an alternate email address. That way we could send to both, and see if one of them gets through.

      Mike Booth

      March 17, 2011 at 4:56 pm

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