Sunday, April 25, 2010


This week, I have been on a mission to find an engraver--a hand engraver for a very special gift. Do you know how hard it is to find one? Of course, I had a wonderful hand engraver in the DC area that did work for the White House, so I was all set back there. He was wonderful. Here? I went through three in person or by phone, all machine engravers, before I was finally given the name of one Joseph S. Rosa in Nashville.

I found Mr. Rosa and his wife tucked away in an older building way off the road in Nashville. Up the stairs, down the end of the hall, right and then another right. Likened it to an old dentist office.

There I found this gentle man, thin and tanned. Sweet and precious. We talked about the tiny piece I needed done and my fascination of the art got the best of me, as it always does. I know it's a lost art. And I was talking to he and his wife about how wonderful it was to find them and how fascinated I am with the process, Mr. Rosa brought out a framed piece that his grandfather had done, sort of an engraving "final exam" if you will. How brilliant. Dating back to horology school in Philadelphia, dated 1902. Horology? Clock-making. His grandfather, Richard Rosa, came over from Italy. This was his livelihood. And, as in those days, his talent was passed on to his son and then on to the next generation, "my" Joseph Rosa.

Here is a piece that Joseph uses to practice on. Absolutely beautiful. There is no comparison between hand work and machine. Ever.

What a lovely couple. Through our conversation, I found out that Mr. Rosa has a terminal disease and is winding down yet enjoying life. He told me that just the other night, he and his wife couldn't sleep. "At midnight, as we lay in bed, I said, 'wouldn't an ice cream float be wonderful right about now?" He continued, "My wife got up, made us both a root beer float and we proceeded to eat them in bed, at midnight!" Mrs. Rosa piped in, "Ten years ago, we would have never done such a thing. Why? Life is short, enjoy it." Sniffle. Yes it is.


While I was in Fairhope a week or so back, I walked into a shop, looking for a specific piece to put on the front screened porch--a small door knocker, to be exact. As I walked in, the clerk was talking with a gentleman. The conversation was political, and I could tell by the gent's dress that he was European. He had a great camera criss-crossing his chest which of course caught my eye straight away. Well, being in the deep south, you know the conversation wasn't what I wanted to hear politically, so I was quite annoyed with overhearing the nonsense. But of course, as I put my find on the counter, she began to introduce me to this gentleman, Jacko, a professional photographer from Bulgaria. She was as sweet as could be and even apologized if she had offended me in her talk. I told her it was all fine, "We're in America--we can agree to disagree." One thing always leads to another with me, as you know; and Jacko and I began a conversation about photography and the such. The clerk and I were suggesting areas he should go to photograph and I mentioned how the mail was delivered in Magnolia Springs--one of the last places in America where the mail is still delivered by boat. Jacko brought out the above photo to show me how the mail is still delivered in Bulgaria. Precious. Beautiful. Priceless.

Haha, of course I was dressed riversorry, old sandals, cropped jeans, an old white t-shirt (probably dirty), hair pulled back, frizzed and wildly tucked under an old baseball cap. How American. Blech. So, he wants to take my photograph. EW. He did the best with what he had. lol Found a beautiful white linen apron which he covered my front with, gave me a lovely vase to hold, removed my hat, my glasses and moved me to the front of the store where he began to shoot. Oh my. The people walking by were probably thinking "If SHE'S a model, I CAN BE ONE TOO!!!" How hilarious.

Please take a look at Jacko Vassilev's site. Amazing stuff. No photoshop here, my friends. Again, another lost art which we spoke of.

Serendipity. I feel fortunate meeting up with both of these two marvelous human beings full of talent and doing what they love most. Beautiful and touching. How lucky am I.


Snap said...

Thanks for taking us on your adventures ... pretty amazing stuff ... you are correct ... hand made anything is best!

Janet said...

Serendipity is right! Not once but twice!! It's sad that so many of the old crafts are being lost now. In the future no one will know what hand made is and they will lose out on so many beautiful things.

Darn! I wanted to see the photo he took of you! I bet it was wonderful.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Nice work! So pretty.



Jeanie said...

Wow -- this is a fabulous post (and I wanted to see the photo he took of you, too!) Must visit his spot. I love that you told the whole story and all the details and how you put your pix in sepia. Very perfect!

My verification word is "movem." Do you think this is a serendipitous sign I have to go to my Zumba class tonight and move myself?

Queenly Things said...

I think you are BEAUTIFUL and no doubt, so did the photographer.

PEA said...

I've just looked at Jacko's website and you're right, his pictures are absolutely amazing. I had a giggle over the "Joy from the wine" picture! hehe That is just so awesome that you got to meet him while in that shop and that he even took pictures of you!!! As for Mr. Rosa, it brought tears to my eyes, reading his story. So much talent passed down through the years. When I read about the root beer float, in bed, at midnight...well that was the most precious thing I've ever read:-) xoxo

Mrs. Staggs said...

Thank you for sharing the beauty of these two men, and of Mrs. Rosa, Rosemary. It did my heart good to read about them, and to see their artwork. Life's work, really, and life is surely reflected in Jacko Vasselev's stunning photography. I was struck by the happiness that I found in the faces of the people he photographs. I'm sure he saw that same inner happiness reflected on your face. It always shows, you know.


Shelley said...

Hi Rosa...hope you're not under water out your way. I hear its pretty bad.

Cool post..but I don't think you need to apologize for looking "American". :) I don't think its a bad thing!

Take care.

Ann said...

So, this is the engraver? I have to say that I spent more time looking at the engraving last night and it is incredible stunning! Another great story to tell my son.

robin-bird said...

rosa my love this is a wonderful post. you are the keeper of 'almost lost stories' with your blog. make sure you back it all up so that it can be read many years from now by your great great grandchildren. you really do share your wonderful day to day story here.



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