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    Perugia, Italy

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  1. My best guess is Photoshop. Look how the extra eye is exactly the same shape as the upper eye, and slightly blurred out....
  2. The Corciano String Quartet Retreat will be an opportunity for chamber ensembles of any level to deepen their playing with a week of one on one coaching with London's esteemed Fitzwilliam String Quartet in one of Italy's most beautiful hill-towns in an informal, family-style atmosphere. It is an opportunity for quartets to get away from it all and perhaps go just that little bit deeper as a group, musically and personally. Coaching will be provided by the members of the world-class Fitzwilliam String Quartet, who are ready to meet your ensemble at whatever level you currently play, and work with you in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. We welcome professional, student and amateur players. It is organized jointly by the Fitzwilliam Quartet, Filippo Protani Liutaio, and the Comune of Corciano. During the week ensembles will spend the mornings playing together under the coaching of Lucy Russell, Colin Scobie, Alan George and Heather Tauch. Sessions will be tailored to meet the needs of your ensemble- there is no set repertoire. Each ensemble will have their own practice room provided by the Comune of Corciano, in their historic seat. Afternoons will be free for individual or group practice, individual lessons with members of the Fitzwilliam Quartet, or to relax in the piazza over a cup of coffee or an ice cream. As Corciano is situated near a variety of places of interest such as Assisi, Perugia, Lago Trasimeno, Siena and the Apennines, the afternoons are also an ideal time to explore the area. If there is sufficient interest, we will organize two guided afternoon excursions to neighbouring places of interest. But, if you venture out, be sure to get back in time for the tea-time lecture; an informal session to be given each day over a hot cuppa on topics ranging from music history, violin making, and playing technique. The week will also feature a welcoming concert by the Fitzwilliam Quartet and a closing concert in which all are invited to take part. Participants will have the chance to become part of life in the village of Corciano, an ancient hill-town in the heart of Umbria, living for a week in the historic centre. Accommodation is provided by the residents of Corciano in a variety of independent flats and B&B style. This part of Italy is extremely proud of its rustic culinary tradition based on the olive groves, vineyards and forests that cover the surrounding hills. Participants will taste that tradition in the meals durning the retreat, which will be provided by Il Convento, a typical Umbrian restaurant in Corciano’s restored 13th century Franciscan monastery. The medieval walls that once defended citizens’ pilgrims on their way to Assisi and merchants traveling between Perugia and Lago Trasimeno, now shelter a vibrant community, proud of their history and of the arts. For more info see: www.corcianostringquartetretreat.org or contact us at: laura@protaniviolins.com
  3. Jose, that is EXACTLY what I was looking for! Bravo
  4. For anyone interested, I did my little experiment... I have an old partially finished back that I use for such things, trying something, and then scraping it away. I had recently tried finishing half off the scraper and half with pumice and alcohol, and I found that the pumice left a residual whiteness, even after a gelatine seal, water staining and danish oil. On a bit left over I tried the cuttlefish, cut in half and with the hard fins broken off. I to be slightly consistent with what I had done before, instead of following Janito's method, I just rubbed it in dry. It seems to break off into quite consistently sized particle. (I wonder how to measure the size?) I was quite happy with the results- smoother than the scraper, without the whiteness of the pumice. And I wouldn't say that as a technique it is any more unweildy than pumice or tripoli...
  5. Thanks for your answer, Joe. I'm not trying to get you to give your recipe away but in a general sense, can your Balsam Ground be understood as a type of resin in its own natural turpentine? I hope my tenuous understanding of biology isn't making a fool of me, but raw pine sap is mostly resin, right?
  6. Thanks Stephen, for overcoming your queasiness, because I was completely ignorant of your book! I'll have to go search it out... Laura
  7. Yes, of course there are lots of other ways to skin this cat, which perhaps are simpler, or at least more standard. In fact I have been turning this over in my mind- does the nature of the particles that gets worked into the pores influence the finished visual results, or only the particle size? If you had a silicate based powder (pumice) is it going to inherently look different than a calcium based powder (chalk or cuttlefish?) I like Janito's idea because it would be very simple to do, but the down side is that you have no control over the size of the particles. I will try his method with my aforementioned cuttlefish, and let you know if it works! I think it might because I found that rubbing the bone it dissolved into a powder on my fingers quite easily....
  8. Joerobson, After reading your comments on this thread I clicked through to your website which is quite interesting. I wondered, though, if you could clarify two things for me: are the aged wood colours simply colouring the wood to mimic the results of ageing, or do they somehow speed the actual chemical process that would happen naturally over time? And is the balsam ground that you mention similar to rosin oil grounds? Thanks, Laura
  9. I see now that Janito mentioned it in the thread about the VSA Papers articles of Stradivari's Varnish http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=323741&st=20 but he doesn't mention if he has ever used it himself...
  10. Cuttlefish bone powder was mentioned by Sacconi as a abrasive for polishing the varnish (http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=314191&st=40), but has anyone tried using it to finish the wood before varnishing, in the way that some people use pumice and alcohol? I was walking along the beach yesterday and I couldn't help picking some cuttlefish up and thinking... what could this be used for?
  11. I can't tell which is which, but every second one sounds more nasal - A,C,E and H. And to me they sounded like the same instrument- or rather, two instruments, played alternately throughout all the tests, as opposed to four Strads and four DGs as I expected. Is this so?
  12. By the way, you'll no doubt know of this place...http://www.claudiorampini.com/modules.php?name=Forums. I often spend more time on here than on maestronet. It all depends upon the chat, as to what is going around. I pan the field for the nuggets, and toss the tailings. Such is the trick, to learn to recognize what is of value apart from what is not, and I owe it all to one person, Michael D...

  13. You've stuck the knife in and twisted it. Of all the places in the world I have visited and loved, few top Italy. Only the Catalonian region of Spain has the potential. But Italy is the mecca when it comes to two great loves of mine, the violin and cycling (as in the Giro d'Italia...not Ducati, although I wouldn't mind that style of ride, either). Anyway, great to hear from you agai...

  14. Northfield, huh? Cool! Yeah, the new "Stradivari's Varnish" book is something of a serious treat for the hard-core enthusiast. I cannot wait until I've the opportunity to dine on its contents.

    So, if not Northfield, where are you living now? (and please do not tell me somewhere in the UK or Europe, or I'll be terribly jealous)

    Take care and have a g...

  15. I am working on a similar project on a low-level on going basis- that is to say, when I come across photos I save them to my computer, and once in a while I spend a bit of time going through Brompton's archives and saving photos of instruments. It certainly is time consuming! But I like to think it is worth it. I also have quite a collection of old Sotheby's catalogues, which in a perfect world I would at least index.... Sometimes I dream that some computer programer with an interest in violins would put together a huge database of these photos with the ability to recognize similarities in shapes- so you could take a photo of your unknown instrument and it would say "This has a 87% correlation to X violin by So-and-so, and a 73% correlation to Y by Whats-his-name" and you could then visually compare the best matches. But of course it isn't a substitute for real knowledge!
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