Posts Tagged ‘Montegrappa’

Montegrappa launch of The Alchemist press pack

April 3, 2012
Montegrappa The Alchemist press pack

Montegrappa The Alchemist press pack

Hard to believe, a couple of weeks have already passed by since my Japanese friends and I turned up at the launch of the Montegrappa The Alchemist pen in Bassano del Grappa on St Joseph’s Day (19 March 2012). The Alchemist pen a collaboration between Montegrappa and Paulo Coelho.

After the launch, we had a guided tour of the Montegrappa facility.

On leaving, I spotted a few press packs were available.

Could I have one please, I asked.

Are you a journalist?

Certainly not, I replied, but more people will read what I write.

One press pack was handed over.

We only had time to get back to our hotel, change, then back out to be picked up for a St Jopeph’s Day party at a medieval Venetian Castle, guests of Paulo Coelho. I never really looked at the press pack until much later.

  • Moments, a diary with wonderful illustrations by Catalina Estrada and quotes from Paulo coelho.
  • A Montegrappa pen! No, not The Alchemist, a Parola, but still a Montegrappa pen.
  • An illustrated book on Montegrappa.
  • A pouch with a Montegrappa 300 GB hard disk drive!

I regret I did not get a press pack for my Japanese friends but that would have been pushing my luck.

Montegrappa Parola

March 25, 2012
Montegrappa Parola

Montegrappa Parola

Montegrappa Parola

Montegrappa Parola

Montegrappa The Alchemist

Montegrappa The Alchemist

I acknowledge the immense power of the pen. It is with the pen and the written word that I have been able to give life to my thoughts. Montegrappa has forged the most beautiful writing instruments in the world. — Paulo Coelho

When you have held a Montegrappa pen in your hand, no other pen is of interest, including expensive, but mass-produced, pens from Mont Blanc.

The only problem is that you dare not take out of the house for fear it will be lost or stolen.

Pens range from the simple but stylish and elegant Parola to limited edition works of art like the recently launched The Alchemist pen.

Parola is Italian for word. Words, whether spoken or written, have the power to change the world.

A Montegrappa pen is slow fashion, a quality handmade writing instrument that you value for life.

Reading the signs

March 23, 2012
man with a book by Paulo Coelho

man with a book by Paulo Coelho

man with The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

man with The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Aleph and The Alchemist joint No 7 (in non fiction chart)

Aleph and The Alchemist joint No 7 (in non fiction chart)

I was waiting for the shuttle between terminal buildings. I was feeling very sad as only a few hours before I was in Venice for a fleeting visit and it was there I bade a sad farewell to my Japanese friends, Ken, Yumi and Mio, with whom I had shared three wonderful days.

I was feeling particularly miserable as on the train to Venice Mio had made me two lovely origami figures to remember her by, and as I came in to land I noticed I had crushed them and now they were merely two crumpled pieces of paper.

I looked up, and I noticed the man in front of me had a bag within which was a book by Paulo Coelho.

I saw it as a good sign. It lifted my sadness.

I made, what most people would have thought was a strange request. I asked may I take a photo of him with the bag.

He said yes. He asked did it matter which way he was looking. I said no.

I was then curious which book he had and did he enjoy it.

It was The Alchemist, but with a new cover that I had not seen before.

He said he was enjoying it very much, that he had not before heard of Paulo Coelho. He was sufficiently impressed that he was going to buy his other books.

He had been on a trip to Geneva and was saving the last part of the book for the last leg of his flight.

Whilst in Geneva, he asked his colleagues had they heard of Paulo Coelho? Apparently none had.

I then explained my interest. That I had just returned from Bassano del Grappa where I had been at a party with Paulo Coelho and at launch of a pen by Montegrappa called The Alchemist.

I showed him a Monetegrappa pen, though I hasten to add, not from The Alchemist limited edition collection.

We then parted and went our separate ways.

I found a bookshop and too my surprise found Aleph was not only out in paperback but was at joint No 7 with The Alchemist. Strange though in non-fiction.

Synchronicity: I had just returned from at a launch of a pen, The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho lives in Geneva.

Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day Party at Castello Superiore di Marostica

March 21, 2012
Venetian soldiers with flaming swords

Venetian soldiers with flaming swords

Hosted by Montegrappa, Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day Party was held at a medieval Venetian Castle, Castello Superiore di Marostica.

Following the launch of The Alchemist pen in the afternoon, followed by a tour of the Montegrappa facilty in Bassano del Grappa, a party was held in the evening to mark St Joseph’s day.

The party was held at a medieval Venetian Castle some half an hour drive outside of Bassano del Grappa.

On arrival, after passing through a road block checking for unwanted gatecrashers, we were met on arrival by Venetian soldiers holding flaming torches.

Some sort of pageant was taking place. Food and drink was served outside, though it was a cold night.

We were then ushered indoors where a guitar of Rudolf Schenker (lead guitarist and founder of German rock group Scorpions) was being painted by Christina.

Then we were ushered upstairs, where tables were laid for dinner.

Paulo Coelho explained why he celebrates St Joseph’s Day with his friends. He said this was a very special party as it was a Silver Anniversary, ie 25 years. It was also a Silver Anniversary of the publication of The Pilgrimage.

Paulo Coelho was born dead, strangled by his umbilical cord. His mother prayed for a miracle, that life be breathed into his dead body. He recovered. She promised she would mark St Joseph’s day, but never did. God is forgiving. God is not the God of hate, who damns us for all eternity, that Francis Chan portrays in his evil book Erasing Hell.

Paulo now marks St Joseph’s Day to give thanks for his good fortune.

Wine is mentioned several times in the Bible. All but one involves Joseph.

As always, the dinner started with prayers. First Paulo in Portuguese, then many languages, including German (The Abbot of Melk Abbey) and Japanese (Yumi Crane).

Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously by placing love of duty above my inclinations; to gratefully and joyously deem it an honor to employ and to develop by labor the gifts I have received from God, to work methodically, peacefully, and in moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from it through weariness or difficulty to work; above all, with purity of intention and unselfishness, having unceasingly before my eyes the account I have to render of time lost, talents unused, good not done, and vain complacency in success, so baneful to the work of God. O patriarch St. Joseph! This shall be my motto for life and eternity.

Yumi Crane spoke of the Tsunami. It was one year, one week, one day. It was very moving. She was in tears. Mio, with who I was holding hands, was in tears. I was in tears.

The Narrow Road to the Disaster Zone
Songs From Tokyo

For Mio, it was a dream come true to meet Paulo Coelho.

A Japanese girl’s dream come true

There were many courses, several were on the table when we sat down. I had no idea what most of them were. There was long gaps of half an hour between courses, which gave people plenty of time to wander around and chat to people at other tables, exchange gifts.

I gave Paulo Coelho Fusiones, signed by all members of the group Ensamble Dos Orrillas, who I had seen live at an excellent concert a couple of weeks before in Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife. A fusion of music from South America and the Canary Isands. I am only sorry I did not get the opportunity to take a picture of Paulo Coelho with the signed album. Hopefully this album will be available for download from bandcamp in the near future.

On the tables was also a special gift from Paulo. A bottle of perfume, The Alchemist. I assume specially commissioned for the occasion.

Many people came up to me and chatted who I had no idea who they were but for some reason they knew who I was.

One was Dasha Balashova, a remarkable Russian artist, who I learnt is now living in France in or near the Pyrenees. I have Dasha to thank for my original contact with Paulo Coelho. Until the night of the party we had never met.

A firework display!

Presents for Paulo: A silver tray to mark 25th anniversary of The Pilgrimage, a special chair to sit at when he writes.

Ken Crane was called. Where was Ken when needed? As a special gift Ken had brought five pairs of boxer shorts with his graphics and quotes from Paulo Coelho. Paulo handed these out to named individuals.

A few minutes before midnight Paulo Coelho announced eating was over, it was time to go downstairs and dance.

In the early hours of the morning we were treated to Rudolf Schenker and Paulo Coelho (on guitar and vocals) performing Rock Like a Hurricane, Still Loving You, and maybe a couple of other numbers. It was unbelievable. I do not think the group who were playing could believe their luck playing with Rudolf Schenker and Paulo Coelho. For Time they were joined on vocals by Rudolf Schenker’s girlfriend Tanya.

Paulo Coelho e Rudolf Schenker

Sometime in the early hours, Christina and I were dancing centre stage.

Then book signing.

On the edge of the light I noticed armed guards!

All good parties eventually have to come to an end.

We finally got back to our hotel at 3-30am in the early hours of the morning!

Many thanks to Paulo for the invite and putting on such a great party and to Montegrappa for generously hosting the party and for providing the transport there and back.

Paulo Coelho has posted a shorter version on his blog.

Montegrappa factory tour

March 21, 2012
component parts Montegrappa The Alchemist pen

component parts Montegrappa The Alchemist pen

Following the launch of The Alchemist pen, Montegrappa arranged a guided tour of their factory.

First a quick look at the final assembly of limited edition pens, then eat and drink in their showroom where many pens and watches are on display, then a detailed factory tour in small groups of around 20.

The basic builing blocks are resins (for entry level pens), celluloid (Montegrappa are the only pen manufacturer to use celluloid as highly unstable and explosive) and precious metals.

Both the resins and celluloids are chosen to Montegrappa high specification. Colours and marbling effect are mixed in. The celluloid is kept in ovens for six months to stabilise.

Montegrappa combine high tech with hand craftsmanship. Lathes and milling machines are used, scanning microscopes to check the final product. Each cap on The Alchemist pen is individually engraved by a master engraver, thus each pen unique.

The metal parts are sand ground to remove any burs and sharp edges. Then polished in a machine. The resin and celluloid are also polished in a machine.

Celluloid is used as it has a very natural feel. But such is the quality of the resin used and the polish, that even the entry level resin pens have that natural feel.

For the fountain pen, a graphite feeder is used.

Inside the pens, a barrel with a piston, which is used to draw up the ink.

The only component not made by Montegrappa is the nib. This is made by a third party party to a Montegrappa specification.

A gold nib is not for show. Gold is soft and writes better. Steel is hard and scratches the paper.

Around 40 component parts to each pen.

Each pen is individually tested by being used to write. It then has to be washed to remove the ink.

A laboratory carries out random tests for quality control. A few pens are tested to destruction, for example the clip repeatedly stressed for metal fatigue. The lab also tests incoming materials for quality control.

Do not keep a Montegrappa pen in the pocket. Like wine, it should be stored in a horizontal position.

Special thanks to our guide who took a great pride in the workmanship at Montegrappa.