Megan Adie is a maker and musician and has had homes around the world, including Basel, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Austin, Texas. But it's through the streets of Copenhagen that she currently carries her double bass to rehearsals and concerts, and where she maintains Aviary Press, an imprint for fine art books and limited edition prints.
Megan has partial and full degrees from a number of institutions, including the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, in Switzerland; it was there that Lydia and Megan first met, and where the two formed a fast bond over a mutual love for airy California-like interiors, 17th and 18th century music, Rhine swimming, and gin & tonics.*
Megan has been teaching letterpress printing and book arts since 2004 in San Francisco and Europe, and works closely with Druckwerk in Basel (go sign up for one of her workshops!). As a double bass and violone player, she has performed with groups including Concerto Copenhagen, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and La Chambre Philharmonique. She has spent several bright blue, rosé-filled summers at Aix-en-Provence Festival, and used to tour with an old-time band, The Crooked Jades.
Megan’s Traveling Light is a real treat and we recommend sitting down to enjoy it alongside your most precious coffee mug. Her website, with more information about both her playing and press, is www.meganadie.com.
* Megan had a sweet, sunny apartment in Basel that Lydia loved to visit. It had books and beautiful prints all over, and a lovely terrace that received the best of the afternoon sunlight, and where they have happy memories of hanging out and shooting the Swiss breeze over G&Ts. Lydia, however, regrets to remember that she’s left boxes of scores and winter clothing somewhere in the attic of that apartment (which is part of her own messy tale of Traveling Light…).
Minimalist or Maximalist?
When I travel, I go as light as possible. For a recent set of rehearsals, 4 nights away, I brought a small backpack and my bass bow. Moving, however, is another thing.
Sometimes I'm mildly appalled by the number of things I've brought from the U.S. to Europe, and wonder what I would move back on the occasion of if-and-when. Despite sending you 8 pictures, I feel like I left out a hundred things. The old map of California, the boat thing my dad carved when I was a kid, the books (oh god the books), the alpine flower my friend gave me (in a jar), a minuscule feather I've had since at least 2004.
There's this funny thing that happened to me recently, though. I was making an arrangement of new plants on the windowsill, and wanted to include one or two of the green glass vases I've been carrying around with me probably since I was a teenager. I pulled them out of the cupboard and realized, suddenly and clearly, that they were basically meaningless to me. So much has happened in the last five years, that even if I remembered where they came from when I moved to Europe, I certainly don't any more. At the same time, my skin literally prickled at the thought of deaccessioning them. It was a strange feeling. Is everything that I have going to slowly drain of all meaning? The thought is both terrifying and calming.
When you last packed to move, what was the thing or collection of things you couldn’t leave without?
I was very close to my grandmother, and lived with her on and off for the last four years of her life. Because of this, I inherited most of her things, especially the everyday stuff - her coffee mug, the woven placemats, odds and ends from the sideboard in the dining room, coasters she made and used every day. And, believe me, much, much more. When I first moved to Europe I put almost everything in a storage unit; only later did I go through it, brought over certain things, and distributed the rest among my friends. So of the things I insist on moving around Europe, most of it comes from my grandmother's house. I'm proud of my growing collection of artist's books and zines, and have an essential pile of books (constantly curated and fussed over, and placed along side the bed so I can stare at them when I wake up in the morning).
Other essential objects were collected from the amazing resale shops in Basel, Switzerland, including my vitrine-regale (would we call it a hutch?) and my collection of handkerchiefs. I like beautiful things that I can use. I like using my grandmother's mug every day. It reminds me, approximately a million miles away from home, of who I am.
Please tell us more!
Collection of artists' books and zines, a compact way to transport ideas and images and art.
Nature books from my grandmother. I love the artwork, and she's made notes in the bird and flower books.
Maybe these tip slightly further towards beautiful on the lovely <----> useful scale. Oh well.
My grandfather made this trivet. It has maybe moved into the range of too beautiful to use, or maybe I'm just waiting to have a more permanent living situation to bring it out into normal rotation. Looking at it literally makes my heart inflate.
The handkerchiefs! I have about 30, and use them all the time. Look at that oven mitt of a hand on that diving costume. Exceedingly cheerful, even on the shittiest grey Denmark days.
This was what I packed for 4 nights in Basel. Boom.
Milly, my grandmother, next to some of her dessert plates.
The mug. On one of the coasters. Both used this morning.
Brought the Danish serving spoons back to Denmark. My grandparents had excellent taste.
Thank you, Megan!
Read more in our Traveling Light series HERE!