“I have felt a sense of validation about my work as a musician since awarded the fellowship and therefore I have been exploring my artistry even more widely and expansively.”
Dianna Davis traveled to Italy to study the challenging practice of accordion repair at the Accordion Academy in smalltown Castelfidardo, Italy. "The challenge of learning accordion repair was very difficult at first, and it really took me out of my comfort zone. Attending classes for two weeks gave me the time to adapt." Another challenge was the sudden change of pace. "in Europe many people live a more laid back life, stopping for a leisurely lunch and taking multiple coffee breaks together. At first, this was really hard to get used to! I wanted to work, work, work. By the second week however, I had started to adjust - my renewal process had begun."
Her passion for Eastern European music stems from her family history. Her mother's side migrated from Croatia. On her travels, Davis was able to take letters from her grandfather and finally have them translated. This was also a chance for her to meet distant relatives for the first time. Davis met these relatives over wonderful dinners, savoring their homemade wines. "Meeting family on the other side of the ocean was a very emotional experience for all," she said. "They Sent me home with gifts for my family and a renewed hope to continue to be connected in the future."
Since returning from Europe, Davis has had a steady stream of accordion repair work. She has been eager to share what she's learned by running workshops for instrument building and lecturing about instrument design. Davis' fellowship was as much about repairing as it was renewal: from repairing instruments to mending generations of silence between her U.S. and Croatian families.