Sunday, January 30, 2011

One of my favorite things about living in Italy,  in the mass-produced world that we live in, with the need to do things quickly and always have more, with an emphasis on quantity rather than quality,  there is still an appreciation for the handmade and superior craftsmanship that is only made possible through years of dedication, learning and a passion for creating.

I recently read a quote by Louis Nizer that says "A [wo]man who works with his hands is a laborer; a [wo]man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a [wo]man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist."  The Italians are known for their passion. It's in everything that they do from their art to their food to their clothing and even in the way they speak, hand gestures and all. Yesterday I got a peak into a community of Florentine artists who are an excellent example of dong what they love and loving what they do. It shows just how much creativity and the artist is appreciated in the city of Florence. 

SAM Firenze is an old convent that has been converted into an art studio space.  It is a fantastic building that has turned the small 'cells' where the nuns would board into small individual studios. What that means of course is that the artist is given their privacy and own space to work but is still working amongst other artists, which is both motivating and inspiring. Even though SAM has been around for a while, there are recent efforts to promote the artists working there and gain visibility.  Yesterday was the start of a three month artisans fair that will held on the last Saturday of January, February, and March. The fair is titled Lungo un Giorno or 'For the length of a Day.' The brochure here only indicates January 29, but there will in fact be two more dates.

 The courtyard of the convent, the studios are on both levels with views into the courtyard. I could be very happy working here!

Yesterday I had a great time getting to know some of the artists and artisans and was able to snap of few shots of their fabulous work.

I love the idea of an art community. A place that supports and encourages creativity and understands the importance of the handmade as well as visual communication.  Most of the artists were happy to let me take photos of their work or of them as they were working,  so I was able to get a few action shots as well. I especially love the shots of their hands where you can physically see the years of practice that have gone into creating and perfecting each individual piece.

Enjoy! And if you are in Florence or will be in Florence on February 26 or March 26 be sure to stop by and support the local artisans.

 Some beautiful handmade pottery in the works. 

 Fantastic works in metal by Lorenzo Foglia, from jewelry  to picture frames.

Hand covered paper journals by Giulia Materia

Hand felted hats, scarves, and other joyful things to wear by Livia Sani

I really couldn't do his work justice in the photos, so here is a look at Luca Di Castri's studio

One of the coolest things I saw.  The technique is called Plissettatura .The fabric is placed in between the layers of cardboard and then press with an extremely hot iron to create the designs and fold into the fabric. 
Work is by Plissettatura Milady

I am absolutely head-over-heels in love with this black and white bag by Marakita

More great bags and jewelry by Caterina Deco' 

Fun jewelry by Vincenzo Spano'

And lets hear it for ELY.B (Eleonora Bruno) the hat lady! Fantastic. 
She doesn't have a web site yet but if your interested drop me an email and I'll send you her info, I don't want to post it for fear that she will be spamed!
And of course there are many many more talented artists worth seeing! So by and have a look, you won't be disappointed!

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