Franco Cologni, president of Cologni Foundation for Artistic Craft Professions
“I have ‘shares’ in Primrose ‘Banks’ - /Daffodil Dowries – spicy ‘Stocks’-”, wrote Emily Dickinson, thinking that her treasure trove of dreams and poetry was very precious. Such a list of evanescent treasures, although very valuable, recalls Italy’s resources: no petroleum and no gold mines. But it has cultural deposits that are as vast as the oceans; priceless art treasures; traditions and age-old trades that contemporary technology has not been able to erase, but rather, that it has been able to revitalize. In Italy, these deposits are popular wisdom that is born of and develops in a circumscribed territory, which itself has the fundamental value of protecting and rediscovering. And thus, the first value that comes from considering the territory as wealth: the discovery that makes culture circulate, like the great masters of the Renaissance, creates virtuous cycles of knowledge that enrich every field. The heritage of this cultural crucible is alive and present in the all-too-often forgotten artists/craftsmen of Italy, who unite the knowledge of their hands with the passion of their hearts and the creativity of their minds. Although
they face a multitude of difficulties (last but not least bureaucratic ones), they represent the excellence of their (and our) territory. To create a network means to connect. Today we have a network, but we have not really made a connection yet. And in order for the connection to be valid, there must obviously be something to express and transmit: in short, it is necessary to know. And here is where the second value of the territory understood as wealth comes into play: the transformation of a quantitative relationship (produce objects, exchange goods) into a qualitative relationship (produce beauty, exchange emotions). The English lords who came to Italy on the Grand Tour admired classical ruins, ancient villages, and noble residences. Today’s Grand Tour is different: not only ancient monuments, but also new masters of art who produce wonderful objects, excellent workshops where forms of knowledge, fragrances and flavours can be rediscovered, as can networks of relationships that can still transform a mediocre Gross National Product into a Gross Quality Product. The “connection” could thus come
about in various ways: − arts-crafts in harmony with arts and culture in general (a new generation of Arts & Crafts, applied or decorative arts, etc.); − arts-crafts as testimonials of a “true” and “proper” Made in Italy, which cannot be transferred anywhere else, since the tradition and the know-how are part of the genetic cod of the maestri d’arte; − arts-crafts as the DNA of excellence that passes from the workshop to the atelier to the firm, and as the discovery of “living treasures” available to high-quality tourism; − arts-crafts as meaningful outlets for young people – fewer graduates and more workers! – who can find not only material satisfaction, but also prospects for fame and glory. My foundation, Fondazione dei Mestieri d’Arte, together with RE.T.I.C.A. (Rete Territoriale per l’Innovazione della Creatività Applicata), a project aimed at art professions presented in the region of Lombardy, can bear witness to the manner in which solid, concrete connections can be created by working on the beauty, wealth and art in Italy.
an Amazing magazine from italian Arts and Crafts