E N G L I S H market where they were already circulating, for example his vase of 1953, to reconstruct the “Faenza Awards” series. His idea was to create a room representing his own route as an artist; create a study centre where conferences could take place (Zauli had had lessons in Japan and Germany, as well as gaining a great deal of experience at the “Gaetano Ballardini” State Institute for Ceramics in Faenza where he also trained); have people experience transforming material; and deal with theory but never abandon the possible practical applications. The family has done nothing but take up the project once again and move in that direction with the opening of the museum.” A fascinating project, but in some way also very ambitious. Tradition/Innovation (31) Twenty-nine companies of craftsmen per thousand inhabitants compared a national average of twenty-five. In other words, two hundred and fifty thousand companies that give work to around seven hundred thousand workers. This is the visiting card of Lombardy’s system of craftsmanship, a section that plays an incredibly important role in and represents a vital part of the region’s production system. All the leading players in the sector met up in Villa Erba in Cernobbio from 14 to 15/11/2002 for the Lombard Craftsmen’s Conference “Valorizzare la Tradizione. Incentivare l’Innovazione” (Valuing Tradition. Encouraging In-novation.) with the objective of identifying what strategies would help the Lombard companies to compete on international markets and to gather suggestions as how to direct the choices of the regional government -who have always supported the artisan world. The two work days revolved around the two key topics “Valuing Tradition. Encouraging Innovation” with five eminent professors from the most important Italian universities presenting reports which were then discussed in the conference. These reports concentrated on the five key topics identified for the craft sector (economic trade unions, finance, human resources, technological innovation and the new type of public operations), topics which were then further developed in small workgroups in the late afternoon on Thursday 14/11. Finally, the day of 15/11 brought to bear all the data and information presented, with speeches from the most important institutional and political representatives connected with the world of craftsmanship. TOSCANA ARTE (34) The safeguarding and valorisation of art handicrafts are crucial aims in protecting and promoting traditional economic activities as well as activities related with the typical cultural resources of a territory. Within the context of Italian areas with a strong handicraft and artistic value, Arezzo and its province today are an original reality rich in countless expressions of a centuries-old handicraft tradition. If the origins of economic development and the flowering of certain types of handicrafts in Arezzo are to be ascribed to the process of civilisation carried out the by Etruscans first and later on by the Romans, in the valleys around Arezzo
- Casentino, Valtiberina, Valdichia-na, Valdarno - being distant from the city and due to their nature, was favoured the birth of various handicraft activities. Indeed, most of the “Toscana Arte” founding-companies are based in these valleys. Establi-shed in March 2002, the consortium gathers together seventeen companies of Arez-zo’s art and traditional handicraft industry with the aim of promoting the Arezzo pro-vince and its handicraft productions with several initiatives, both on a national and international scale. The territorial vocatio-ns, companies and products are truly many. From the art of restoring wood to ceramics, from gold-ware to weaving, from stone carving to wrought iron and glass: the forms of art handicrafts produced by the companies of “Toscana Arte” are numerous and distinct, with products often closely linked to a specific territory where once the environment and population used to supply the raw material, energy sources and labour. Traditions indissolubly linked to Arezzo’s territory and to centuries of history for which “Toscana Arte” wants to be the spo-kesman and promoter in a proactive and constructive way, through actions aimed at safeguarding and supporting the quality and originality of art handicrafts. AD ARTE (38) The Formula 3000 Grand Prix event, held in Cagliari from 8 to 10/11/2002, presented within it an art event of special significance. The I.S.O.L.A. (Istituto Sardo Organizzazione Lavoro Artigiano) in fact promoted and organised a permanent exhibition of Sardinian Handicrafts called “Ad Arte Storie e percorsi dell’Artigianato Sardo” [Stories of and Approaches to Sardinian Handicrafts], aimed at valorising art handicrafts not only as a historical and cultural heritage, but also as an economic and productive element. “Ad Arte” is an initiative that represents a complete synthesis of the Institute’s promotional strategy; for the first time, by directly involving the craftsmen, it experiments with and offers to the public, against an attractive and dynamic backdrop, all its knowledge of Sardinian handicrafts, its typical products and the traditional forms of production. THE FuoriClasse Atelier (42) The FuoriClasse team periodically holds exhibitions to present the interesting work of Matilde Trapssi and those young artists who follow in her stead, and raise awareness of their exceptional works, the fruit of experimental research. The Atelier is a laboratory very reminiscent of the textiles courses which took place around the figure of Gunta Stöldz in the 1920s at the Bauhaus in Germany and then I again think of those experimental laboratories of the late 1950s and 60s in Italy. I especially like to remember the so-called “Bauhaus Immaginista” founded in Alba (1955) by artists such as Asger Jorn, Piero Simondo and Pinot Gallizio. There they experimented many techniques and materials, such as terracotta, lithography and mixed techniques with varnishes, oxides and polychrome colours. They produced exceptional pictures, sculptures and objects, the fruit of free experi-
T E X T mentation. Thus, the key, the mission, the raison d’être of that experience, just like Matilde Trapassi’s Atelier, is experimentation. Every artist within the group nevertheless keeps his own personality and keeps to his own artistic path. The materials and the laboratory activities are common to them all, but they are all free to express themselves according to their own creativity and personal research. Here they adopt littleused or even forgotten techniques and handcrafting that preserves the trace of ancient rituals, guaranteeing that the “pieces” are unique. The result is an interesting and varied range of works in felt, ceramic or plastic. An expert in passages in time, migration and cultural nomadism, Matil-de uses ancient materials such as wool or clay or more modern ones such as plastic, convinced of the usefulness of manual know-how and keeping the creative moment invisible from the end product. Sleeping Well (46) Sleep is the foremost “medicine” for the well-being of everyone. And of fundamental importance for sleeping well is a good mattress that gives the best possible rest to our body. And the Consorzio Produttori Materassi di Qualità (Consortium of Quality Mattress Manufacturers) has come into being to protect consumers when choosing a mattress. This non-profit organisation is part of Assarredo, the Furniture Association, which unites some of the most important companies in the sector: Ataflex Op-tima, Di Notte, Lordflex’s, Maxitalia, Mor-feus, Simam, Somnium. To guarantee the products the Consortium has created a national and international quality mark that protects customers and identifies impeccable products. If you choose a mattress with the quality mark, you can be certain that you are buying a product that has been scientifically designed on the basis of indepth studies into sleep physiology, the human anatomy and material technology, and that it has undergone tests for quality and resistance and, moreover, that it has the producer’s guarantee also after purchase. Hand-made (48) Several years have passed since young Sicilian designers who graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Palermo saw Mi-lan as the “Mecca” of design and therefore the only opportunity to make any progress in this discipline. Today, with more sensitivity towards valuing local areas (genius loci) to rediscover what still exists in our material culture, you are more likely to encounter entrepreneurial initiatives that arise from the resources of your own territory. This is the case of the Giudecca Laboratory in Palermo, a small structure that offers “art/design” objects, a definition that makes us aware of the importance of the project together with the value of factuality. With their modified ancient techniques and use of gold and silver, Giudecca proposes new and unique creations reflecting contemporary tastes made unique through the style of the designers Claudio Spataro and Tania Spina. Objects of great value that go beyond the local dimension but combine all the values linked to the working process.
magazine about italian crafts