pennabilli

Pennabilli, Italy Pennabilli, Italy

The Story

My pieces do not appeal to a brand name or logo, they are not made to be just looked at or flaunted, they are made to be touched and worn with pleasure.
I do not copy, I do not follow any style, each piece is designed and executed by me, with my particular taste, creativity and skill.
I am an artisan, not an artist, I don’t make any statement with my works.
I just wish to combine functionality and technical quality in things of beauty, things which I like to use and am proud to show.



I usually make four or five pieces at a time, sometimes more because there's no perfect model to be replicated, each piece, slightly different, stands by itself.
I only employ the classic techniques: chasing, casting, forging, carving etc.
I use only reclaimed gold and silver.
Other metals that I use (copper, iron, steel, aluminum) are recycled.
I also use boxwood and other woods, leftovers from cabinet makers.
I take the utmost care in each step of the construction.
Should any defect of workmanship or material arise, I will repair your piece free of charge.
WHAT FOLLOWS IS A RATHER DETAILED PROFESSIONAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY
I was born in Venezia, studied there to become a radio officer on cargo ships, and sailed for many years.
When ashore in Venezia, I had my first approaches to metalwork, bending silver plated copper wire with pliers to make rings, bracelets and necklaces, selling them on the streets in Venezia and later in Stockholm, Sweden.
Back in Venezia I attended a free class on copper engraving and printing, learnt leather-work from Gudrun Von Daake, taught myself raising and sinking and the most common bench techniques.
Then, with two friends I opened a studio/shop producing macramé, leather articles, prints and metalworks. The shop lasted less than one year.
In the late seventies I went to London, registered with Goldsmiths' Hall, shared a studio in Camden Lock with Paolo Lurati, silversmith, who taught me blacksmithing, so I made my punches and went on to learn repoussè and chasing.
In London I found very good books on metalworking, notably the ones by Herbert Maryon and Henry Wilson.
Back in Venezia, in the studio of Lauro Vianello, goldsmith, I learnt cuttlefish bone casting and jewel construction.
Shortly after I co-founded SOV, Società Orafa Veneziana (Venetian Goldsmiths' Association) and opened a studio/shop in Calle delle Botteghe that again lasted less than one year.
Life in Venezia was too expensive so I went to live in the country, in Pennabilli where I opened a studio/shop in Via Roma that for the third time lasted less than one year.
You see, if you keep your shop open eight hours a day, you’re lucky to be working at the bench four hours, because you must clean, make the window, go to the bank, talk with customers and so on. I could not charge for each hour’s work enough to pay for sop’s rent, taxes, car, house’s rent, family expenses.
So I quit opening shops and worked for a while as stone-setter in the workshop of Piero Succi in Bellaria, near Rimini.
That was not for me, so I started to work at home, participating in street markets and fairs.
In the late eighties I had a section on metalwork opened in a vocational school (Cirene) in Rimini and taught there goldsmithing for two years.
In the early nineties I had a commission for a golden necklace, beautiful and rather expensive, so I had the money to go to Patan, Katmandu, invited by a Nepalese silversmith I had met in Italy. In his workshop I learnt small-scale sand casting and other traditional Nepalese techniques.
A few years later I attended a seminar on Ancient Etruscan Art and Techniques in Murlo, near Siena, where I learnt granulation.
In the early nineties I started a collaboration with UGA summer courses in Cortona, teaching cold forging and cuttlefish bone casting and in 1999 I was invited at UGA in Athens, as visiting artist.
In 1997 I translated “Metalwork and enameling” by H. Maryon (La lavorazione dei metalli Hoepli, Milano), and added a glossary to it.
Later I learnt forge welding and Damascus steel making with Sven da Canzo, blacksmith.
A couple of years ago I learnt Kum Boo from one of my class’ students.
In recent years I made replicas of scientific instruments for museums.
Besides making jewelry, of late I've been mostly researching, writing and teaching."

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