Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cison di Valmarino: Artigianato Vivo - The Annual Craftsfair

photograph copyright manfredi bellati
Cison di Valmarino – XXX Artigianato Vivo. Below the castle that used to belong to the Count Brandolini d’Adda family and now is the gaudy hotel, Castelbrando in the charming village of Cison di Valmarino the craftsfair, Artigianato Vivo was held. Over two hundred craftsmen from all over Italy, selling items such as; decorated ceramics, leather, mosaic, glass work, jewelry, wool, felt and food items, took over every hamlet, nook and cranny of the picturesque village in the foothills near Treviso for the annual fair, now in its thirtieth edition. The event this year attracted over 350,000 visitors over the two-week period. Though all artisans are not worthy of mention, below are just three of the many that stood out.

Cuscini Naturali.   Cuscini Naturali or natural pillows are made by the attractive, Vanna Bianchin who comes from the Friuli region, north of Venice. She makes organic pillows stuffed with spelt, millet and lavender, using natural materials in pretty stripes or plain linens that tie with ribbons or a zip.
Contact: Cuscini Naturali +39 328 4423992

The pillows. 
  The organic pillows come in all shapes and sizes and are covered with pretty natural fiber cottons and linens.  Vanna uses three stuffings: the spelt ones have exceptional health effects that are especially recommended for tension in the throat/neck area, backache and spinal problems, circulatory disturbances, migraines, sleeplessness, etc. The Millet ones conform to the sleeper’s head and neck, offering support which may reduce or eliminate tension, stress and pain. And, the lavender ones are calming for the central nervous system and are helpful for sleeplessness, migraine and agitation.

The stuffing.    A bowl of  the organic spelt husk stuffing was on show.

Gres alle Tre Palme. Potter, Cecilia Fontana and her maestro potter husband, Michael Schwarz are the duo behind Gres alle Tre Palme pottery. Cecilia started making pots just by chance encouraged by her husband, a former pupil of the great potters, Takeshi Yasuda and David Leach. And, having a flare for pottery Cecilia learnt quickly the art, which today, she also, as hobby, uses to create artistic pieces. “The ability of the potter melts together with the crafts of nature, earth and fire.” she states.

The stoneware. 
  I was attracted to the Gres alle Tre Palme stall because the pottery reminded me of my youth in England and especially of Devon and Cornwall.  I love the way the glaze drips from the rim and the different colors melt together. These rustic handsome sturdy jugs have a wide base and can be used for water or milk or would even look pretty with a big bunch of field flowers in them. The company’s scope is to create functional and creative objects for the home.  Their pieces can be ordered from Maga Maison or directly from Gres alle Tre palme.

Babelkeramik.   Heiner Bauer of Babelkeramik comes all the way from Dresden and is a staple at the Artigianato Vivo fair since 2001.  He has his following that go to buy his mostly blue and white ceramics, which often have little insects “hidden” inside the cups. Last year he won first prize at the fair for one of his bowls called "Huihuihui”. The work of Heiner Bauer is connected with the tradition of Walburga Külz and her student Lee Babel and therefore in the succession to the Bauhaus ceramist Otto Lindig.

The Stoneware bowls. Heiner Bauer creates the stoneware bowls on the potter’s wheel. They are painted and then the drawings are traced once more with a potter’s needle. The bowls are fired twice, first they are biscuit fired at 900 degrees centigrade and then they are glaze fired at 1300 degrees. The result of this is extremely hard stoneware, which is almost like porcelain because it is very thin.

 The insects. A surprise can often be found at the bottom of a cup or bowl in the form of an insect.

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