I was recently in the beautiful town of Lecce located in Puglia, the “heel” of the “boot” of Italy. Lecce really has it all: Beautiful archaeological ruins located in the heart of the town, elegant Baroque buildings, delicious food and wines, and wonderful people. A stroll through the historic center took me past several artisanal shops. One in particular caught my eye.
The second type of sculpture he creates are small figures from everyday peasant life. These figures are often placed in a diorama type setting, and represent the history of the area. Every bit of the diorama is made by hand, and often by corresponding art specialists. For example, a kitchen scene might have real miniature ceramic pots and little brass cooking pans all made by local artisans. A fishing scene will have fishing nets made by area fishermen. Wood carvers are employed to make certain bits. Everyone and everything has its place.
At one time in the history of Lecce, there were an abundance of Paper Mache artists. But as with many things, over time they disappeared. Claudio was apprenticed as a youngster to study this special process of Paper Mache, and now he has apprentices working with him. Claudio and his staff work hard not only to make these charming figures, but also to maintain this dying tradition.
It’s fascinating, isn’t it….to see an artisan at work….to witness the creation of something special by someone who is passionate about what they do? I can’t get enough of it. Come with me to Italy….to Puglia….to Lecce. There is so much to see and do there. We can go meet Claudio, watch him work, even have a lesson if we want to get our hands dirty. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s start planning your next trip to Italy.