mercoledì 23 marzo 2011

Camilla Pistolesi: interview to a goldsmith-naturalist

Silver strings coiled like climbing plants on coulored gems, geometrical drawings that included, besides their simplicity, the beauty of a jewel which reminds me the Egiptian handycraft but in our time.
The first time I saw Camilla's jewels, they were laid on cobblestones, as they come up from a riverbed. Thus, I decided to visit the "Art" in Florence to meet this young jewel designer with a strong and determined behaviour and crazy about her job. She deserved all my admiration and I have the honour to introduce her to all of you.

Camilla Pistolesi
Camilla was born in Florence in 1978. Even though she has been endowed by nature with excellent ability and love for drawing and Arts, her studies, a little bit forced by her parents, were classics until the achievement of psycology degree on February 2003. During the post-degree apprenticeship, the fracture of a leg (November 2004) also entiled the breaking of a route which she didn't feel inside no more, converting her manual and creative talents into professional activity. At first, she devoted herself to the realization of lamps with ecologic papers and recycling materials, (July 2005), then, on Jenuary 2006, she decided to keep going a family tradition on precious metals: as the matter of fact, her mother was the owner of a goldsmith handicraft company established from her grandfather on postwar period; her father was a goldsmith for over 40 years and today he's retired. Thus, she started to work side by side with her father who taught her the basic techniques. That work aroused her interest very much and it gave to her the chance to express her creativity. On June 2008, she attended a 300 hour course which conferred a certificate of professional specialization on gemmology and setting (December 2008). There, she had the opportunity to meet many people envolved on goldsmith's art and see a different possibility of application of jewels. Thanks to that school's contacts, she discovered international competitions, so, she partecipated to the modern jewelry competition at the Art Gallery on Legnica (Poland):
The 19th International Silverart Competition "MINIMUM" on March 2010 and now she's ready to partecipate at the 2011 edition with the title "SEXY".
From the desire and the need of a further development of her activity, on Jenuary 2010, she opened an individual company. She sold her creations on selected handicraft markets and partecipated to the "Mostra internazionale dell'artigianato" (International handicraft exhibition) , which took place every year inside Da Basso's Fortress "ART2010" and it's composed from research and design handicraft.

On her route as jewel designer and maker, she was interested in jewelry ethic aspects and in environmental damages derived from the use of these products. For these reasons, another key points of her activity were the tenability and the respect for Nature through the realization of products with recycled materials and techniques which don't use or use in minimum quantities chemical products.


What inspires you when you make a jewel?

In my jewel production, I have a romantic side, inspired by Nature, and a geometrical side. In both cases, my ideas are instinctive and they materialize little by little during the productive project.Thus , in some cases, it's the direct manipulation of metal that brings me to the instantaneous execution of an object, the thought born and takes form on workbench or through a route which from the drawing comes to the realization. The common denominators are semplicity and balance of the form.

What is the procedure to carry out a jewel?
The procedure is very simple. The idea, drawn or thought, is the starting point. Then, it's me sat in my workbench and... voilà! Generally, manual manifacturing starts from semifinished products, that is thread and sheets, worked by various techniques (tracery, welding, embossing and chisel). Only if necessary, I start from metal fusion. When the object is finished, it must be polished. The trimming is very important because it gives to the object delicacy and quality.

What kind of materials do you use and why?
The metal I use is almost exclusive Silver. In some cases, I couple it with bronze or copper and brass. I choose silver because of the utilization of a noble metal which, somehow, increases my own work and also because of the facility to find it, given that my mother was the owner of a silversmith's.

How much do you learn from your studies and how much from your father?
Even though studies were a very important experience, for sure, in my work, my father's experience was fundamental as well as home environment devoted to Art was a key point, and particularly my grandfather (a painter) who, in some way, handed down to me this bent on beauty.

What kind of jewel do you like to realize?
I love bracelets and necklaces, even if, being more expensive objects, they are the ones I sell less!

Are you inspired by some designer?
I must confess I don't know any designer...nor I'm informed about fashion and stuff like that... the only magazines I occasionally turn over the pages are "D di Repubblica" and "Elle Decor", to which my brother is subscribed. At home I have neither television nor computer and I prefer to stay in the open air, actually I live in the country, or read.

Did your studies in psicology help you in this work?
I'd say not so much, moreover, they haven't changed my reservedness, so, it made me not very prone to public relations, marketing or strategy of sale. But this rends me very honest!!

You exhibited your works at "ART2010" and also this year you'll take part on it. How was this experience?
It was a very important and formative experience for what concern the presentation of my works. After having overcome the initial shock from a rude works manager (a qualified architect), me, a person who, before this, has only exhibited in little markets, I have learnt to accept and welcome all her advices and this helped me very much to improve my habitual exposition.

I read you take a turn in many Tuscany little markets, is it a good way to introduce yourself? and do you like this way to exhibite?
I should say that I like it because it's a point of contacts with great craftsmen and good friends. But I should also say it's too strenuous. For this, I'd like to have got a workshop that looks like a point of sale.

Would you like to open a shop, entirely yours, to exhibite your creations?
I'd like a workshop with a shop-window. For this goal I must say that I'm on halfway: I've just known to be admitted on the list for the grant of a place inside "SPAZIOSAM" in Florence, that is an old and restored ex-monastery where the municipality are assigned workshops for some craftsmen.

Did you ever export or just think to export your art in foreign countries?
I'd like it so much, but even though I'm an enterpreneur, I don't feel it inside. I feel to be a simple craftswoman, certainly more creative then a common craftsman but I'm always alone on making all the works this job needs like: see to the exposition; photograph objects and retouch them; create graphics for the future website, etc. So, I'm too tired for these collateral works that I've no possibility to do or just to think it.

You are an enterpreneur, do State or Region help young people like you to introduce themselves and to work on one's own?
Unfortunately, I didn't find any sort of help from State and Region. It exists in Florence a counter called "incubatore" theorically put in charge of helping the birth of new companies but it did not give to me no help at all! I'd say, I was disappointed.

Given your love for observance of Nature, how would you like to be your art?
I'd like to realize entirely moral and ecological objects and transmit these values to people. For this, I must still work! It's not easy to preview how the future of italian economic setting will be.

What are your fears and hopes for the future of your job?
Fears are enormous and every year I have my crisis period: I ask myself if it isn't worth it... the point is that I'm not able to imagine a different working life and after all, I'm a dreamer, I can't give up!

Did you ever have some strange requests of personalized objects?
I received many requests of personalized objects, but not so strange! Indeed, the good thing is that when someone asks me objects on commission, they trust to my taste and they give me only indefinite instructions.

How do you overcome crisis moments and who helps you?
Till now, I never had creative crisis. I have three notebooks where I note down ideas with some sketches. For now, I've never been able to realize them all!

What do you suggest to who wants to enter upon your same way?
You need too much passion and courage!!

If you go round markets and you find a nice girl with wonderful jewels, stop and admire how Art and Nature together could enrapture your mind. You don't regret my advice.

Good luck, Camilla.

Translation by Denise Cinquerrui.


facebook: Gioielli di Camilla

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