The art of paper marbling is mesmerizing. An artisan applies droplets of paint to a small pool of water. The colors appear to gracefully dance upon the surface of the water, but these individual splotches of paint respect the neighboring colors’ boundaries. As the artisan adds more and more colors, this dance continues. Finally, whenContinue reading “Creating Handmade Italian Marbled Paper in Florence, Italy”
The arts have long flourished in Florence — the so-called “cradle of the Renaissance.” Hundreds of years ago, there were tens of thousands of artisans in the city, each dedicated to everything from leather goods and hand-decorated paper to jewelry making. Over time, the number of workshops has declined. Nevertheless, Florence still has a sizableContinue reading “The Art of Florentine Marquetry: Watching Italian Mosaicists “Painting with Stones””
Located among the leafy foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, the Azerbaijani town of Sheki is green, tranquil, and artsy. Low-rise buildings feature eye-catching stone and brickwork. People smile easily and are eager to engage in conversation. What’s more, Sheki still bears delightful evidence of its Silk Road past. Before we got there, I had theContinue reading “Watching How to Make Kelaghayi Silk Scarves in Sheki, Azerbaijan”
Aspiring stonemasons on the Croatian island of Brač learn the ropes of an Old World art.
Arriving in what was to be our home away from home in rural Bulgaria, we knew not a soul. But by the time we left Kalofer, a tiny town tucked away in Central Bulgaria, where the livestock population quite possibly outnumbers the number of humans living there, an impromptu farewell committee was wishing us adieu.Continue reading “Kalofer, Bulgaria: A Story of Life, Lavender, & Lace”
In the shadows of the Balkan Mountains in Central Bulgaria, residents in the village of Kalofer have been making lace for more than one hundred years. The artisans initially drew inspiration from traditional Belgian patterns, but over time they developed their own designs, evoking images of ephemeral snowflakes, and silk-like spiderwebs. In Bulgarian, the lace is known as КалоферскаContinue reading “The Snowflake-Like Lace of Kalofer, Bulgaria”
Master filigree jeweler Viktor Čivljak has a gentle and humble manner despite regularly wielding blow torches and hammers in his making of Old World jewelry. It turns out that the 73-year-old Split, Croatia jeweler also has a penchant for survival, something that we would learn while spending a Saturday afternoon with him, watching step-by-step how to make a pair of intricate filigree silver earrings. ViktorContinue reading “Silver Legacies: The Making of Croatian Filigree Jewelry”
When he was just 13 years old, Split jeweler Viktor Čivljak started learning the fine art of making filigree jewelry from his father, a second-generation jeweler. Today, the 73-year-old master jeweler incorporates breathtaking designs into entirely-handmade brooches, bracelets, earrings, hair pins, pendants and rings. Seemingly spun out of delicate silver thread, Viktor also creates cuff-links, decorative spoonsContinue reading “The Art of Making Croatian Filigree Jewelry – Split Croatia”