How do you explain skilled artisanship to people who have never seen a skilled artisan at work, let alone a group of artisans cooperate seamlessly in perfect synchronization? I found that it is really tough and in most cases better to leave the word handmade out of the discussion.
I do what I do because I grew up frequently admiring skilled artisans at work all around Italy. Because of that experience, I have witnessed what can happen before a product reaches the store shelves and in some cases that is close to magic. To get the point across we have redesigned our home page to show a video of Imperio Rossi, Mario Costantini, and a serventino (Mauro) work together to produce a tumbler. The way they can work on multiple products at the same time and separate the task of performing different aspects of the production process is like clock work–clearly the result of years of experience. Not too surprising if you consider that Imperio got started at age 13 in 1964. Fifty-one years of experience must mean something!
When Imperio started working on something more complicated, like a carafe, I could not believe the motions that he had mastered and memorized to attach a handle in the perfect shape. The awe grew when they had me try to pick out a blob of glass from the furnace for them. I tried but I got too little and it immediately fell off my canna because I wasn’t spinning it fast enough.
All of our artisans know something that sets them apart from everybody else. This is the value of know-how and to you it means that their products are unique and the best expression of their kind in the world. To me, that’s a creation worth having.