International Women's Day

​For International Women's Day, Artemest invites a group of brilliant designers, artists, and artisans to tell about their relationship with the world of craftsmanship and design - an interesting conversation to discover their stories, difficulties, achievements, and creativity. From Veneto to Sicily, from glassmiths to cabinetmakers and ceramists, clever and inspiring women share their knowledge and artisanal skills while supporting each other and their unique works of art.

Monica Gasperini

Monica Gasperini was born in a small town by Rimini, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. She studied architecture in Florence and is an architect and designer specialized in many projects in Europe, USA and all around the world, both in private homes and public spaces such as stores, restaurants, and hotels.

What advice would you share with other women delving into the crafting/artisan field for the first time?

First and foremost, determination. This is a wonderful job, but you really need to study and work hard. I've learned that you must be prepared to fall down and be ready to get right back up again because there's always a new beginning. You need to be aware of your strengths and use what feels right as a starting point in order to best express what lies inside your heart and go in that direction. You have to be consistent in everything you do. Beauty and love for your work encompass all of that.

Monica Gasperini Picks for Women's Day

Patrizia Italiano

Patrizia Italiano is an internationally renowned Sicilian ceramist. Driven by her passion for clay and the sea, her pieces embody elements of nature and everyday life in Sicily, reinterpreted in novel and creative ways. 

What makes your creations unique? How would you describe your style?

My ceramics are inspired by my life and the moments captured in the places I love dearly and live every day. My homeland Sicily, my dreams, my nightmares, what I love, and what I hate. I like to imagine stories and make the characters and objects inhabit their cultural contexts, adapting them to their environment. My head-shaped ceramic vases are conceived out of a bit of irony, inspired by strolling through Palermo’s markets and observing people, the shouts and songs of the merchants. Their gestures and features bear the indelible mark of centuries of domination in Sicily; the markets in different areas of Palermo are rich in history and stories, streets where you can find different artisans and vendors, ancient palaces standing tall amongst the stalls. I imagine giving life to those traits, colors, songs, and features of the merchants who wink at me as I mold their mouths and their goods with clay. The same applies to Filicudi, in the Aeolian archipelago, where I live for several months out of the year: a magical island I love deeply and that I keep my heart, with its colors, smells, landscapes, sunsets, mule tracks, dry stone walls, and its sea - azure, green, blue - which conjures images of submerged worlds, fish, crabs, shells, dolphins. And of course, the Mermaids! 

Patrizia Italiano Picks for Women's Day

Fornice Objects

Chiara Ravaioli is a spatial designer based in Ravenna, Italy. Recently graduated from the University of the Arts of London in 2016, she now is a curator of exhibition spaces such as the Cantine di Palazzo Rava and festivals such as the Sottotraccia, and even serves as a guest lecturer in Product Design at the University of Bologna.

What makes your creations unique? How would you describe your style?

Fornice Objects embodies contemporary design expressed by technology. Each piece is carefully crafted by both machines and artisan hands, a tacit negotiation between two opposing elements, such as 3D printing and porcelain. Each piece searches for a reference in the real world - as embodied in the lightness of its forms - and becomes a story that is explored and captured in essential materials. Throughout the crafting process, materials become soft, pliable, and colorful, thus coming to life.

Fornice Objects Picks for Women's Day

Anna Paola Cibin

Venice-born artist Anna Paola Cibin studied art and design at the Institute of Art in Venice. After a brief period in London, she returned to Venice to collaborate with Murano’s glass masters, and in 1997, she began painting on velvet, a technique inspired by old Venetian tapestry tradition.

What advice would you share with other women delving into the crafting/artisan field for the first time?

I would tell them not to get caught up in others’ judgments or stereotypes. When I first started, working with fabric was undervalued since it was regarded as being too feminine and therefore "artisanal" in the pejorative sense of the term. Over time, once fabrics started to be used more frequently for artwork and installations, even by men, it was quickly reassessed. For a few years, I thought it was an “intellectual” injustice, but now just the idea that the innate creative power of femininity often allows us to foresee trends brings a smile to my face. 

Anna Paola Cibin Picks for Women's Day

Micheluzzi Glass

Elena and Margherita Micheluzzi, daughters of renowned Venetian glass artist Massimo Micheluzzi, established their Venice-based glass manufacturing company offering homeware pieces defined by reinterpretations of glass silhouettes enriched by mesmerizing accents made using the cold-cutting technique.

What inspires your creations?

We are undoubtedly inspired by the atmosphere of the places we lived and were raised in: Venice, the lagoon, and its colors. Our personal experience with glass is another source of inspiration for our work. We grew up surrounded by many glass objects in our house, therefore it is only natural for us to use them in any way possible, whether as flower pots, boxes, candleholders, or centerpieces. We wanted to recreate this feeling in our vases, which are conceived to be 'lived-in' and not just as purely decorative objects, but also functional, however priceless. Our creations are also designed to be mixed and combined in groups. The variety of shapes, colors, and processes used allows for diverse compositions that highlight the singularity of each individual piece and the evolution of our artistic project.

Micheluzzi Glass Picks for Women's Day

Coralla Maiuri

Coralla Maiuri is an artist who lives in Milan and Rome and whose work has been exhibited around the world. Resulting from experimentations with various materials, her ceramic and porcelain creations are inspired by her passion for nature and are crafted and decorated by hand.

How did you approach the world of design and crafting? Did you encounter any difficulties in the beginning?

I started out by designing decorative objects and furniture for the home. My goal was and has always been to create objects that people would like to have in their own home, that they’d like to be surrounded by. Today, I consider myself a painter who expresses her creativity using all mediums and materials, free from conventional styles. However, I certainly encountered many difficulties in the past that I was able to overcome with the help of other artisans. I used to embark on very difficult projects I was not ready for and that required outside help. 

Coralla Maiuri Picks for Women's Day

unPizzo

Focused on reviving the ancient art of bobbin lace, graphic designer Agnese Selva and scenographer Bettina Colombo founded Studio unPIZZO in 2014, specializing in home furnishing and fashion. Marked by a recognizable style, their unique creations are a singular mix of materials and colors that merge in a meticulous weave that reinterprets tradition with a modern key. 

How did you approach design and crafting? Did you encounter any difficulties in the beginning?

We grew up in Cantù, home of the Brianza lace tradition. We both decided to leave our jobs and open an artisan workshop with the aim of preserving and promoting this ancient craft carried out by women. We experimented with a new project plan and application, thus working on both fronts, design and craftsmanship. The initial challenge was to find the right fit for this particular product within the contemporary market, but this hurdle transformed into creative and artistic motivation.

unPizzo Picks for Women's Day

Francesca Verardo

Architect Francesca Verardo cultivated her passion for ceramics by training with Italian and international master ceramists. She was inspired to open her own workshop after meeting English potter David Roberts, founder of the Naked Raku movement in Europe, in 2012. 

What inspires your creations?

I draw inspiration from any shape and color that I find interesting, whether it belongs to nature, art, or architecture - which was the subject of my studies.

At the same time, I am fascinated by the study of surfaces and their always changing ability to respond to different lights and shadows.

Francesca Verardo Picks for Women's Day