After a week up in the Tuscan Hills, at Santa Maria, I am back in Florence, and Terje is here with me. We are staying in the apartment of our friends Jane and Lanny, who actually lives in California, but come back to Florence, Italy and Europe every year. Just now they are in Amsterdam, but we will have some days together with them at the end of this week.
Before leaving Santa Maria, Italian friends had told us that there would be an artist market at Piazza Santo Spirito today, so that´s where we headed after breakfast this morning.
The artist market was quite big. We walked around first, were looking for some new friends we had met while we were at Santa Maria, who do ceramics, found a woman selling the softest alpacca wool, and then started to see what we could find which would be of special interest to us.
It didn´t take us long to find a woman, Cristina, who does block print, on cotton and linen, and also on paper. Cristina told us that she carved her wooden blocks herself, using old traditional patterns from Emilia Romagna.
In the early 1800´s, a technique of handprinted textile decoration developed in Romagna, the area south-east of the Po-river in Italy. Typical of this tradition is the use of hand-carved pear wood blocks for printing the designs. The mineral base of the coloring paste is rust, "La Ruggine", which gives these decorations an unmistakable character. There is an intimate beauty in this ancient craft truly worth preserving.
Soon Cristina and I were in a deep and very interesting conversation. This was really interesting.
Cristina has several different designs, and showed is tablecloths and towels where she had used the different ones. I could have bought them all.........but then I remembered our two suitcases.
In the end I left Cristina and her husband with a kitchen towel and a few pieces of printed paper.
And a mind a lot richer.
Here is Cristina´s website: