A Tuscan Artisan Transforms Wood Into Wonderful
Our visit to the workshop of a true artist was intriguing from the start. Giorgio is a happy guy with a big smile, and he greeted us at his studio in the corner of his home tucked in the hills of Tuscany not far from Florence.
He got his start working for his father-in-law as a cabinet maker for five years, and would experiment in his spare time by turning scraps of wood. It didn’t take long for him to fall in love with being able to express himself through the art of wood working.
Did I say we were intrigued? Inside his rustic shop the walls and work benches were covered by wood working tools, finished and partially finished creations, a pile of wood scraps and a huge pile of wood shavings.
Everything seemed to be covered by a haze of sawdust. It was a happy and peaceful place.
Giorgio uses many different woods - olive, ash, maple, oak, and walnut and cherry from wood farms. For us, he cranked-up his sixty-year-old wood lathe on which he’s been turning out art pieces on it for sixteen years without a single breakdown.
Picking up what looked like any other block of wood and locking it into the lathe, he began to take one chisel after another down from his tool rack on the wall.
Chips flew, the lathe buzzed, the sound and smell of wood being cut filled our senses. In just fifteen minutes he'd coaxed and created a large beautifully grained bowl from the block of wood. Amazing!
Artistic pieces like the ones he's holding below take much longer. Very often, pieces stay on the shelf for a while to dry to maintain the structure and integrity of a piece. But it also gives Giorgio time to feel what the piece should ultimately become.
An artisan listens with their heart to feel what's right. Whether it's listening to grape vines tell you how to tend them or what to do with the knot of olive wood, they create beauty from within. For us, this experience was as bucket list worthy as anything we’ve seen.
WANT TO VISIT?
Do you love artisan-crafted good like wood, leather, and metal, and learning the story behind the artist?
Arianna and Alessio can help organize a local tour of Tuscany based on slow travel — that's curated to what interests you, from handcrafted items to food to wine and everything in between. Contact Km Zero Tours through their website or email Arianna@KmZeroTours.com.
Giorgio Romani Woodturning - San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Florence, Italy