I have always felt that beauty is very uplifting. When I was seven, my parents took us on a trip from Australia to Europe, back to their homeland and to Venice from where they immigrated after the war. Like so much of Italy Venice is so overwhelmingly beautiful that you cannot bear but do anything but feel euphoric, even during the most hideous of the tourist season, cruising down the Grand Canal in the crowded vaporetto is breath taking. I always say to friends if you are feeling melancholy go to Venice surround yourself with the beauty and you will come away feeling uplifted.
So the Vero journey began sub consciously a long time ago when I connected with my Italian heritage and have been seduced by it all my life and why even the comfort of growing up and living in one of the world’s most prosperous and ‘easy’ countries Italy has lured me back like a moth to a lantern.
Despite all the disorganization, the failed economy and the political woes, the place never fails to seduce and that seduction is it’s great beauty. It is everywhere, from the landscapes, the art, cities and the humanity of its people. Above all Italians know the art of living and at their most simple level appreciate what is important in well being and how beauty is part of that ingredient.
I am convinced that Italy’s great strength is the knowledge stored in the artisanal heritage that made it the greatest repository of art in the world and gave rise to the Made in Italy brand that encapsulates great design, style and quality.
When driving though the picturesque roads towards Volterra one gets a sense of other, of times past, of peoples long gone who have left their mark and a sense of their presence. This is the land of the Etruscans , ancient peoples who populated these lands, built cities and had a highly evolved and sophisticated society, the testament to that being the marvelous works of art that have survived time.
It is to Volterra that we have come to seek out a master craftsman to realize the first Vero alabaster collections. This place has a great tradition in alabaster work since ancient times.
As with everything in Italy, getting to the right person is to navigate a complex road of introductions and referrals. When you find them it isn’t that simple, they have to like you and when they do doors open and a bond is made which will deliver to you their best.
So Fiona and I came to Roberto, a sculptor trained at the Belle Arte in Firenze, he has worked in his family studio all his life. We talked to him about my ideas and concepts, alabaster the materials, I had so much to learn. Over several visits a bond developed and he set about producing samples of my designs. Watching him turn a block of alabaster into a sublime beautifully executed piece was an extraordinary experience. The knowledge, the mastery of craft and the sheer love poured into creating a beautiful object is what makes Italian artisans like no other.
Italy inspires, as a Designer you are infused with creative ideas from the most unlikely sources, much of the time subconsciously. I once asked an old friend why he chose to live in Italy he answer ‘because life is sweet’. A well respected art dealer he would always marvel at the way in the Tuscan landscape the hand of man completed perfectly nature’s creation.
Food of course is essential to the way of life, it is simple, the best ingredients simply prepared and sitting around a table in a country setting overlooking a landscape that hasn’t altered for hundreds if not thousands of years gives one a sense of nurturing comfort that reminds one that life is beautiful.