Where is your studio located?
My studio is located on a sunny terrace, in the centre of one of the most beautiful cities of Italy and the main one in Tuscany, Florence. I know there is no need to tell you how magically full of art and beauty Florence is, and how lucky I am to live in such a precious place. People from all around the world come to Florence to admire its cultural heritage or to enjoy a break in one of Italy's most beautiful countrysides. Whenever my daily routine gets tough, especially after working hard, I treat myself to a simple stroll in the city centre, visit an exhibition or one of the many extraordinary museums, have a coffee with a friend, and immediately feel better. An exceptional place that I especially love is the Giardino Bardini, where you can admire the city from above while sitting at the cafè or work in the park. I love walking to calm and silent locations where I can get relaxed and inspired, and bring some work with me.
How did you get started in your craft + what inspires you?
I studied Foreign Languages and Literature at the University of Florence and specialized in teaching Italian to foreigners, which which I have thoroughly enjoyed. But shortly before the birth of my child, I decided to devote all my time and energy to my new family and to painting, my lifelong passion, and turn it into a profession rather than a simple hobby. I've been trained in watercolor painting by Daniel De Angeli, a very talented artist. I'm inspired by nature and life, people and emotions, colors and philosophy.
What are the top 3 tools that are most important to your craft?
High quality paper, brushes and colors really make a difference. I only use 100% cotton paper, sometimes handmade, and buy pigments that have a high resistance to time, lightfastness and durability. In this way not only am I sure to achieve a much better result, but I also know I'm creating something that will last for a very long time.
What's a typical day like in the studio?
Actually, there is no typical day in the studio! Each day is different according to what my goals are: taking photos, making parcels for my clients, cutting and preparing paper, working for an exhibition or accomplishing custom orders. I love being that active, but I also appreciate those rare days without anything special to do, when I can simply relax, listen to my favorite radio station, audiobooks or music and experiment on new forms and colors. I often have a break taking care of my plants, watering, transplanting, preparing cuttings to give as presents to friends.
Also, I sometimes work together with my son, he creates beautiful artworks, very free and personal, in the way only children can. We enjoy staying in the studio together, talking about what happened during the day or singing, but he also loves taking pictures as an undercover superhero.
What are the greatest rewards of creating something handmade?
The first reward is a deep sense of meaning, a very special, satisfactory emotion that I'm sure everybody feels anytime they prepare even the simplest thing with their heart for a special purpose, like a meal for the ones they love or a gift for a friend.
Moreover, I love the empowering boost of energy when people meet my work and find something of themselves in it, or catch a glimpse of something that's important for them through my paintings. They are usually struck by a certain sense of tranquillity, the details and colors.
But what I love most of creating things with my hands is the time I can take with myself, a time dedicated to calm and meditation, which I need in order to keep my mind and my heart free and clean.
What comes out of long and slow handmade processes might seem to be just a drop in the ocean, if compared to what can be created commercially, but surely has a great value and an uniqueness that makes it special. I'm so grateful I had the opportunity and the courage to live out of this passion, it makes me feel incredibly happy and content.
Join us next month for another studio tour and hopefully you enjoyed this magical space that Francesca
has shared with us!