The more I read about artisans, true crafters, trying to survive in a world of imports and ‘tat’, the more passionate I become about it. I have always been unwavering in my defence of home grown and traditional crafts and how paying more for something hand made is an investment.
Never was I more passionate than when I saw the artisans of Venice working and trying to survive in our modern economy. You see, I am also an artisan. I am a writer, I am a published author. I am a Venicephile. BUT….
In England, in Manchester I also run my own business as a clothing designer. My name is my Venetian ancestry. I carry it proudly as the banner that shapes my life. My business is Falcieri Designs. I am part of a small and proud revolution. All my designs are one offs. Everything is made by me, in my studio, handmade only by me, handfinished, hand sold. It is me. It is only me. I am an artisan.
I truly understand what handmade means. I get the ethos. I realise the impact of buying something from a real artist and how important every sale is to that artist. It means keeping someone in business, keeping a craft alive, keeping people and tradition alive. It is an investment.
In my dream world, this is the business I would move to Venice. I cannot imagine anything more incredible than being able to transfer my little empire, that was born from a passion for artistan crafts and handmade and fabrics, and inspired by my Venetian ancestry, to the city where my family history began, the city that I love so much.
I am always impressed at how many artisan shops exist in Venice. It is a beautiful thing to behold and whilst a strong tourist trade should help keep it alive, the tourist mentality is for cheap. When hear how Venetian artisans are struggling to survive I know what they are going through. It is the same everywhere, but in Venice it is so keenly felt. The people who live there seem so very passionate about everything that affects them. And this is a good thing. Because without that passion, things cannot change, things do not happen.
I have been inspired by Monica Cesarato’s recent post and the Twitter hashtag #bethechange. I follow and adore some of the Venetian artisans I have found thanks to social media and I am constantly adding to the list. Plum Plum Creations, the work of Venezia Autentica to highlight authentic Venice, Piero Dri, to name just a few. And I want them to survive. I want them to be there every time I visit Venice. I want them to be able to pay their bills and keep running their studios and their shops and keep exercising their skills.
But however much we harp on about buying from local artisans, if we do not BUY from local artistans they will not survivie. If you advocate local artists but are always looking for the cheapest bargain you are invalidating your message.
Buying handcrafted is a way of life, not a tourist trap.