Shepherds Bookbinders – The beauty of paper

At the beginning of this year, I had the chance – a very lucky one – to visit Shepherds Sangorski & Sutcliffe’s bindery. Thinking about my craft project, a few weeks before, I was looking for interesting places where to photograph artisans working with paper and books, so you can imagine my joy when I found a few articles speaking about one of the oldest bookbinding companies in England. For a woman, and before that, for a child who believed that books, especially the antique ones, smell even better than flowers, having the opportunity to access to a similar place was already a small exciting miracle. Everyone at the bindery welcomed me with an happy smile. I spent a few hours (more than planned) looking at the craftsmen working. While I was not taking photos, I simply enjoyed listening to their stories. Some of them where in the middle of restoring an old book, some where carving and decorating precious leather covers, some other were hand sewing pages and bringing ancient maps to life. I believe that the images below will give you an idea of what I briefly but happily took part into: art, in another of its form, art shining through layers of delicate paper.

I really suggest you to pay a visit to Shepherds Bookinders’ shop, whether possible, or to look at their website: http://www.bookbinding.co.uk/

©2017 Flavia Catena

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British artists

As you may know already, craftsmanship and art are a real passion of mine. Since the beginning of my path as a photographer I enjoyed taking photos of people at work. Last summer, with the idea to build a proper series on British creators, I started to contact artists in Oxford and having the pleasure to have them in front of my camera.

In the photos below you can see the work of Itsuko Doherty, a great painter originally from Japan, who studied in Tokyo, at Cornell University and at the Sorbonne, and whose work has been internationally exhibited. It was such an amazing experience to see her painting and to chat in front of a cup of coffee while the neighbours’ cat was snooping around the garden!

A few days earlier, I had the joy to visit and photograph Gabriella Blakey, a lovely lady, originally from Rome, who paints elegant furnitures and works on intaglio, appliqué and inlay using coloured veneers on wood. Mainly speaking about our native country and about art, we spent a really beautiful morning together!

After a few months when I mainly did research for the project, I went back to work on it and I discovered Hannah Shipway’s creations. She is a pround pottery maker, whose beautiful tableware will make you think: “I want one!”. She has her own studio in Oxford, where I was welcomed and where I photographed one of her tipical morning at work, blessed by the sun and fascinated by the shape of the bowls coming up from the wheel.

To know more of these artists, that I dearly thank, I suggest you to visit their website:  https://sites.google.com/site/itsukodoherty/home; https://www.gabriellablakey.co.uk; https://www.jerichostudiopottery.com/

©2016-2017 Flavia Catena

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Illyria Pottery – The elegance of craftsmanship

My interest in craftsmanship and beautiful handmade pieces of art is as old as my passion for photography. I can say that somehow they both grew up together, since I moved from Rome to Milan and I bought my first camera.

With the idea to complete a documentary series dedicated to craftsmanship, I recently started searching for local artists interested in collaborating on the project. Katie immediately showed me her desire to partecipate, and I could not be more excited when I read her reply to my email. I had already visited her shop, finding it wonderful, and I could not wait to get a deeper look at it again with my camera. Finally that moment arrived, last week. Katie Coston, owner and creator of Illyria Pottery, welcomed me in her studio – right below the shop – with a lovely smile while working on some new ceramic pieces. I spent there some time, taking photos at her modeling bowls and vases and speaking about her business, first launched in the United States, the country Katie is from. I ended shooting a few more pictures in her shop, fascinated by the way each item is displayed, by the minimal yet accurate composition, and the smart use of vintage furnitures-objects.

Since my words will never say enough about Illyria Pottery’s great work, take a few seconds to relax and have a look at the photos! One more line to thank Katie for her friendliness, and to invite you all to visit her shop in Oxford, and her website: http://illyriapottery.co.uk.

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