Archive for category Florence and its artisans
It seems almost impossible that the same supple leather that is used to make leather jackets and gloves can be applied to create rigid boxes for holding pens, business cards, cigars and reading glasses. But using the antique traditions of the Cuoio Collection that have been passed down from father to son for generations, skilled artisans can create a hard sided box like a piece of art from cuoio leather. This is a tradition which can easily be dated back to Caterina de Medici when she apparently made these leather boxes “all the rage” in the 1500′s in Paris when she included them in her trousseau.
These boxes are examples of beauty and skilled craftsmanship, evident in the simple lines, the seamless appearance and the smooth texture of the leather. Perhaps the most stunning aspect of these uniquely formed leather goods is that they are produced in exactly the same manner as they were over 50 years ago – no high tech, no fancy computers and no synthetic material or colors. Though some would be apt to mix the work of “pelleteria” – that is the cutting, assembling and sewing of leather bags, wallets and belts with that of “cuoio sagomato” – they would most certainly be making a gross error. The raw material may be the same – but the similarities definitely stop there.
+ The unfinished leather is cut to the predetermined size and is then soaked in water.
+ Then one edge of the leather will be thinned out so as to make a cleaner seal where the sides lap over on the final product.
+ Depending on the size and shape of the final product, the wet leather is then molded to a wooden form which is commonly called a “last” and tacked on with small nails or tied so that the leather stays in place.
What is a last? It is a shoemaker’s model for shaping or repairing a shoe or boot. But not only a shoemaker, it can be a model for shaping or repairing any type of leather article.
+ Once the leather is formed to the molds they are baked at low temps until thoroughly dried.
+ The now formed leather will be cooled and then the seals where they were glued together are washed to remove any excess glue. Any left over glue will alter the final color of the product.
+ Then the ropes are untied or the tacs are taken out and the dried leather is carefully pulled from the form. Excess leather is cut off at this time and now is the time when defining curves are added.
+ The leather case is now painted with the appropriate color. It is then smoothed with a heated roller and finished with a buffer until it shines.
+ The edges will then be sealed and the exterior of the object is painted and embossed with the Pierotucci name.
chase those Monday Morning blues away – - – at least that’s what we like to think!
Just have a peek at Daniela who is smiling away with her newest creation!
This Pierotucci Italian leather handbags has been a favorite for years – it’s one of those classic styles that never seems to go out of fashion. A rich soft grain embossed leather with silver colored hardware accents and it comes in two sizes.
He came to our store with his wife and she tried on a jacket (probably more than one!) BUT they opted not to buy right away, they wanted to “shop around”. However, it was love at first sight and even while browsing all of Florence, this lovely model was the one she couldn’t stop thinking about. In the end, she went home to the States empty handed.
Her husband secretly contacted us, sending a photo of her modeling the jacket while visiting the Pierotucci Leather Factory asking our help in identifying the jacket and the size . . . and thus the saga began.
The emails flew back and forth: size and color were the main topics – plus a little bit of good Texan humour from Jerry!
IT HAS TO BE GREEN ! Green is her favorite color.
Even though this jacket came in a light gray color in our store, how could we ignore his plea?
We solicited our tailor to find the right shade of green and he did. A sensual dark shade of emerald
green in a gorgeous vintage inspired leather – Jerry was enthusiastic, and we must admit we were starting to get caught up in the excitement of the his gift giving.
Next step was confirming the size - obviously Jerry couldn’t go taking body measurements . . . at least not without a good excuse
This was going to be a big Christmas surprise and he knew he was taking a chance. He told us :
Hey, I usually surprise her with diamonds. Tough to mess up on those!
We were determined that he wouldn’t mess up with this gift either. She’s petite he told us. Jerry was insisting she would need a size 40 (What a sweetheart! If only my DH would insist that I am a size 40!) However our experienced customer service knew that this jacket was cut small and insisted on finding a way of getting some body measurement. With some careful Mission Impossible work, Jerry managed to get us her measurements, and we matched them up to one of the girls in the office. Our customer service department has found this to be the best way to assure a perfect fit . . . try it on someone with similar height, weight and body measurements!
The jacket was put into production!
But Jerry was anxious to make this the best Christmas yet
“What about gloves to match?”
We knew that getting the same colour green would be impossible since the quality and type of leather used for the jacket is different from that of a soft pair of gloves so we suggested a complimentary color – a rich chocolate brown classic style kid skin glove. We had some more fun and games sorting out the size of the gloves, with Jerry sending us a picture of her “worn” gloves! But his endless funny comments kept us all in the holiday spirit.
NOW THE WAIT.
The jacket was finally ready to be shipped. As nervous as he was about getting the right size, he told us he would not peek but wait until Christmas Day. He decided to let his Darling Wife open the box and they would both look at it together.
The result? They were ecstatic. Jerry sent us photos of her wearing the jacket next to the Christmas tree and she looked like a million dollars.
Beverley and DonnaWell we did it !!!!!! It looks great and she LOVES it.I thank you sooooo much for all your help.Definitely a great big Grazie mille!I am sending a few pictures I just took.MERRY CHRISTMAS and a very HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Another success story from Pierotucci!
In Florence there is a little tale they tell of Michelangelo when he was working on the marble masterpiece of “Davide”. The story tells of how someone came in while the great sculptor was pulling out the piece of art hidden within the marble and the interloper made the comment that the nose was a little too big on this mammoth statue. It then goes on to tell how Michelangelo climbed the ladder with the hammer and chisel, made the movement and sounds of chipping away at the smooth white stone and then let a little marble dust float out of his hand. At that point he then looked at the critical observer with a tilt of the head, as if to ask “and now?” The person nodded their head – and said – “now it’s perfect.”
That is not a customization, but it should be a hint as to what you are asking when you request the craftsman to change their work of art. You are asking to transform an Italian masterpiece.
But, unlike Micheangelo, our craftsman understand that their masterpieces are meant to be used and that they need to be practical, functional and useful.
Our happy shopper A.S. from Switzerland came to us with an idea about a leather business bag from the Tucci Collection she had fallen in love with on our site. It was the size she needed, it had all the pockets she needed, it was the perfect “war bag” for her business. BUT, she required some modifications so that she could easily carry all of her necessary items, and she wanted a quality bag, hand crafted with all the trimmings, but without the fancy designer label potentially putting off her prospective clients.
Step by step, the bag took shape. Our master craftsman, Marco Galli has been designing and making bags for most of his adult life, and he knows exactly what will work and what won’t. So for example, when A.S. said she wanted the shoulder strap to be attached at the sides, he immediately knew that this would not work for this kind of bag. It has two gussets and when the shoulder strap would be in use, then the shape and form of the bag would be contorted in such a way that would be ugly and unsafe for the design. So he suggested that the strap be attached to the back and this worked perfectly.
1) We converted a masculine style bag, into a more feminine, versatile bag which oozes charm and sophistication at every angle.
2) The top handle was eliminated.
3) We took away the two shoulder straps and replaced them with rolled leather handles that were long enough for them to be slipped over the wrist for a more elegant and feminine carrying option.
4) We added a much longer detachable shoulder strap which can be comfortable over one shoulder or used as a cross body bag.
The whole concept of the bag has gone from masculine to feminine with just a few tweaks and for only a nominal fee for the extra work and leather, A.S. has a bag that will take her to every business meeting for a very long time. She was absolutely thrilled, and took the time to write to us and praise us on a job well done.
Even fully loaded, as you can see in the picture I made, it holds its form beautifully. Your craftspeople are to be congratulated on a great concept and job well done.
We try to accommodate every customised request, some we can do, others not. Pierotucci is one of the finest Florentine factories in Tuscany and they go that extra mile in trying to satisfy the needs of the customer, be it colour and type of leather, length of handles or monogramming.
Making the cut is the first step to a quality leather handbag or, in the case, messenger bag. Using a genuine soft grain leather with an embossed pattern which we call buffalo, you can see Marco in the first part measuring out the pattern pieces of this men’s messenger bag which he will then hand-cut with his coltello. He will examine each hide that he lays out for the a homogeneous color and no unusual markings. Normally a piece of leather in this style will have a uniform color – but to assure a high quality finished product special attention is paid to every step, his quick eye will notice if there are any strange or accented marking that will be too obvious once the bag is assembled.
After all the pieces have been assembled they are passed over to Renato, who has worked years in the area of prepping the pattern pieces for the final assembly. This messenger bag that they are cutting (1288-BU) is the large size and that means that the larger pieces of leather need an interior support to be sure they maintain their form in use. Renato adds a feather-light adhesive support to all major components of this bag – you could say that he is adding a little bit of skeleton support to this messenger bag. Once this step is done it will pass over to our leather craftswomen (and man) who work on assembling and sewing the bag together.
For more than one reason February is associated with red and hearts – Pierotucci is embracing the challenge to show you something red every day. Just a little reminder to Go Red for Women and take care of your heart.
This is a detail from a murano glass mosaic from Florence Italy, where you can clearly see the small hand blown glass tiles that combine to make a beautiful piece of art. The glass mosaic pieces has a long and diverse history in Italy and many are available to see in the numerous churches throughout the countryside.
This particular image depicts St. Fabiola, a Christian saint from the 4th century. She devoted her life to charitable work and reputedly founded the first hospital for the sick and needy on the outskirts of Rome.
Notice the rich red colors that work together to give an almost 3 dimensional look to the image, accenting the folds in her vibrant red robe. Remembered as the saint of divorced people, difficult marriages, victims of abuse; adultery; unfaithfulness, widows; Hospice Movement she led quite an interesting life. Married to a vicious man, divorced within Roman law in the 4th century and remarried again the Catholic church frowned upon her originally. However at the death of her second husband she dressed in penitential robes and received the pardon the Church. She then proceeded to donate time and money to the care of the sick and ill. This mosaic portrait art is a copy of the famous work by Jean-Jacques Henner a French artist from the early 1900′s.
Become aware, check out the site http://www.goredforwomen.org to learn more about heart disease and symptoms of a heart attack.
After you have picked out “the” model from all the possible designs, selected the color combinations, sorted out the hardware and created the first pattern – the next step to making a new style Italian leather handbag is the cutting of the material.
In the case of cutting a leather handbag, the size of the leather, the color, the grain, the thickness and the size of the pattern pieces all come into play. It is essential to have an experienced hand welding the knife.
It is a little bit easier when cutting a standard width roll of material – which is homogeneous in color, texture, size and pattern though if the pattern is complex and has many twists and turns a steady hand will make the difference between pieces that are sewable and pieces that . . . aren’t.
When cutting by hand, a rigid pattern piece is first cut from thick cardboard. It will then get laid out on the material in a way that will maximize the material in the best possible manner leaving as little as possible for scrap. If the material has a “nap” to it, the direction will be indicated on the pattern piece so that all of the pieces flow in the same direction. Below it is possible to view Marco cutting the center piece to the Toscanella Children’s backpack in the canvas line. The material used in these sturdy bags has a feel to it almost like a crushed velvet or stiff suede – so he will take care to be sure that each piece is cut in the correct direction.
In the video below Renzo, one of our Master craftsman cutting the material for a new model about to come out in the Toscanella collection in February 2013. The material to be used in this Italian leather handbag is an felted wool which has been a tradition in the Casentino Valley (located about an hour southeast of Florence Italy) for several centuries. Tuscany has always had a strong tradition working sheep and their by products namely milk (in the form of pecorino cheese) and wool. The distinctive color of the “tessuto Casentinese” is just one of the reasons that this material is so popular with the Italians in Tuscany. But perhaps the original material was appreciated for its high wear resistance and weatherproof, and was adapted to the needs of those who had to live on the road or spend out in the open, most of the day.
Next time we tell the secret of how this particular color came to part of history here in Tuscany, Italy.
With all these great low cost flight offers from European companies like Ryanair, Vueling and Easyjet, the urge to travel … and let’s face it, the possibility to travel grows and grows. The drawback, well besides all the missing leg room and forgotten luxuries (like food and water!) is that one also has to learn how to pack a 10 kg or 23 pounds bag into a 55cm x 40 cm x 20 cm amount of space AND it needs to last the duration of the ticket.
This could be a bit of a no brainer in the summer but how about if you are travel from November thru April in the northern hemisphere?
After doing quite a bit of traveling myself I have come to the following conclusions:
First rule of thumb has got to be find a carry on that is expandable and light. Who wants a piece of luggage that takes up 25% of your weight limit!! – I am all about expandable leather travel bags. They are light weight, durable and please . . . they look good.
Second, don’t over pack…this is one I like to repeat (in a loud voice) for my boyfriend (Mr. 4 Seasons) – but I believe he has his 4th seasom ear muffs on when I say it.
Third, …well actually I am not an expert so I will just pass you over to a few articles.
Though there seems to be some differing opinions on folding and rolling – the tips are the pretty much the same. Here are three of my favorite articles.
This is a video, so no trick photography of before or after shots that leave you wondering. I find ziplock bags curious. That might work for space . . . but I don’t know if they were weight conscious.
Pretty wacky – the video is a bit long … but her packing method is, well, you need to see it to buy into it. I will admit her video is more like a personal accomplishment then about giving you packing ideas.
She is topic specific, because I normally travel Ryanair …. and this airline is a stickler (to put it nicely). I mean even your Italian leather handbag (y’know the one you just love to show off) needs to fit into your carry on.
In any case, where ever you are traveling – and however you decide to get there – I wish you fun, fun and more fun!
When I am being a tourist, thus totally immerging myself in the culture,I love to find new ways to remind myself of the adventure once I am home and back the the same ol’ same ol’. One of my new favorite things to collect are images of the town, countryside or city – for example water colors or ink drawings done by one of the local artists.
Hanging out in Florence I have found something even just a bit different, even if a little more pricey.
Following a tradition that has been passed down from family to family since the late 1500′s – these pietre dure mosaics are indeed a memorable way to remember my travels around the city center of Florence.
The world hasn’t ended! We’re still here and celebrating a brand new year. We all have a fresh start, a completely clean slate for 2013. So, what are you going to do this year? With the new year comes a heap of resolutions. People go absolutely mad buying gym memberships, self help books, and anything that may help you quit smoking. While all of these are great, they’re definitely not where I’m putting my focus. My new year’s resolution is to travel as much as humanly possible this year. I’m going to do my best to cut corners wherever I can to save money so I can see the world. The more places the better and I promise to share about any and all my travel experiences whereever I may go. So tell us, what’s you New Year’s Resolution? Is it something unique because we’d love to hear about it.