Uncanny!  Funny! Unplanned, of course. Wonderful eye-game.

Italian artist Giovanni Carpignano with American artist Christine Palamidessi, in Carpignano’s sassi studio, Palagianello, 2019

In Palagianello, a small town about 30km north of Taranto, Italy,  There I met renowned Pugliese artist and sculptor Giovanni Carpignano.  He is known for taking elements of everyday use–particularly items made of metal such as shovels and plows– and elevating them with a blowtorch and shaping the element into an artistic dimension that reflects ancestral knowledge and Mediterranean culture.

We visited in his studio, which is housed in a renovated sassi. Sassi are once-houses from the Paleolithic era that were dug into the calcarenitic rock characteristic to Puglia. Most of the Sassi people are familiar with are in Matera, a World Heritages UNESCO site. Palagianello, about 40 kilometers south of Matera, is known as the “little Matera.”  During the Christmas season the gravina sassi in Palagianello become theaters for Nativity scenes. 

You can connect with Carpignano through FB

Artist Christine Palamidessi in scagliola studio of Italian artisan Georgio De Grecsis in Bari, Italy, 2019.

Outside of Bari, I met scagliola artist.Georgio DeGrecis. We spent the afternoon in his marvelously organized studio, looking at his work and tools and him giving me a brush-up lesson in scagliola techniques. (Scagliola, by the way, is a composite substance that looks like marble that is made from plaster, glue and natural pigments.)

You can connect to Georgio through FB 

I first studied scagliola in Pennsylvania with James Gloria who happened to study at the same artisan school in Venice as Georgio.