Friday, February 20, 2015

Exedra - Italian Baroque Furniture Manufacturer

While photographing Riccado and his brother in their workshop Sicilia Intarsi, Riccardo offered to take me to visit Exedra, a family-owned baroque style furniture maker the next day.   Baroque furniture is an old style that came out of the Baroque era from the 1700 to 1800's.  It's a furniture style preserved by Exedra in the shadow of Mt. Etna in Belpasso, Italy.  Though much of the process is automated, the detailed carving and upholstery is still done by hand. 

(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering Photographer -  Exedra Furniture
Furniture makers carve the intricate baroque details on pieces of wood that will be used to make a chair.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering Photographer -  Exedra Furniture
Wood carving tools and shavings on a workbench in the Exedra workshop.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering Photographer -  Exedra Furniture
Furniture makers at their individual workbenches work on carving and shaping pieces of a baroque chair.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering Photographer -  Exedra Furniture
A furniture maker works on carving out the find details of a baroque chair at his workbench.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering Photographer -  Exedra Furniture
After details are carved out, the pieces are sanded and buffed using a rotary sander made of strips of cotton and sandpaper.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering Photographer -  Exedra Furniture
A baroque chair leg is sanded smooth with a handheld rotary sander.    Much time is sent to get the finish just right.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering Photographer -  Exedra Furniture
Assembled chair backs are glued and clamped together awaiting further assembly.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering Photographer -  Exedra Furniture
Chair backs are fitted with additional embellishment by a factory worker taking great pains to insure a perfect fit.
Assembled and painted chair frames waiting to be upholstered.
Upholsterer cuts fabric by hand the fabric that will be used to cover a chair.
Sewing and final touches of the upholstery fabric are done by hand.
Upholstery thread unwinds from it's spindle while the upholster sews the fabric at his sewing machine.
Upholsterer's tool drawer.
Fabric is trimmed after being secured to chair.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering Photographer -  Exedra Furniture
Upholsterer secures fabric to chair using a power stapler.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering Photographer -  Exedra Furniture
Handmade piping laying in the seat of a chair awaits installation by an upholsterer.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sicilia Intarsi - Sicilian Inlay Company

While visiting Catania, I had the good fortune of finding a very nice apartment in the historic center of the city.  Tucked behind the apartment building, the owner Riccardo and his brother Giovanni D'Antonne operate a wood inlay company called Sicilia Intarsi.   I spent some time in the workshop one afternoon to learn about and observe the art of wood inlay.

It's comprised of designing and cutting multiple layers of wood veneer and putting the design together like a puzzle.   Once it is put together, masking tape is used to hold in place before it is glued and finished.  They use a brandishing technique on some pieces by dipping the edges of pieces in a pan of heated lava granules from nearby Mt. Etna.   It's very detailed and painstaking work, and a bit meditative as they work quietly together at the workbench.  Riccardo tells me they are one of the few companies left that don't use computerized laser cutting technology.  They still cut on a table saw guided by hand.

(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering, Photographer
Riccardo and Giovanni assemble inlay projects on the central worktable in their workshop Sicilia Intarsi.




(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering, Photographer
Giovanni manually guides the table saw with precision, cutting multiple layers of wood veneer. Sicilia Intarsi is one of the few inlay companies that does not use computerized laser cutting technologies.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering, Photographer
A sampling of the tools used to create an inlay piece. 
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering, Photographer
Riccardo inspects the inventory of completed samples in a cabinet finished with their own inlay design, while Giovanni warms his hands on a cool winter day in their unheated workshop.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering, Photographer
Small finished inlay wood items in the samples cabinets used to supplement their online catalog. 
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering, Photographer
Inlay pieces are grouped on the worktable after being burnished in a pan of heated lava granules.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering, Photographer
Giovanni places a single piece in an inlay panel.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering, Photographer
Riccardo trims a corner of an inlay panel border while Giovanni uses masking tape to hold his project in place.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering, Photographer
Riccardo uses a hammer and razor blade to trim the corner of a panel border.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering, Photographer
Inlay pieces are dipped in a pan of heated lava granules to burnish the edges for creative effect.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering, Photographer
Riccardo tapes pieces of a panel while Giovanni burnishes individual pieces in a pan if heated lava granules.
Burnished inlay pieces with some residue of lava granules.
(c) Stick People Productions - Kelly Doering, Photographer
Riccardo treats me to Sicilian hospitality in the showroom featuring finished products using Sicilia Intarsi's inlay work. He is pouring a glass of Cantine Intorcia Vino Alla Mandorla.  A sweet almond wine of Sicily.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Catania, Sicily at Dusk

Catania is the provincial town of the Catania Province on the eastern coast of Sicily and the second largest city on the island after Palermo. Destroyed in the great earthquake of 1696, much of the reconstruction was done in the Baroque Style of the time. Being in the shadow of Mt. Etna, lava rock has been used as the main construction material for centuries. The Piazza del Duomo is wonderfully lighted at night and is a popular meeting point. It is also very good people watching.
Piazza del Duomo - Catania, Sicily, Italy - (c) Stick People Productions
Piazza del Duomo - Catania, Sicily, Italy - (c) Stick People Productions
Piazza del Duomo - Catania, Sicily, Italy - (c) Stick People Productions