Friday, October 23, 2015

Italian Needlework Books easily available outside Italy

One of the most frequent requests I get is: "where can I buy these books in English?" Now, I've come to understand that this does not necessarily mean that readers are asking that the texts be in English, though most of the time that is what they are asking, but they also want to buy them from websites in English because they are not comfortable with the uncertainty of online translators.

I do not get any compensation for mentioning books here, even the ones I translated (just to get that out of the way). I try to tell you about the things that I know are available and how I know how to get them. In the past I haven't recommended resellers as a rule because these books are already marked up as the resellers have had to cover their own costs in receiving the books from Italy. When possible, I have mentioned direct sources so you get the lowest cost which might mean a bit more work to make the purchase.

Please know that when I write a book review, I always say what languages the text is in. If I write "text in Italian" that means that an English language version does. not. exist. I'm sorry that I cannot translate the books for you. I would love it if all of them were in English text too!

In the past few years the Lace and Embroidery line of books from Nuova S1 in Bologna has been able to secure distribution in a few places outside Italy: Amazon's various websites and affiliates, Barbara Fay in Germany, Book Depository in the U.K., Lacis in the US. and Ryunan Bros in Japan. (Please note that Nuova S1 publishes other types of books so not everything that shows up in a search of their name will be a book about embroidery.)

Books for you in Canada sells a selection of Italian needlework books, though I did not see any Nuova S1 books, there were others which I've reviewed here.

I found searching Book Depository's website that there were a number of titles available and at reduced cost, plus they ship free worldwide. I did various searches including by publisher, by author's name, by technique. Use my Italian Needlework Library page as a reference for many titles and authors but remember that I don't have everything and some stuff will be out of print.

There are some clues to find the information you want. At Book Depository I couldn't get any of Nuova S1's books to come up under a general search of the publisher's name but searching an author's name gave me results:

Now, here the languages are listed as "multiple languages" but in the title it says: "inglese" which means "English".

Amazon brings up all of Nuova S1's books by doing a search of their name which is handy, it gives you everything together without having to search individual author's names but it also brings up non-needlework books too. A search with the word "ricamo" (Italian for embroidery) brought up all kinds Italian books, not only the Nuova S1 ones, so be imaginative in your search terminology.

One final word about resellers: while Amazon and Book Depository are well known and honourable, it is helpful to ask if the book is actually in stock before approving payment when dealing with other, smaller online resellers. Many wait for an order to come in before searching out the book themselves and your wait time can be frustrating. Remember that when not buying direct from the source, you are essentially hiring someone to find the book for you.

I hope this helps you with your holiday shopping!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Macramè from Chiavari

Last April when I was in Bologna, I got to attend a trade fair called Mondo Creativo [Creative World]. There was some embroidery and lace, lots of quilting and beading, decoupage, ceramics, jewellery making, felting, knitting, crochet, cake decorating and all kinds of do-it-yourself crafts that you'd expect at a fair of this kind. You can watch some video coverage of it here.

It was quite crowded and I walked around and around, going up and down the aisles trying to take it all in. I was there for a few hours and it was getting close to the end of the day when I reached the farthest corner of the vast space and discovered a booth full of the most wondrous Macramè.

I've told you in previous posts about the Macramè of Italy and how it's not anything like what North Americans usually think of. What I saw in this booth would take your breath away.

The lady demonstrating was Luciana Brescia and I got to talk to her for a bit. She told me about the type of Macramè she was doing which is a style local to the area where she lives, it is called Chiavari.

Chiavari is a small town a bit to the south of Genoa on the north-western coast of Italy. It is said that Macramè has been produced in the area for more than 700 years. It is traditionally used to ornament household and ecclesiastical linens and Luciana showed me the linen she uses that is locally woven especially for embellishment in macramè.

I couldn't resist getting a guest towel made of the special linen, worked in Chiavari Macramè by Luciana in a typical pattern called Fieschi.

The linen is called: grana di riso [grain of rice] and is handwoven by the deMartini family in nearby Lorsica.

Luciana has been perfecting this art for nearly 40 years. She is very proud to have made a towel that was presented to Pope John Paul II in 1998 when he visited the historic deMartini weaving studio in Lorsica.

Luciana teaches courses in her hometown and exhibits at the various trade shows around Italy. While she likes to make traditional items, she also makes more modern applications such as earrings, brooches, bookmarks and decorations. Her table of goods kept me enthralled for quite awhile and it was very difficult to make a choice for my purchase.

I also picked up a kit with instructions to make a flower assembled of individual petals and Luciana told me to go to a booth at the show where I would find some waxed cotton thread that would be good for me to practise with. I'll let you know how it goes!