Updated: Jun 13
This April, two of our talented members took part in a wonderful opportunity in Italy. The Michelangelo Foundation, which celebrates the very best in crafts, invited Nicola Dobrowolski and Lisa Lloyd to showcase their expertise in paper art.
The Homo Faber 2022 was made up of 15 exhibitions, bringing together over 450 artisans from 43 countries, 22 curators and designers, and over 850 artworks in an extraordinary event at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice. The exhibitors were all at the top of their game in their field of work and included leather workers, ceramicists, metal workers, glass blowers and of course, paper artists! The PAC was represented in the exhibition by several artists including Samantha Quinn, Christian Marianciuc and Tina Kraus.
Lisa and Nicola were selected through being master artisan members of the Michelangelo Foundation. They were asked to demonstrate their working processes during the event in front of the visiting audience, alongside a display of their finished pieces.
Lisa was making one of her signature paper birds using the colours of the Ukraine flag as a statement against the war.
Nicola was showing the process of bringing together an intricate paper sculpture with architectural details.
Nicola described the experience of working live in front of the audience: "To see the pace of the artwork in construction is what amazed people, I think it really helped to show the amount of time and patience it takes to pull an artwork together. Just seeing the finished piece is wonderful, but seeing the human interaction with the material brings it all into perspective."
Both artists found the event inspiring for their own practice. For Lisa, it was the first time she had visited Venice: "experiencing Venice was definitely up there. I've never been before and it blew me away!"
Nicola loved meeting thousands of people "and being gifted their time and attention for 5-20 minutes. Some just stood and watched, some couldn’t ask enough questions. Children wanted to touch and hold the papers which I was more than happy for them to do. Reading glasses came out and heads leaned in with awe at the scale I was working to. I was very flattered by the generous compliments and interest in the artwork coming together." At one point an architect had spent 15 minutes talking with Nicola whilst she worked: "I looked at the balcony i was cutting and thought to myself “this had better fit else I’m going to look like a right muppet!!” As I offered it up to the tiny house and placed it… it fit! I had a round of applause which, after intense concentration, gave me a fright, much to the delight of everyone watching!".
One big challenge was the tight space available to work in, meaning sometimes strangers would lean in to see the tiny details being added to the work. For artists who are accustomed to working alone in a studio, this aspect was a very different way of working.
Lisa loved meeting lots of artisans and master craftspeople: "I realised that there's a whole tribe of us out there all over the world, people who sit for hours on their own - agonising over their craft, working day after day trying to perfect their skills. Meeting Nicola was also another lovely highlight!"