In this article we publish the video and the transcription of the interview that Radio Venezia has made by inviting us to speak to its microphones of the world of Venetian masks and crafts in general.
Craft masks, tonight the topic here at Live Social on air on 92.4. Handcrafted masks have the name of craftsmanship because the beauty of craftsmanship is that each piece is a unique piece, because the quality is there and so known and rightly it must also be demonstrated.
We have here Gli Amici di Pierrot: Samuele Comellato and Giovanna Ravagnan, welcome!
Gli Amici di Pierrot: Good evening
Radio Venezia: it’s a pleasure because, among other things, the pride of the artisans goes on and so this is important, right?
Gli Amici di Pierrot: Yes! Let’s say that craftsmanship is part of the culture of beauty in Venice and it’s important to keep it, protect it, carry it forward
Radio Venezia: You are, say, the people, the folklore of Venice. With Venice comes to mind Carnival, with Carnival comes to mind mask, so you are just Veneziani D.O.C …
Gli Amici di Pierrot: Sure. It is a characteristic that can not be separated from Venice, the carnival aspect.
Radio Venezia: How did your business come about, tell us the story?
Gli Amici di Pierrot: First of all the activity started 10 years ago, following my passion for decoration. I took advantage of the opportunity to have this family shop and I decided to start this activity which then developed on the aspect of the Carnival.
The name The Friends of Pierrot, because Pierrot is my favorite mask since I was a child.
Radio Venezia: Why, what attracted you?
Gli Amici di Pierrot: His dreamy, romantic and slightly melancholy characteristic, the only mask I took into consideration, when I was a child, as a costume to wear, all the others, on the contrary, were a bit unpleasant to me. Then, approaching the world of Carnival, i discovered the charm, the magic, the story. It is truly a magical world, to be discovered.
Radio Venezia: Samuele, this is also true for you, right?
Gli Amici di Pierrot: Yes, I joined later, not at the opening when the Giovanna store opened. I entered in 2009 and I threw myself into this new work experience and new expression.
Radio Venezia: Is this another world beautiful?
Gli Amici di Pierrot: Yes, interesting, very interesting.
Radio Venezia: Now I address this question to you, Samuele, what do you do specifically?
Gli Amici di Pierrot: We handle most of the production of paper-mâché craft masks. They are produced entirely by us, we follow all the steps: from paper to decoration and final painting and we try to give a unique product of its kind; give a uniqueness to every single mask. Each one even if, perhaps repeated, can have a particularity a detail or something that differentiates it from all the others. This can also be an incentive for the customer who approaches the purchase and realizes that the mask that goes to buy is unique.
Radio Venezia: Do you design them, the masks, or they commission them, where does the idea of a mask come from?
Gli Amici di Pierrot: Both. Indeed it is a great satisfaction when we establish a collaboration with the customer that gives us an idea, we develop it and then we see him, perhaps, parade with the costume and the mask made by us. Even thinking that something we have created is all over the world, in fact, we are dealing with an international market, is a great satisfaction. A person who chooses and buys something that started from your creativity is truly a great satisfaction.
Radio Venezia: Also because among other things a piece is yours is like it was your child ..
Gli Amici di Pierrot: Absolutely yes. in fact, even the sale is not just a sale that is an end in itself, but a 360 degree support. There is the knowledge with the customer, giving information and receiving it: therefore an exchange of cultures also. Then we really like to carry on this carnival tradition that still has a truly ancient past. Many customers ask us the story of the mask: which is the most traditional, which is the most typical and there is also a whole discussion of information. Then, the mask should not be considered only as an object to be used during the carnival period, but can also be understood as a piece of furniture. People, tourists, from all over the world, come to Venice and approach the purchase of a mask and then insert it into the furnishing of their home and this stimulates.
Radio Venezia: What is the production process, is it a long process?
Gli Amici di Pierrot: It is long because even the smallest mask, the simplest, has several steps. he begins to fill the mold with a particular paper [..] it is produced entirely by hand, there are no machines. Different molds are available depending on the type of subject, mask and you start by inserting the paper into pieces inside the mold together with the glue.
Radio Venezia: Nice, and this is the first step, how long does it takes about?
Gli Amici di Pierrot: It depends on the model. More structured is, more time is used. So it can go from the quarter of an hour just to fill the mold of a simple Columbine that is used only to cover the eyes, even an hour to fill molds of sun-moon etc.
Then the mask is extracted from the mold, the outlines of the eyes are cut out once dry, so it takes time, then the whitening is passed and then the decoration that has different styles; it goes from the simple decoration in acrylic color, to the gold leaf to the craquelè and to the insertion of feathers, papers. It is a continuous experimentation and a continuous evolution. We create basic models that are those of the commedia dell’arte and typical Venetian masks because they must be right there, but there are also new masks.
Radio Venezia: And maybe even this is The beauty of what you do, that is not a monotonous thing and you also have fun a little bit to create them.
Gli Amici di Pierrot: Of course, this is an essential component!
We thank Radio Venezia for giving us this opportunity and having made this interesting video-interview, it was a pleasure for us to be their guests.
If you want to understand how a Venetian mask is made, you can watch our tutorial.