The beginning of this blog
I like to write and to tell stories but I'm website lazy, so to keep myself engaged in updating the website and reporting events and news, this blog will be a good way to do that and give me the space to tell the stories of the eveyday events; the little things that make up a day at Studio Sem and some stories from the past. I welcome comments and will try to answer any of your questions.
A brief background: I met Sem at a chance encounter at Bar Igea (now Bar Gatto Nero) in 1983. He was surprised to see a foreigner frequenting the bar without the requisite layer of marble dust. I was making fabric wall hangings back then and once he knew I could sew he commissioned me to make him several courderoy caps (copies of those he already wore). I worked in his office part-time withTaiwanese sculptor Cynthia Sah. While there he convinced me to try translating my designs into marble inlay and gave me a corner of the office/studio. Working with inlay, I learned about every type of marble . How each stone held up to cutting and grinding what happened to the colors if the stone became overheated, how each acepted or rejected glue; in essence it was a crash course in carvable marble and onyx that gave me a wealth of information that I still rely on today. When Cynthis left his Studio to pursue her own work full time, I put my own work on hold and began working full-time, learning to make enlargements on paper for the work of Pietro Consagra, translating documents, accompanying Sem to the quarry to choose stone, talking with the artists and artisans and generally helping out with whatever I could. As my capacities grew, I was entrusted with more duties and in 1991 Sem closed his own individual studio and formed an Srl (LTD) that included his long time friend and studio foreman Sergio Benedetti, myself and 2 of his sons Massimiliano and Pierangelo Ghelardini. My creativity was now channeled through helping other artists realize their work, but the challenges were eye opening and exciting and all that I was learning about the creative process was too exciting to think of pulling away from it all to follow a lone path of my own.
Sem was stricken by a series of progessively worse strokes that by 1996 had debilitated him to the point where he could nolonger run the studio. I took over the daily managing of the studio with the help of the artisans and staff. Sem died in 1997 of complications from pneumonia while hospitalized. Life without Sem was very different but we helped each other and the studio continued to produce high quality work and new artists arrived to begin collaborating with us. We were encouraged and excited. In 2010 his son Massimiliano died of cancer at the age of 51. He was managing the very successful vinyard that his father had begun called 'Il Feudo'. Pierangelo and his brother Marc Antonio together with Massimiliano's two daughters and his partner Marina Dazzi combined efforts to keep the vinyard going and it is now very successful; producing some of the finiest wine in the area.
Pierangelo and I are now partners, dividing the daily running of the studio equally. It is still exciting after all these years and what keeps me going is working everyday with very enthusiastic artists and artisans that willingly step up to the challenges of realizing sculpture through collaboration.