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4 ways to understand handicraft through the eyes of children

There are things which can only be seen or “felt” by children. But to understand these things we need to make ourselves little again and go to find some artisan activities in Prato, Florence and Pistoia. 

Many are the things that children teach and transmit to adults. The more puzzling thing for an adult to understand is that tenacious trust in the power of imagination, to let yourself fall into the uncontested reign of creativity, breaking away from the moorings of logic.

Picasso admitted that “all children are artists: the difficulty is to remain that way when you’ve grown up”. Children, in this sense, are not afraid to give shape to their desires. Unconsciously determined to believe in their own fantasies and to implement them, they keep a trace of magic and wonder towards life: this is basically the secret, not so much to remain stuck to an unrealistic golden age, but to catch a glimpse of beauty and joy in every step of our existence.

We are not looking for “a long gone past”, nor for “‘Neverland’, but for something real, tangible, that explains and makes the world of childhood real in the word of today. And so we closed our eyes and our bedroom transformed into a forest populated by pink trees and cactuses .

We are venturing in company of sleepy cats and bell-shaped skirts in the painted stories of  Laura Balla, where everything evolves from symbols perceived from common objects and bright colors. Don’t ask a child and neither this artisan lady from Prato how a ladder can be supported by a cloud: they will simply hide a mocking smile with their hand.

There is no type of landscape which will not be transformed through the eyes of a child an be reinterpreted in dreams. That landscape is alive and “real” in the workshop Impronta d’artista, a place where black and white and common shapes are banned. Monica Bedini is the creator of small enchantments in sculpture, fairy houses, villages to play with, animated trees modeled in clay, dolls dressed in rainbow colors, decorations and paintings for the bedroom of budding dreamers.

When dealing with “game” kids are serious. They are serious because they become protagonists of an authentic experience. They are scrupulous, they won’t leave anything to chance: it is in that moment that they are learning to grow up.  Quisquilia e Pinzillacchera, more than a workshop, is a mental form, a world without borders where, according to age, one will learn to grow up or to go back to childhood. The characters who live here are made of fabric and show an unfailing sensitivity to detail and characterization: it’s exactly this what will not slip out by the gaze of small children: bizarre dolls and irresistible puppets who are always capable of snatching a smile because of their clothes and pose.

Noah’s ark in raku ceramic, multicolored, has landed in Pistoia, in the workshop of Arizoe. Only here baby elephants have a driver’s license and giraffes love to read. Arizoe creates with care and passion small objects inspired by the animal world: creatures with round eyes, very funny and perfect for a personal collection.

To conclude, why proposing objects like these to children? Some may oppose that at that age they don’t “understand” the value: on the contrary many people believe that approaching small children to forms of beauty and culture which are not available on TV might be the best way to keep certain emotions alive for them, to let them take part and to make them aware of a language that enchants and of traditions of hand made products which have no limits, not in spacial nor in personal terms.