We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Meet the Venetian artist behind the doors of Plum Plum Creations

Often the best things about Venice are the surprises that come when you are lucky enough to get a peek behind a closed door.  I'd say one of those was the day I was invited to meet Arianna Sautariello at her studio tucked back in a far corner of  Cannaregio, not far from the Church of Maddonna dell'Orto.

Arianna is the creative genius of Plum Plum Creations, her endeavor to share her original engravings, drawings, paintings, photographs, and sculptures.  I'd seen a watercolor of hers and was so intrigued by it I couldn't wait to meet this talented artist. Arianna and her husband Nicolo graciously spent time explaining the techniques Arianna uses and the complexities of her work while Arianna demonstrated her print making.

The first engraving she showed me was a commissioned creation for a local hotel. She starts with a hand drawn detailed sketch, which is then transferred to a piece of metal (copperplate) upon which she etches the drawing line by line. Arianna still uses the printing techniques of the 1500's called calcografia.

While we surround ourselves with modern technology every day, stepping into Arianna's studio is like taking a step back in time. She's preserving an old art form while she uses it to express what she sees and feels in current day Venice.

Arianna at work

A look at the printing process - each print done individually. 

A finished etching

Watercolors of Venice

Arianna's paintings and etching capture all the architectural elements of Venice in fine detail, and yet they also exhibit her unique style.

Next time you are in Venice, take a walk in one of the lesser known neighborhoods to meet one of Venice's special artisans. Instead of taking home a mass produced mask for a souvenir, consider purchasing one of Arianna's engravings or watercolors.  These also the make perfect gifts for someone you know who loves Venice.

You can tour Arianna's studio with her and see first hand how she creates her beautiful engravings. Please see  her website at Plum Plum Creations for more information or to purchase any of her marvelous creations for yourself.

Grazie, Arianna! 

Monday, November 2, 2015

All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day

When I checked my email this morning, I found a message from one of the Italian language websites I subscribe to containing some vocabulary and a brief video related to the two big holiday's All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day on November 1 and 2.

All Saints' Day (Festa di Ognissanti), November 1, is the day Catholics honor all saints known and unknown. All Souls' Day (Commemorazione dei Defunti), November 2 is the day to remember dead loved ones, when everyone and their brother will be taking chrysanthemums to the cemetery.

These are two huge holidays in Italy. The first, Festa di Ognissanti is not only a religious holiday, but also a national holiday meaning banks, offices and schools are closed.

I attempt to do something each day to improve my Italian so this was perfect for today. I clicked open the message and looked over the vocabulary list. The list is helpful:

crisantemo - chrysanthemum
ognissanti - All Saints Day
regalo - present
candela - candle
visitare al cimitero -  visit the cemetery
anima- soul
castagna arrosto -roasted chestnut
pregare- to pray
onorare i defunti- honor the deceased
tomba- tomb
andare al mesa -  go to mass
pulire la tomba - clean the grave
biscotto di Ognissanti- all Saints Day cookie otherwise known as  Ossi dei Morti or  bones of the dead

The video contains both Italian and English translations.  If you are learning Italian, I've included the links to both of these here:



And also a recipe for the  Ossi dei morti cookies,  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/ossi-dei-morti-recipe.html

Ossi di Morti (Bones of the Dead cookies)

In Italy, if you were named after a saint then you not only get to celebrate your birthday every day, but you also get a bonus celebration on your Saints Day. I got curious whether there was a Saint Karen.  A little bit of Internet research turned up the answer.  No, there isn't. Karen could, however,  be celebrated on St. Katherine of Sienna's day since Karen is a derivative of Katherine.  Please, we need a Saint Karen.

Interestingly, the Internet also turned up a few websites that sell Saint medallions, and there is a Saint Karen medal for sale.  Two websites also mention Saint Karen is either the patron saint of philanthropists or the patron saint of love, romance and intimate relationships. Hmmm.

The only other slightly interesting fact I turned up is that Venice's ACTV, the company that runs the vaporettos, runs an express boat to San Michele,  the cemetery island, from October 31 and November 2, to make it convenient for you to take those flowers to the dearly departed. Line DE runs from the Lido, Fondamenta Nove, and also Piazzale Roma.   Just in case you were wondering, "DE" stands for "Defunti" or deceased.  The deceased line. Makes perfect sense.