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A guided tour of European craftsmanship

A guided tour of European craftsmanship

Wednesday, 16 September 2020
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Christophe Roulet
Editor-in-chief, HH Journal

“The desire to learn is the key to understanding.”

“Thirty years in journalism are a powerful stimulant for curiosity”.

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3 min read

Over 650 artisans from 25 countries feature in a new online searchable guide to European craftsmanship, developed by the Michelangelo Foundation. The platform also has suggestions for master classes, exhibitions and tours, recommendations from personalities in craftsmanship and design, and ideas for immersive experiences across Europe.

The only gathering of its kind, Homo Faber is to craftsmanship what the Venice Biennale is to art: an event with a singular capacity to awaken our sense of wonderment at mankind’s creative genius. Given that it also takes place in the Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini to be precise, the comparison is all the more fitting. The inaugural edition, in 2018, fulfilled its mission to give prominence to the finest European craftsmanship. Some 62,500 visitors were able to admire close to 900 works by 410 artisans and designers, while representatives of more than 70 institutions from 26 countries debated ideas. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the second edition – which would have taken place this year with Japan as guest of honour – has been postponed to 2021. Homo Faber’s curator, the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship, has been busy all the same. On September 17th it launches Homo Faber Guide* an online extension of the Homo Faber exhibition, entirely devoted to craftsmanship in Europe.

A meticulous selection

Are you eager to discover European cities through the work of their craftsmen and women? Curious to try out the recommendations of some of the leading names in crafts and design? Or would you rather join an experienced professional in their studio to familiarise yourself with a given technique? Homo Faber Guide is compiled with all these possibilities in mind and for all types of audience, from a gallery owner seeking new works to exhibit to an architect looking to expand her team, from an up-and-coming talent in search of inspiration to anyone with an interest in handcrafting. Featuring over 650 artisans across 25 European countries – with the objective to increase this number to a thousand by 2021 –, it forms an extensive reference, as well as an eclectic one. Users can just as easily encounter a glassblower in Venice as a ceramic artist in Stockholm, a weaver in Paris as an engraver in London, a jeweller from Saint Petersburg as a gilder from Vienna. As the foundation explains, “each of the artisans in the guide has been recommended by the Michelangelo Foundation, by one of its international partner institutions, or by a personality in the world of craft and design. A further selection was then made based on the eleven criteria for excellence, developed by Alberto Cavalli, co-director of the foundation.”

A world at your fingertips

The purpose of the guide is to open up a world of discoveries and experiences. Users are encouraged to navigate from city to city, country to country, in search of rare talents, learn more about a given theme, or follow the suggestions and recommendations of the different ambassadors. Other options include the master classes, exhibitions and guided tours put forward by the artisans themselves, museums or galleries. Content is shared between four sections: “Discover” a selection of the best master artisans, workshops and manufacturers; “Visit” museums, galleries and shops; “Experience” workshop visits, master classes, guided tours and temporary exhibitions, or virtually meet the “Ambassadors” and try out their recommendations. Subcategories enable users to also search by country, craft, city or material. To quote the Michelangelo Foundation, “Homo Faber Guide places the world of fine craftsmanship in Europe at your fingertips.” Inspiration is around the corner!

* From September 17th, visit homofaberguide.com or download the app available for free on Apple Store and Google Play Store.

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