There are people that were made to work with their hands. Masseuses, mechanics, butchers, restorers: their proficiency is consolidated in their fingertips. That devotion and repetition are missing from most people's interactions - the intense concentration that it takes to hold the pen in just the right position, the meditation involved in putting just the right amount of pressure upon the knife, the focus that permits us to tie one hundred identical knots.
In the past, that perfection was astounding; it was heralded. A person that could make a vase approaching the perfectly round, that could sew each stitch of equal length, that had control over a brush made from a single hair: their mastery was in attaining that control over their own faulted, human hands. And then came the machine, with its infinite perfections - all day, every day, untiring repetition, the uniformity of each object. Though we now know the way that story unfolded, at the time it must have been truly amazing to see.
So today we have those machines, and they have their place. But it has altered the skill of the artisan. Why work for mechanical perfection when a machine does it so effortlessly? Today, we exalt in the beauty of the human, the mark of the hand on a finished product. The traces of fingers in the terracotta tile, the satisfying difference in shade between two skeins of hand-dyed wool, the barely perceptible variations that distinguish a hand-woven textile from its machine-woven counterpart. We strive for masterful imperfections. There is pride in the warning: “As this is an artisanal product, color and finish may vary from the item pictured here.”
Giorgia Bistrusso has studied and worked in Florence and London. She is young and dynamic and no stranger to the theories behind both mass-production and craftsmanship. Everything has its place. In her line, BISTRUSSO, she takes various materials & techniques and mixes the traditional with the new: emerald green embossed leather, embroidery, custom-made orbace (a Sardinian fabric created from wool), pressed cork. The juxtaposition of geometric shapes with this mix of materials brings together so many different periods that her bags end up being timeless.
Giorgia works with various artisans on each one-off bag. She personally accompanies the work-in-progress to various artisans that help piece it together. One person will stitch the cotton lining, another carefully embroiders onto the cork, a third adds the leather inserts. Each bag, then, becomes the union between different hands; each artisan has the added responsibility to respect and enhance the work of others. A simple purse transformed into an object of combined attentions, a testament to collaboration.