As you can tell from the name of our workshop, we are based in Florence, city renowned throughout the world.
Papier mâché is a material that has been used for many centuries. In Italy the first papier mâché objects date back to the 16th century. Our group started making traditional Commedia dell'Arte masks and other creations in papier mâché since the beginning of the 80s.
Firenze of Papier Mâché is composed of a group of people I represent. My name is Bijan. I studied architecture in Florence but have never worked as an architect so please don't ask me to draft the plans for your house! But if it's a house of dreams you have in mind I can build it for you with the bricks of imagination and creativity. My role in our group is to offer imagination, ideas, ways of innovating which allow us to always create new things using the ancient and unchanged techniques of hand-made papier mâché.
THE INFLUENCE OF FLORENCE
Collaborating with other artists (painters, sculptors, illustrators), going to special art events together with our own professional growth have allowed us to progressively experiment different drawing and painting techniques on papier mâché. It has led us to apply gold and silver leaves and engrave them directly on papier mâché.
Our collaboration with sculptors resulted in the birth of new objects which combine mask and sculpture (A Stick Woman, Eva 2000, Sun-Moon Figurine).
Living in Florence has led us to Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. We have combined these two artistic giants regardless of the fact that whilst still alive they didn't like each other much (Fragments of David combined to Leonardo Da Vinci's drawings). Florence also led us to Pinocchio and the Ponte Vecchio (Pinocchio and Ponte Vecchio). Italy made us discover, to mention only one, Federico Fellini who graced us with his unparalleled power of imagery and reverie. His name is enough to evoke Italy (Amarcord).
Raw papier mache stamp of Frammento
OUR WORK TOOLS ARE AND REMAIN OUR HANDS
Our work tools are and remain our hands. In all these years our mind and imagination have travelled extensively but the materials, techniques and faithfulness to a tradition of craftsmanship have remained unchanged. All our creations – whether they be the traditional Commedia dell'Arte masks or our most original creations – are made in our Florentine workshops (nothing is imported) respecting traditional techniques, history and the materials that we use. All these aspects combine to guaranty the highest quality of our products.
The shapes of our masks are the result of our imagination which travels constantly, as unstable and changing as life. Like people, no two masks are the same. I have sometimes tried to change the faces of masks (Human Head). And though some people have tried and still try to copy our faces, we don't think we should be the ones to blame for their cheekiness.
La creazione di una maschera