Thursday, 2 July 2015

Ciao! Accademia Riacci

Its hard to believe that I am in Florence. The opportunity to study under a scholarship seemed to come from out of the blue, and before I knew it, I was in Italy. On my first morning walking to school  I stumbled across the Duomo, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower). They started building the church in 1296 and finished it in 1436 with its famous dome. The building is a work of art and decorated with white, green and pink marble panels.......And my school is just around the corner from this! 

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
 It is an intensive course, with tuition four mornings a week (Monday - Thursday) from 9 am to 1pm. I am learning traditional jewellery techniques and my first project was to make a brass ring. This was so the teacher, Daniel, could gage the level of my skills.

My work bench at the Accademia

Making my first bass ring.

I completed the brass ring on the first day.

My first brass ring
Gelato is the Italian philosophy in life

To celebrate finishing my first day I tried some of the gelato flavours: The Queen (pink cream), Antique cream (hint of lemon) and a rich dark chocolate. There seems to be a gelateria on every corner and I resolved to try all the different flavours in the city! The weather at the moment is about 35 degrees daily - and eating gelato help me stay cool. (well, thats my theory anyway)

The second bass ring was more complicated and I had to solder 2 flat lengths of brass to the main piece, before turning it into a ring. I liked how tweezers were used to hold the brass, and these just rested on the fire brick (as opposed to using a third arm).

Brass ring #2 in progress

Brass Ring #2 before finishing.

 Expresso is a regular part of my daily routine, and it is a delicious way to finish off lunch. Lunch consists of a 2 course meal, which is generally soooo big that I end up taking half of it with me to eat for dinner.

 On the third day I started work on a silver fig leaf pendant.

Fig leaf in pitch
The leaf is held in pitch which is soft enough to allow indentations to be made, whilst holding it in place. I am excited to be learning this as it is the traditional Florentine jewellery designs and techniques.

The fourth day consisted of soldering a pierced place to the back of the leaf, and cleaning up the joins. Because of the fine detail of the edges, this took all day. But by the end my teacher said 'Bellisimo' and I soldered a 'stem' onto it which became the mechanism to attach it to a necklace. 

(Ill post pictures of the finished pieces soon).

For more images you can follow me on Instagram.

Ciao Bella x 

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