The “Capitaneuncine” tale

For sure arti­san­ship is com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It’s the sprea­ding of sto­ries, tra­di­tions, choi­ces, exper­ti­se. And arti­san­ship and com­mu­ni­ca­tion come toge­ther also in the sto­ry of Ele­na Fois, jour­na­li­st, who star­ted a few mon­ths ago, with her friend Rena­ta Mar­ro­ne, the pro­ject “Capi­ta­neun­ci­ne”: “a duo that sings a bit out of time – as they are pre­sen­ting them­sel­ves on Insta­gram – but that tries so hard. We can say that we knit, make cro­chet, sew, and some­ti­mes we stay in the gara­ge dedi­ca­ting to car­pen­try, smoo­thing and buf­fing wood”. 

The star­ting point of this adven­tu­re is the crea­ti­ve haberdashery’s “Cal­le­ga­ri Crea­zio­ni” in Chi­vas­so, retail sale and also a work­shop, whe­re clas­ses are held and peo­ple can meet “may­be just to knit in good com­pa­ny”. Ele­na used to take care of the com­mu­ni­ca­tion and social media and, in the mean­ti­me, atten­ded the clas­ses. Here she came to know Rena­ta, her tea­cher: lit­tle by lit­tle a pro­ject took sha­pe and was rea­li­zed toge­ther. “She is accu­ra­te, I am unru­ly.  We crea­te knit­ted or cro­che­ted objec­ts, to wear, but also for the hou­se décor. We have ope­ned a small shop on Etsy and the feed­back is good”. “In our work – she adds – we are very atten­ti­ve to the choi­ce of mate­rials; we pre­fer yarn from the sustai­na­ble sup­ply chain with natu­ral colors or we choo­se wool coming from bree­dings that do not exploit the sheep”. 

And still, we keep an eye on recy­cling, “for exam­ple, I pick up on my own in the coun­try next to my home the pie­ces of wood that can be use­ful for some crea­tions, then I smooth and buff them. In the same way, we recy­cle old fabrics and but­tons.” “An iti­ne­ra­ry – Ele­na remem­bers – that star­ted when, a few years ago, I deci­ded to lea­ve my per­ma­nent job. I car­ry that expe­rien­ce in my ‘bag­ga­ge’ and it will always be impor­tant to me, but, likewi­se, I think I have regai­ned slo­w­ness and my true rhy­thm. My days start ear­ly in the mor­ning, befo­re my son’s wake-up, and keep on flo­wing, wor­king, stu­dy­ing and rea­ding, until late in the night”

The “Capi­ta­nun­ci­ne” do not mere­ly crea­te objec­ts, but they nar­ra­te their sto­ries, like the one of “Etto­re”, a wall deco­ra­tion, com­ple­te­ly hand­ma­de. “Etto­re is so-cal­led becau­se it’s the fir­st one we have crea­ted – she explains – and it was a gift for a kid of this name”. “We often use social media, they are very impor­tant for our job, espe­cial­ly in the­se last mon­ths, when no flea mar­ke­ts were allo­wed due to the Covid. We use social media in order not only to sell but also to nar­ra­te the sto­ries of the pro­duc­ts we manufacture”. 

Thin­king about the futu­re Ele­na says: “I’d like to work as an arti­san, thou­gh main­tai­ning the pos­si­bi­li­ty to nar­ra­te what I do. I’d like to crea­te a web­si­te dedi­ca­ted to knit­ting, cro­chet making, retra­cing the histo­ry of this craft over years, taking histo­ri­cal insights, posting inter­views with famous testi­mo­nials”. The loc­k­do­wn has foste­red the re-disco­ve­ry of knit­ting: “yes, peo­ple have beco­me aware that we don’t talk about Grandma’s works – Ele­na smi­les – I often knit whil­st liste­ning to my favo­ri­te metal music”. “It’s ongoing a re-disco­ve­ry of Arti­san­ship – she sta­tes – many com­mu­ni­ties of peo­ple are approa­ching the­se acti­vi­ties. I have con­nec­tions all over Ita­ly, arti­sans with whom we start tal­king about work and end discus­sing about our chil­dren, our lives”. 

Among the dif­fi­cul­ties encoun­te­red is “making under­stand the value of our own work, of hand­ma­de. And this is a path that should start with us, we don’t have to belit­tle our work, we have to value and defend the right pri­ce. I hope that peo­ple will under­stand – she con­clu­des – but I’m con­fi­dent, the signs are the­re. May­be also the­se hard times that we are still living in, have made us under­stand the right value of may­be small objec­ts, but hand­ma­de with a care­ful choi­ce of materials”.