There's a small shop in Castello where I love to pass by even just to say hello and it is located at number 998 in F.ta Sant' Anna. The shop is co-managed by two artisans and today I am spending some time with Alessandra Gardin, glass jewellery designer. I met her about a year ago and liked her immediately. Apparently shy, Alessandra has a warm and friendly personality and is always able to provide me with positive energy!
Besides, I am totally fond of the location: Sant' Anna, at the far end of Via Garibaldi, a corner of peace at not even a minute from one of the liveliest places in Venice. The shop too is super cosy, nice and airy and with a lovely light throughout the day. With regard to her jewellery, I find it contemporary and joyful, with bright colours balanced by matt and engraved metals.
Here below, our short talk:
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself
I was born in Treviso, where I lived until the age of 5, then I moved with my parents to Paderno del Grappa, a small town close to Asolo immersed in the Treviso hills. I grew up quite serenely surrounded by nature and spent in my home town all of my teenage hood. I moved to Venice once finished senior school, to study architecture at IUAV University and, as you can see... I'm still here! About a year and a half ago I opened Kontempo Gallery & Shop with potter Daniela Levera, located in F.ta Sant' Anna in Castello.
2) How did your love affair with glass begin?
It happened all by chance, really. I had taken a short break from my job and out of curiosity took some lessons from a 'maestro lumista' (lamp-work glass master). I was so happy to have rediscovered the pleasure of manual work that I immediately fell in love with the glass world and soon turned this passion into a profession.
3) What inspires you?
Well, definitely nature and my surroundings, where marvellously imperfect shapes are able to trigger primary emotions. With regard to my jewellery, I love to mix and match my beads with other fabrics and materials, in order to create unexpected combinations.
4) The shop in Castello is a relatively recent adventure. How did it start?
We opened the shop about a year and a half ago, myself and Daniela Levera, who used to be my pottery teacher! We became friends and decided to start this adventure together. We both wanted to find a happy place where we could permanently show our work and when we found this small shop, we refurbished it together opting for a minimal style exactly to give space to our creations. We called Kontempo Gallery & Shop, name that represents both our brands. The shop is a small home, a warm space and many of our clients often return to say hello when they are back in Venice.
5) You combine your glass beads with other materials. With which artisans do you collaborate?
As you may have understood, I am totally for team work and some metallic components of my pieces are produced on my design by Art&Oro in Mestre. In fact, in our shop we also keep some of their most iconic pieces from the project 'el remo del pope', rings and bracelets shaped as gondola oars. Currently, I am also working with Daniela on a project to create components in ceramics and glass, a complex work that requires time but is giving interesting results.
6) I fell in love with your logo as soon as I saw it. From what idea does it take place?
My logo is particular like my name, Kirumakata, which is actually the union of three words in dialect that remind me of my childhood: 'chi ruma cata' meaning 'those who seek, find', which is my philosophy of life, being curious and never staying still, thinking that the achieved result is only the first step to further novelties. Going back to the logo, it's a play of shapes and signs drafted during a calligraphy course some years ago. The theme was the creation of a logo and the idea of the brand was still on its way, so I played with the two Ks of Kirumakata, which sounds like a Japanese world (yes, by the way, Japan is my other passion), and drafted this abstract figure, that slightly recalls a samurai.
7) What does being an artisan in Venice today mean for you?
Difficult question. I'd say it means many things and implies a good amount of sacrifice, but it's all worth it. To wake up in the morning and know I am happy to do what I do is one of my biggest fortunes. Besides, Venice is an amazing city and you never know who will enter that door. I have become friends with quite a few of my clients, local and foreigners, and during the Biennale I get to meet lots of interesting people, so the exchange is always an enriching experience.
Well... thank you so much Alessandra for your time, and... see you very soon!
As for you, I hope you enjoyed the post and do pay a visit to Kontempo when in Venice, I am positive you will love it as much as I do! Talk soon ;-)
Kontampo Gallery & Shop
Castello, F.ta Sant' Anna 998, 30122 Venezia (VE)
Phone: 347 360 7177