Layers of colour

Wandering through the narrow streets of the Altrarno last week, we came across one of many Florentine paper and book binding shops in the city. My friend makes leather notebooks and Coptic stitch journals and I even help sometimes, and of course I have a passion for stationery, as many of you also do. The shop was fabulous! Chatting to the young woman, we learnt that the shop had been there for more than thirty years, started by her grandfather, but the family tradition went back for around a hundred years. Every surface was piled with pre-stitched signatures of paper, and she was binding legal documents, as they’ve probably been done for century’s. Realising how interested we were, she stopped what she was doing and showed us her marbling process instead.
Layers of colours were poured, splashed, and flicked into a tray with mysterious liquids, we watched, entranced.

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We wanted to buy the sheet we watched her making, sadly it wouldn’t be dry for some time.
This is one she made earlier.

Here she is in her beautiful shop, needless to say we bought some nice things from her. If ever you’re in Florence, pay her a visit at Via Sant’Agostino, near the Ponte Santa Trinita, she’s such a charming lady.

This post is for Ben Huberman’s weekly photo challenge, Layered.


15 thoughts on “Layers of colour

  1. What a fascinating technique. I am not at all surprised you were entranced. And equally not at all surprised you bought lots of stuff from her. These sorts of things make travelling so exciting, not just the usual tourist icons, but how real people live and work in their cities.

  2. Oh, what a treat. I can understand your delight. I’ve done a bit of marbling – I still have some my high school students did in Broken Hill, when I was arrogant enough to think I knew something. Nothing like this exquisite stuff. Thank you for letting me watch with you.

  3. I actually took a workshop many, many years ago in marble-izing paper like this. I have some paper-making supplies sitting around waiting patiently for a chance to be used….some day šŸ™‚ Such a beautiful craft….

  4. Oh, I loved this shop, one I missed when I was in Florence must to my frustration now. I love stationery of all kinds and I would have overspent the budget here I think, so maybe just as well I missed it. However, I will search it out next time.

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