The spirit of Sardinia is intertwined into the weaving of yarn, in the embroidery of a carpet and in the silhouette of an elegant traditional garment. Its spirit is ‘interlaced’ by skilled hands into a corbula of reed or rushes, it is woven into filigree, a Sardinian jewellery-making technique par excellence. The island’s light gleams in the blade of a arresoja, in the reflection of a glass product or in the deep red of a coral necklace. Its fire burns in the forging of wrought iron furnishings. The Sardinian soul lies in each stone sculpture, an archaic symbol of an ancient land. Exploring Sardinia means delving into its most profound and authentic identity through the techniques of adorning a scivedda (a ceramic vessel) and the wood carving of a cascia (a hope chest) and carnival masks, in tanning skins to create footwear or saddles. Traditional and designer arts and crafts form a vital spirit in Sardinia, an essential cultural component of a people that has proudly handed down knowledge and skills for centuries.
In the workshops throughout the villages and cities, in the territories and communities, you will discover a vibrant and productive Sardinia, an experience closely connected to tradition, artistic vitality and innovation. From North to South, many towns feature a shop or a House-Museum in which to admire and purchase works of art. During the summer (until 2nd September) and particularly in two exclusive places, you can explore artisan excellences: in Samugheo, in Mandrolisai, at the gates of Barbagie, during Tessingiu; and in Mogoro, in the upper Marmilla sub-region, at Sardinia’s artistic craft fair, the island’s oldest market-exhibition in the sector. Founded in 1961, the event in Mogoro revels and enhances the artistic handicraft tradition, renewed year after year through the stories and creations of the greatest masters. An event that brings talent and expertise from beyond the island, it is a place in which innovation and tradition merge and techniques inherited from the past contrast with new trends, hand-in-hand with environmental and social sustainability.
Ceramics, produced from raw terracotta combined with enamels and glazes, tell of an antiquity and legend with functional forms (jugs, containers, pots, flasks, bowls) used throughout everyday activities. Yet there is lack of embellishment and characterisation, as the master potters intertwined rituals and influences whilst adapting to new utilisations. The refined and exclusive production of knives is rooted in the traditional agropastoral knowledge. The arresoja (in the Campidanese language) or resolza (in the Nuorese dialect) is a personal blade, laden with symbolism, able to fascinate. The working of metals, particularly iron and copper, is an inherited skill that is combined with contemporary expressions to create unique furnishings and utensils that are evocative and innovative, with a visual impact. Even more valuable keepers of ancient secrets are the prestigious woven containers, to use and to admire, such as the deep baskets, shallow vessels, precious sweet holders or sturdy baskets with handles. Even the masters of wood, strengthened by an ‘encoded’ past, express this identity by responding to the needs of daily life. Stone, the undisputed star of Sardinia, is functional, a resource integrated to architectural contexts. Its material strength is rounded, smoothed, engraved and cut to create features and precious aesthetics.
Beautiful embroidery and decorative techniques created on historic frames interpret the Sardinian textile tradition with stylistic solutions, both evocative and contemporary, as a mediation between historical local know-how and the needs of contemporary living. Rich and precious weavings reinterpret traditional forms with new functions, with the result being unique and useful objects that are charismatic and replete with memories and high quality. The textile creations retain the character of identity whilst offering a strong and determined modern personality. You can admire these excellencies throughout the 50th Edition of Tessingiu in Samugheo, a village in central Sardinia that, throughout 50 years of (its) history, has promoted manufacturing arts, in particular textiles, in the towns at the heart of the island. The exhibition is held within two spaces. One is a former communal winery, an example of industrial archaeology and of manual labour, becoming an unprecedented wunderkammer (a chamber of wonders) in which objects of art ‘interact’ with the architectural context. Form, material and colour relate to past and present. The other is the Sardinian handicraft museum, the Murats. Its rooms are harmonic scenes of tradition, with high-end creations and multimedia technology. Not to be missed is the Collezione del Principe (Karim Aga Khan), displaying textile works by local artisans, and the Tappeto Corale, which passes down the know-how and skills of the Samugheo masters.