2016/05/05

Entrepreneurs | Woodncut Florence

Woodncut Florence © Birgitte Brøndsted

Today I am happy to introduce you to two super inspiring girls from the famous Oltrarno area in Florence: British restorer Jane Harman and Italian visual designer Giuditta Valentina Gentile. Together they are Wood&cut.

I met Jane and Giuditta at their workshop in the Oltrarno, while they were working on their beautiful key chains made in reclaimed wood and as you can see I went a bit crazy with my camera. I also got to interview the girls about their business and what it's like to be an artisan today. You find the interview at the end of the post.

I hope you will like this new series of mine, and remember that I am always looking for new entrepreneurs and creative spaces to be featured on the blog.

Woodncut Florence © Birgitte Brøndsted
Woodncut Florence © Birgitte Brøndsted
Woodncut Florence © Birgitte Brøndsted
Woodncut Florence © Birgitte Brøndsted
Woodncut Florence © Birgitte Brøndsted
Woodncut Florence © Birgitte Brøndsted
Woodncut Florence © Birgitte Brøndsted
Woodncut Florence © Birgitte Brøndsted
Woodncut Florence © Birgitte Brøndsted
Woodncut Florence © Birgitte Brøndsted
 Woodncut Florence © Birgitte Brøndsted
Woodncut Florence © Birgitte Brøndsted
Woodncut Florence © Birgitte BrøndstedWoodncut Florence © Birgitte Brøndsted
Woodncut Florence © Birgitte Brøndsted
Woodncut Florence © Birgitte Brøndsted



I N T E R V I E W   W I T H   W O O D & C U T


First of all what is Wood&cut?

Jane: Wood&cut is the name given to a joint project which Giuditta and I for fun started up just over a year ago. It consists of a collection of objects for the home and jewellery designed and handmade mainly in reclaimed wood.

Giuditta: We consider each item a unique piece of sculpture. Our accessories for the home are in natural pine wood, of clean cut design. Whereas for our jewellery we use hardwoods, such as ebony, olive and iroko. We then, as a contrast to the natural wood, apply colour and wax to finish.

Tell me how it all started. How and when did you meet each other and how did you get the idea to start Wood&cut?

Jane: We met about 2 years ago when I sold a couple of wooden letters to Giuditta who is a visual designer and teacher. We took to each other straigh taway and discussed the possibilities of doing something together. 

Firstly we held a “wooden type” workshop here in Florence in collaboration with AIAP (Associazione Italiana Design della Comunicazione) and then Giuditta had the idea of creating decorative faceted ornaments in wood for Christmas using reclaimed wood.

Giuditta: For me it was a great opportunity to shut down my computer for a while and rediscover the pleasure of working with my hands. I find it very satisfying and constructive spending the day creating together.

What is the philosophy behind Wood&cut the brand?

Jane & Giuditta: We get great pleasure in giving a new life to something already used. Our main raw material is wood, a living matter, warm, worn which often comes from discarded offcuts or left over pieces of parquet or furniture. 

The process of sculpting and creating, working entirely with our hands and simple tools, creates a unique item, each one telling it’s own story. The design comes from observing both shape and structure of the piece in hand. A knot or the grain itself can inspire and guide our choice of cut. 

The colours are waterbased, fluo, pastel, ranging from bright yellow, antique pink to silver. The facets create a play of light and shade, causing even more colour tones. 

You have an actual shop where you sell your products, but how important is the Internet and social media to you as a small business? And how do you use them?

Jane: Our shop at present is a small corner of the store room to my furniture restoration business in the ‘Oltrarno’ district, notorious for it’s distinguished artisans. Internet and social media are extremely important to us in giving Wood&cut higher visibility. Over the past six months Giuditta has been very good at keeping up our social profiles. Thanks to this, in April 2016, through Facebook we were invited to exhibit in the Ventura Lambrate district, during Fuorisalone, Milan Design Week.

Giuditta: We are very much at the beginning, but we feel that internet could open up new possibilities for collaborations with other crafters and artisans. We have our online shop on Etsy and A little market and are considering other possible e-commerce platforms.

Talking about social media we use mainly Instagram and our Facebook page where we aim to keep our followers entertained and informed of our work day by day.

You both have your own businesses outside of Wood&cut and you come from two completely different worlds professionally speaking. What are your respective roles within Wood&cut and what have you learned from each other during this collaboration?

Jane & Giuditta: It's true, we come from two different professional backgrounds, one largely digital and the other almost totally manual.

Jane: As for me, I have been restoring antique furniture since 1988 after studying Drawing and Painting at Glasgow School of Art. Thanks to the machinery and tools that I inherited from my now retired maestro, we can create together our small wooden sculptures. I'm the one obviously that does the cutting and creates the original form which we then perfect together. Whenever unsure of a shape or a cut, I will always consult Giuditta! We seem very much on a parallel, one suggesting to the other and vice versa. Our ideas are in constant evolution. As for what I am learning from Giuditta: Lots! In particular the importance of visual presentation and branding.  

Giuditta: Whereas I'm a visual designer. I studied industrial design in Milan at the Politecnico and have my own business: Frush design. A year ago I had the great opportunity of moving in right next door to Jane. Extremely handy and stimulating! Despite Jane’s northern origins she’s one of the ‘sunniest’ people I know. So it’s a pleasure to share ideas and experiences with her. I love observing her at work, and have learned how to use various tools connected to our production.

Generally speaking what do you think are the main challenges for small local businesses today? And what are the advantages?

Jane & Giuditta: We believe that over the last few years particular attention is being focused on ‘handmade’ items. This is very encouraging despite the deeply ingrained cultural habit we have of not being able to appreciate or recognize the correct value given to a single piece which is unique, one-off and that originates from manual work. This return to tradition may seem a little out of date, but it isn’t. There is an awareness of the present: manuality and technology run parallel, ‘story telling’, transmitting passion. After all, man has always needed to distinguish himself in what he does. 

You find Wood&cut in Via Bartolini 1-3r. For more info make sure you visit their website and social media profiles: Etsy Facebook Instagram Pinterest.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you, Georgette! The shop is indeed lovely and so are Jane and Giuditta :-) I'm happy you like the new blog!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much. I am also really enjoying doing them again and knowing that you readers out there love them definitely makes me want to continue!

    ReplyDelete

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