Alfredo Sciarrotta – It’s a Small World

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Remember last Wednesday’s post about the 5 Silversmiths I’d Like to Have Coffee With? Last on my list, but by no means least, was Silversmith Alfredo Sciarrotta.  He made leaf #10.

About 10 seconds after I pressed publish

I went outside to meet a friend for a walk. Note to self – when she says “it’s like a Stairmaster only with better views”, take her seriously!

But I digress – we were just about to set off on our walk, when she handed over a bag. It was a small paper one with handles, like a mini grocery bag. I did what anyone would do, I looked inside.

I swear my heart skipped a beat

I stared in utter surprise for a moment. Then reached in and pulled out the contents. I looked over at my friend, my expression must have been a good one, as she began to laugh.

“I was looking on your website last night and saw the leaf dish”, she said. “I thought we had one that seemed similar and when I looked at the marks I thought it was the same parson.”

There, in my palm, was Leaf #3.

Leaf #3 Handmade by Alfredo Sciarrotta.

The style is unmistakeable.

First, is the form itself.  The leaf shapes are (in my mind at least) iconic to Sciarrotta.

Second, the edges of the leaves are wonderful.  They are formed from a simple bent rim, an extension of the bowl. But the character contained in them! Undulations, varying width, curves, texture. All of this is conveyed in the simplest form, just the essentials.

See how the edge of the leaf undulates and varies in width.

Third, is the stem of the leaf. The sheet of silver is rolled to form the stem, then pinched, but not soldered shut on the underside.

The stem is a natural part of the bowl and edges.

See the cylindrical form the rolled stem creates.

Fourth, are the little bun feet, applied to the body of the bowl. They have been put on with great attention to detail. The seams are smooth, no rough transition to mark the spot where they were attached.

Minimalist bun feet do not detract attention from the bowl.

Fifth, is the lovely veining on this bowl.  Leaf #10 does not have veins, but this one does. Not too many, but just enough to reinforce that it is a maple leaf. You can see some radiating outward from the stem in the photo below.

The veining is very subtle and difficult to photograph.

Last is the mark. “Handmade by Sciarrotta”. This piece also has a store mark for Bailey, Banks and Biddle. They are slightly doubled, it has been struck twice. The first time was not clear enough.

Handmade by Sciarrotta.

Handmade in a mass produced world.

Made with tools that smiths – who worked hundreds of years ago – would instantly recognize and be able to pick up and work with. It’s an art that has almost magical properties for me. I am not in the least bit artistic, so a smith creating such beauty where none existed before, utterly captivates me. The durability and usefulness of this beautiful object also fascinates.

Now that I am done writing this post, and having had the privilege of studying and photographing Leaf #3, it is going to go back to my friend’s house. She received it as an inheritance from a relative.

Want to know what it does at her house?

This is the best bit. Until she brought it over, it held her daughter’s erasers (yes, the things to erase pencil marks) and that is what it is going back home to do.

Thoughtful | Functional | Beautiful – I love it!

I’m going to see if she’ll let me post a candid photo.


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