Maurizio, the carpenter from Valtellina

by Italian Stories

I like to consider myself a “carpenter 2.0”. I have worked in the province of Sondrio for 10 years and have devoted myself to this wonderful profession for 20 years now.

I’ve been hooked on it since childhood, when I spent the summers with my maternal grandparents in mountain pastures, surrounded by family pets. On rainy days, I made wooden cutlery, bowls and walking sticks with just a small set of hand tools.

I was only 14 when this simple pastime transitioned into a real profession: I chose to attend a carpentry vocational school and graduated in 2000.

I wish my products could talk, and convey all the warmth and affection that I have devoted to transforming raw materials into finished objects. Each one is like a piece of me – actually, it really is a piece of me: that’s why I make the effort to make them really beautiful, and sometimes unique and wonderful. After all, they are made of wood: a living matter that has already had a different “life” before, and a precious material with a distinctive worn-in look that I like to preserve. I like to maintain the wood’s original colors and designs as much as possible, and this requires a careful evaluation of the material and of the final form of the project.

When I turn a “piece” from an oak-chestnut barrel into an object by young designer friends, I live a moment of real passion, and that is the feeling I would like to convey to those who come to visit me.

My workshop is nestled between apple orchards and the famous terraced vineyards of Valtellina. My family owns a little bit of land that we cultivate for our own consumption. This area is rich in ideas and offers a unique landscape that sets my work in a beautiful frame.

I cherish Valtellina, my beautiful land, as much as wood. It is a land of flavors and scents, with incredibly fascinating views. For this reason, when I welcome curious passersby and apprentices in my workshop – for example, to create with them a chestnut or oak chair from salvaged old wine barrels – I am always happy to show them around, introducing them to my friends who make the famous Sfürzat wine and giving them a chance to sample the specialties of the Valtellinese tradition.

Photographs © Mattia Rio

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March 28, 2016