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Massimo Leotardi

I began working as a watermark engraver in Fabriano, Italy, known as ‘Citta della Carta’ (City of Paper), which has a long tradition of paper making, stretching back to the 12th century. One aspect of paper making which Fabriano developed is high quality watermarked paper used in banknotes. Many of the techniques I learnt as a paper maker I have employed in my gourd art. 

Gourds are hard-shelled plants, belonging to the squash and pumpkin family. They originate in Africa and South America, where they have been used for thousands of years, but are rare in the UK. Gourds are dried for 6-8 months before use. As a natural product with an irregular shape and surface, it takes a great deal of care and patience in order to compensate for the irregularity and make the design appear regular on the surface. 

The techniques I use are:  wood-burning, carving cut-out and inlay with different materials such as soapstone, crushed seashells or ground copper. I like experimenting with new materials such as leather and rope trim. For the colour I use acrylic and alcohol-based ink. 

I have always been fascinated by Asian and oriental art and culture and these are my main inspirations for my work. 

I'm a member of "Zoneonearts" and I feature in the April edition in the interview: "In conversation with Massimo Leotardi, Eco artist." 

I have also exhibited at the Henley-on-Thames  "Craft and Design" show, in which I achieved great success in selling my work. 

 
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