I was strolling around Ponte Vecchio one hot summer day when I came across the quaint paper shop Il Papiro. While browsing about, a sales person approached me and said, “Come. I’ll show you something.” Curious, I followed him to the back of the store.
The room was ladened with paper in different sizes, patterns and textures. In the middle was a table, a tray, a jug of water, ink bottles and paint brushes. As it turns out, the store just opened that week and Gianni, who’s actually one of the founders of Il Papiro, wanted to show me how Florentine marbled paper was made. I was like, “Cool!” I recall him saying that anyone can enter one of the numerous paper shops in the city and appreciate the handcrafted items. But it’s different when you show them how the paper is made. Maybe they purchase something, maybe not. One thing is for sure, they’ll leave with a lasting impression. Well, I totally agree!
Marbled-paper making originated in the Orient, as early as the 10th century in China. A similar method called suminagashi also existed in Japan in the 12th century. In Europe, the art form arrived in the 17th century. Today, it survives almost exclusively in Florence.
Until my next post … take care!
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