Ali Matteini

a life creative

Autumn Studio

I have a confession to make.

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a confession, you say?

[Aside from wilfully feeding the Alberese fox]
I was hoping to hold out for a little longer, but today I caved and turned on the underfloor heating. The first hint of chill and that’s all I can think about. So now I have faux-green-energy water tapped from our volcano filling tubes that warm my tootsies. I can actually go barefoot, which – gasp! nekked feets! – is the most telling sign that I am not Italian. That, and I mixed my spinaci with my spaghetti. Once. T’was an affront they’ve never forgotten.

Back to the heating. I know I’ve sooked out early, big time. For me, while bracing autumn weather is perfect for walking and chestnut collecting and eating, it’s not conducive to the fine motor skills necessary for twangling sterling silver into fancy shapes, nor for sitting still for long periods of time, the latter of which I’ve been having to do a lot .

Graphic design stuff

These last few days I’ve been thoroughly flat-bumming it in front of the screen, this time twangling the alignment of vectors and combing pixels into shape in order for the design print material – postcards, business/price cards and earrings cards done for Kittykatmandoo, the where-we-are map on the back of the AliBaba Enoteca flyer, and the Fiora Lingua translation services postcard flyer [not pictured as I’ve shelved its progress for a sanity day away from InDesign!]. All in all, 7  items designed, along with their Italian translations.



New studio

The new studio space is going ahead. One day very soon I will no longer have to hammer crouched on the floor of our spare room, or scorch the walls when annealing, nor will I worry about that vanished piece of cherry red silver in an apartment predominantly made of wood.
We have managed to clear out all I don’t need in this new space, fix the lock on the door and get keys cut, which feels pretty official.
The studio till now was a storage magazine for everything anyone was afraid to throw away, including decades-out-of-date canned foodstuffs, 9 1/2 Weeks in italiano on VHS, and house paint that had leaked and become stalactitic.  In the colder months the door had been left open for a century of street cats to use as a urinal. I found a deceased scorpion so large and old I thought I’d found a trilobite.
And here’s the toilet from the medieval era.


it’s the size of a teacup…a teacup of bad dreams…



men at work

It’s looking less icky, and the painfully slow transition from midden to studio is transitioning.  We’ll fit skirting boards and repaint the walls, replace the loo, put in a sink and a pellet heater. All we need now is for the power company to send a piece of paper that says “si” on it. I have an electrician in the wings ready to launch, and a carpenter behind him.
It’s a bureaucratic conga line, waiting on the light.

Creativity in general


My sister Emma and I have given ourselves an “offline” challenge: to each create something new once a week and submit it to one another. It’s offline in this sense: unlike the 2012 zine Disinflection, in which we creatively interpreted each month from two different cities and perspectives to create a monthly zine for a period of 12 months, this time around we email our submissions to one another privately. Poetry, a sketch, photography – any medium and it doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as it’s new that week and the deadline is end business on Sunday. Its purpose is so that we keep our hand in our craft. A deadline works wonders.

I’ve been walking with friends in the mornings, in the chestnut forest up the mountain or toward the river below the town. Aside from counteracting flat-bum / closeted artist syndrome it’s a chance to practice my italiano, to collect the plants that I later photograph and draw for jewellery design, and to take advantage of the spectacular sunshine and loamy autumn perfume while we’re lucky to have it.


As for writing – she says, sucking her teeth – aside from a little at the beginning of the month and some sporadic journaling, it’s been sparse. I haven’t had a great deal of time to think about the fact I haven’t done a lot…and so (she prods her ‘should plexis’, just to make sure) I have surprisingly little guilt.

Alla prossima…Buona creazione!

One comment on “Autumn Studio

  1. Pingback: Updates from the studio in Santa Fiora | the shiny adventures of kittykatmandoo

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