Ali Matteini

a life creative

Lives Creative: Adria Susmel of Stella Polare Bags

Free Website Translator

This week’s Lives Creative profile spotlights leather bag designer and creator, Adria Susmel of Castel del Piano.


Handbag with a view

Adria Susmel was born in Firenze, the daughter of an painter from Croatia, Lucio, who escaped his home during the upheaval in Rijeka / Fiume during World War II, among those named Fascist simply for living in the wrong part of Croatia at the wrong end of the war.

Adria Susmel_Montage4

Tools of the trade

Having attended an artistic high school in Padova ,Adria bears the artistic genes of her father, painting and making glazed clay sculptures before she turned her hand to leatherwork.


Detail of hand-stitiching


Detail of decoration

At age 28 she moved to Elba with her 5 children. Being on her own and raising her children, she needed a form of work and the hours to suit. She found employment as a leather seamstress in the workshop of Swiss leather worker, Henry Beguelin, some years before his name became world renowned.


Glass, bone and stone: decorative touches include antique Fiorentino mille fiori beads.

Then, in the early 80s, new people came onboard and the business turned a corner and became something else, attracting worldwide attention and the inclination to expand accordingly. Henry left the new business and began to build another from scratch, and Adria herself decided it was time to close the chapter on the new incarnation of the business.


Sleek and unique, handmade Stella Polare purse.

She returned to her hometown of Firenze and began to design and create for the Scuola del Cuoio (Leather School) in Santa Croce. In the church she and one of her daughters demonstrated leather working  techniques to tourists, before deciding to open her own store, albeit unfortunately on the eve of the economic crisis of 2008. She returned to Elba for a time before she settled with her husband in Castel del Piano.


Bags and belt.

From her home workshop, she designs and makes her unique leather bags and belts under the label Stella Polare (North Star). Combined with traditional leather working techniques, decades of experience and a perpetual passion for art, Adria’s use of colour and the bespoke nature of each of her creations lends every bag a unique personality.


Colour and texture: hemp cord, coloured thread and leather thonging.

More recently she has begun collaborating with weaver Carla Gnecchi Ruscone, combining Carla’s hand-woven designs with her leather working skills – Carla’s profile and photos of those wondrous creations from two creative minds to come in the near future.

In the meantime, here’s the link to Adria’s FB page.

*Photographs © Alison Boyd; Photographs and Designs © Adria Susmel

Find out about other Lives Creative of Monte Amiata – I’m adding to the list all the time. If you’d like to be featured here, please use the form below and I’d be glad to make contact with you and add you to our growing bank of creative people.



Free Website Translator


A Presto,

Cheers and Ciao,

Ali 🙂

Image Alison Matteini ©

Image Alison Matteini ©

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Recent Posts


What’s Happening on Monte Amiata:

Follow Ali Matteini on

Enter your email address for creative updates straight to your inbox. Spam free zone!

Join 906 other followers

Blogs I Follow

Flag Counter
for wordpress
Tours Truly, Tuscany

custom retreats and workshops in tuscany

A Ciência nas Coisas

Fatos e Curiosidades sobre a Natureza e tecnologia


"per l' allegria il pianeta nostro è poco attrezzato. Bisogna strappare la gioia ai giorni futuri "

The Artistry

by Isabelle Warren

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry

Two Twitch A Tale

Linking collage work to the meaning of personal and universal symbols.

At Home in Florence: Italian Renovations

This is my adventurous story about buying, designing, and renovating homes in ITALY


guardian of irish mythology

Gathering just-a-bit-o moss

Attempting not to make too little or too much sense


I help you unlock the peace and strength already within you

Tara Sparling writes

Book Humour. A Sideways Perspective on the Bonkers Business of Books


"C’è molta speranza, ma nessuna per noi." (Franz Kafka)

A Holistic Journey

Finding my way back out of motherhood -- while mothering


Expatty-cakes: Diary of an American southerner turned expat

Grand adventures and global wanderings. Next stop: Italy.

Martin Diotte

Creative Artist


Discover the truth about mental health

⚡️La Audacia de Aquiles⚡️

"El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto" / "The Visible World is Just a Pretext".-

Lady Of The Cakes

Vignettes from a multi-lingual, multi-cake-eating freelance existence


Eyes ten degrees above the horizon

Crafted in Carhartt

about women who do amazing things

Fugitive Fragments

by Mike McGuire

Tricia Drammeh

A Creative State of Mind

elizabeth frattaroli

Writing for Children and Young Adults #amwriting

Jane Dougherty Writes

About fantastical places and other stuff


A topnotch site

Blood On Borrowed Wings

I write, I love, I run, I play, I break things.

Rachel Carrera, Novelist

Writer of psychological thrillers and other things guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat


In the Groove...

Interno Poesia

Blog e progetto editoriale di poesia

Poesy plus Polemics

Words of Wonder, Worry and Whimsy

Lasciatemi Pensare.

se non sarò serena, mi rasserenerò

Globe Drifting

Global issues, travel, photography & fashion. Drifting across the globe; the world is my oyster, my oyster through a lens.

Indie Hero

Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller

Vonj Productions

Bringing you love through spirit!

A Mirror Obscura,

Poetry, musings and sightings from where the country changes

Aisha's Oasis

A peaceful place to relax while on my wild joyride to Egypt from South Carolina.

The Perfect Nose

Sewing, illustration and design.


Undermining the Patriarchy Every Chance I Get. And I Get a Lot of Chances (Copyright Preserved)

%d bloggers like this: