Ali Matteini

a life creative

Lives Creative: Fabrizio Borgoni, Bow Maker and Sculptor

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“I come from a long line of wood artisans and have been immersed in working wood my entire life. By now it’s in my blood.”

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Fabrizio Borgoni

Today we visit archettaio Fabrizio, who lives and works in Castel del Piano. For as long as he can remember he has fostered a fascination for archery and the various bow styles throughout history from all over the world.Fabrizio’s family, running back over countless generations, were all wood craftsmen in some form or another.

Self taught in this world of woodworking, in part by osmosis – simply by a childhood in the workshops of his relatives, most of whom were carpenters or cabinet makers – and in part by practice, trial and error following traditional artisan methods, has equated to a lifetime honing style and technique.

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Using flame to straighten the wood switch that will become the arrow

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Using the residual heat to straighten

Fabrizio uses only traditional methods for making his bows and arrows. Selection of the right type of wood is crucial to the finished product, adhering to tradition. For the native American style bows he crafts from robinia, juniper, yew, and ash and osage orange, which is a relative to the mulberry and interestingly is also known as bois d’arc (French for bow wood, or the hashed version of the term, bodark).

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In attesa: An array of various types of wood waiting to become bows

He crafts his European bows from black and white hornbeam, sorb, elm, ash, elder, walnut, laburnum and yew. He remarks that it helps to have friends who work in the forestry industry, and he counts himself very fortunate to live in a place where all of the raw materials grow in abundance.

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Fabrizio fletches his arrows with turkey feathers

Aside from the store-bought turkey feathers, Fabrizio uses local and found products and forms each bow and arrow by hand.

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Handmade quiver

He owns an impressive array of bows, ranging from English longbows to French and Northern Italian medieval style bows, though his favourites are styled after Sioux and Apache bows, the cultures which have cultivated in him a deep interest.

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The lineup

He is passionate about conservation and the respectable treatment of animals, hence the bows he creates are strictly for target sport, and are not used for hunting.

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As well as being an archietto, Fabrizio is a gifted sculptor, teasing from the very essence of the wood (usually olive, apple or pear wood) intricate and flowing beings.

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Sculpture photographs and designs © Fabrizio Borgoni; Other photographs © Alison Boyd

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.

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A Presto,

Cheers and Ciao,

Ali 🙂

Image Alison Matteini ©

Image Alison Matteini ©

2 comments on “Lives Creative: Fabrizio Borgoni, Bow Maker and Sculptor

  1. Liz
    March 5, 2016

    Beautiful sculptures and workmanship in the bows.

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