In this era of machine-made, mass-market production, little seems truly unique. But some talented men and women are nevertheless carving out a special place for themselves in the world of fine craftsmanship. Come and discover some of Europe’s rarest talents, the passionate individuals perpetuating precious artisanal skills, techniques and materials, from the last saddle maker in rural Magnesia, Greece, to the only artisans handcrafting rope in Norway. Through 12 exceptional films, plus three virtual reality experiences, you’ll meet these singular talents, watch them work and discover how they are striving to safeguard the future of these very special professions.
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From rural Sweden to vibrant North London via historic Córdoba in Spain, these talented artisans are setting a benchmark of excellence and innovation, hoping to inspire a whole new generation to follow in their footsteps.
Bellerby taught himself to craft globes after failing to find a good enough quality one to give his father on his 80th birthday. He now creates bespoke globes using traditional and modern techniques.
Junod makes mechanical sculptures that showcase the beauty of mechanics. He is one of the few people using the techniques pioneered by 18th century watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz.
Maier uses traditional tools such as hammer and chisel to create beautiful engravings on luxury items including hunting guns and knives, working entirely by hand under a microscope.
Florentine craftsman Scarpelli continues the tradition of creating mosaics in hard stone, a skill that dates back to the Renaissance.
Carloway is one of only three mills in the world still making Harris Tweed. The cloth is hand woven at home by weavers on the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides, preserving traditional techniques.
Passionate about reviving interest in stained glass, Kovalevskaja uses both traditional and modern techniques to create beautiful windows, sculptures and decorative objects.
Nestor makes wood-burning stoves out of ceramic tiles crafted by hand, bringing this traditional technique right up to date with her contemporary designs inspired by the surrounding nature.
Undrum and Sjøgren handcraft rope from natural fibres using techniques that date from the Middle Ages, keeping this ancient skill alive.
One of only a few plumassiers in Paris, Charles-Donatien makes fashion accessories and pieces of decorative art using natural feathers.
Lopez Obrero makes embossed leather accessories and stunning works of art using cordobán and guadamecí techniques, long-held traditions in the Córdoba region of Spain.
Porchet creates delicate enamel paintings on watch faces using traditional techniques including champlevé, grisaille and cloisonné.
Vogiatzakis is the only artisan in the Magnesia region of Greece still making traditional saddles for mules and donkeys, continuing this long-held craft in meticulous fashion.
Immerse yourself in the worlds of three of these singular talents through virtual reality experiences that are as unique as the individuals themselves. Put on a headset and let yourself be guided by a virtual giant into the very heart of the artisan’s workshop. Get a hands-on introduction to the rare techniques and traditional artisanal skills involved in making hard stone mosaics, automata and enamel decoration, and even participate in the process of creation yourself.
The Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship is an international, nonprofit institution based in Geneva, Switzerland, which celebrates and preserves master craftsmanship and strengthens its connection to the world of design. The Foundation seeks to support men and women who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of master craftsmanship and to foster a new cultural movement built around the values that are essential for their work.