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Paper from Firenze

February 08, 2017
by Samara Rosenthal
During our study abroad program, CEA gives us many opportunities to be involved in cultural engagement activities. The first activity that I attended was the Artisanal Paper workshop. Marbled paper made its debut in the 15th century but now is exclusive to Florence. With this being said, what better place to create a handmade paper box or journal than in Florence?
 Materials being prepared for the workshop

Other students and I from our program chose to participate in creating a handmade paper box. A master craftswoman from Atelier Degli Articianelli, an institute here in Florence, was there to show us how to create these original paper boxes. Her name was Camilla and she has been practicing this for years.
 Paper journals, anyone?

Camilla spoke very little English, so Tomasso, who is part of the CEA staff, was there to help translate the Italian for us. We watched as the woman prepared all of the materials needed to complete the project. We carefully observed as she demonstrated how to complete each part of the process and then it was our turn to conquer the tasks!
 A student painting what will soon be the top of her box

The first step is to paint the top section of the box. There were various colors to choose from and we had the freedom to do any design we would like. Camilla gave us a trial run of painting so that we could get a feel for what we wanted the top section of the box to look like. I was so grateful for that because I had messed up the paint on my practice run - oops!
 Using specific measurements, a student draws lines that she will then fold and cover the box with.

As our paint dried, we proceeded to assemble the paper for the bottom part of the box by measuring, drawing and cutting certain parts of the paper. This part is more difficult than it looks! Making sure that you are drawing and cutting the right sections is key to having an impressive finished product.

Now, glue time! We then glued on the different sections of paper to the original box that we were given. By folding, creasing and pressing the right parts, the final product seemed to look smooth and effortless.

This whole process took around two hours to complete. It was so interesting to see how tedious and time consuming this art form is. The best part is that I now have something to take home with me to remind me of my time here in Firenze!
 The finished product!

Samara R. is the Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger in Florence, Italy. She is currently a Junior studying Retailing & Consumer Sciences at University of Arizona.

Samara Rosenthal is the Spring 2017 CEA MOJO Blogger in Florence, Italy in Florence, Italy, and is currently studying at The University of Arizona.
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