We took a vaporetto along the Grand Canal to San Marco
Our first full day of the AWAI photography workshop was full on. We began the day in small groups in San Marco and the surrounding area photographing the iconic sights of Venice.
The Basilica in San Marco
Beautiful mosaics decorate the entrances
More beautiful mosaics
Carlo Marega with a wall of his hand-made masks
The mask-maker was Carlo Marega, of Atelier Marega, who gave us a fascinating glimpse into the art of hand-made Venetian masks. His masks are constructed of “paper-machè”, and he follows the traditions of the ancient mask-makers dating back to the beginning of the XIVth century.
This is a traditional "plague doctor's" mask. The beak was filled with
sweet-smelling herbs to protect the doctor from inhaling the the
foul air and catching the plague. The doctor also wore a long coat and a
large hat to keep his body covered as further protection.
We watched how the masks are made with layers of card and glue.
Carlos Marega also showed us how gold-leaf is applied to the masks
Our next stop was at the home of Alberto Valese, who makes hand-decorated paper, with a system first developed in the Byzantine era, called ebru. He studied for many years in Istanbul, and is the only foreign artist recognized as a "master" in Turkey. One of Alberto's specialities, is the marbled paper that was originally imported through the Silk Road from Japan and China to Turkey, and gradually spread throughout Europe during the XVII century.
Alberto Valese demonstrates his technique of splashing different paints
onto a water and gel surface, before carefully placing the paper
on top to absorb the pattern.
Paint on the surface of the gel
The patterned paper is then dried on racks. Every design is unique.
Alberto Valese also demonstrated the highly specialised technique
of painting on the gel with very fine brushes, to produce a
uniquely Turkish design
The finished design.
This day was amazing, and I waited with anticipation to see what the next day would bring.