Currently I realize custom items for a little niche of costumers attached to leather that usually has very personal requirement (even if my productive activity, in last few years, is reduced to give more space to the teaching activity) My catalogue is continuously evolving and also the most classical models are always updated.
Although tastes and ideas, especially in the fashion world, are continually evolving, when we talk about leather it is impossible to not to be influenced by the long tradition that the material bring with it and being able to realize something totally new, using tools with a long history, gives a particular sense of satisfaction.
Following a consolidated trend, the activities in my workshop are mostly of didactic kind. This sort of work to me is very satisfying and in most cases, it let me give help to young people to realize their projects. I make my experience available for my students and they do the same with their ideas and this is such a fantastic chemistry !
In the next future, as well as enforce my teaching role, my personal ambition is to explore new fields related to the experimentation of unconventional uses of leather, such as sculpture or approach to leather manipulation useful for art and creative industries and for interior design.
Stefano Parrini was born in Florence at the beginning of the fifties in a Florentine working-class family. From the very beginning he manifests a poor attitude for studies and sedentary activities and this peculiarity will influence all his future life. After secondary school, he starts his first working experience in the butchery his father has just take in management from his employer.
After few years his family decide to move to Central America and Stefano, who was eighteen years old, chooses not follow his family and starts the period of his life that will more influence him.
He could settle down in his role of lonely boy, drifter and at the mercy of himself but he remarkably enlarges his experiences, his manual skills and his passion for creative activities thanks to the frequent changes of work and his love for travelling.
The interest for leather and the craftmanship of this precious material first starts in Mexico, Central and South America, where Stefano does his utmost to support himself with several activities such as craftmanship of stones, coral, silver and painting.
He anyway remains fatally attracted to leather and the quantities of uses it has in Latin America countries.
In the eighties, Stefano returns in Italy and decides to move on the mountains of the Appennines of Tuscany-Romagna region, where he put to good use his travelling experiences working for coachmen and horsemen and improving his knowledge of saddlery.
As the time pass Stefano starts to invents and realizes his own models, mostly travel and hiking items, everyday objects rigorously in leather.
At the end of the eighties, he was forced to interrupt his business due to market changes as people are no more attracted by leather, horses are outmoded and almost nobodies still work in forest with horses. In the end, fashion trends start to prefer completely different materials.
At the beginning of the new millennium Stefano Parrini finally see a rebirth of the interest for this kind of artifacts and decides to restart his business working to realize totally handmade items; using only vegetable tanned leather sewn with waxed linen thread and an exclusive design in order to create unique items.
In the last few years Stefano managed to create a little network of private costumers and of collaborations that let him go forward even if still far away from the goals he has expected.
Just a few years ago he decided to open his workshop to whom wants to study the profession as a work or just for passion and he organizes courses of different duration and commitment as agreed with people who ask to participate.
Stefano is also a teacher in private schools of arts and art crafts and currently collaborates with Scuola del Cuoio in Florence, with Accademia Riaci in Florence and with the project Craft the Leather of the Consorzio Vera Pelle al Vegetale. At the beginning of 2014 he also worked for the project of Samsung Maestros Academy. From 2015 he collaborates with IED in Florence as holder of the course of modelling and prototyping of accessories. In 2017 he became Master Craftsman as recognized by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and Crafts of Florence. In the same year he joined the artisans of the Observatory of art professions which is an organ of Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze foundation. In 2018 take part of the Artex project born for the accreditation of School workshop and to promote didactic activities.
Normally, it is a commonplace, we consider leather as the material used to produce bags, shoes and other accessories related with fashion and clothing. If we consider history and traditions of peoples of all around the world come out that leather has been used for lot of different purposes: to build shelters, tents, pieces of furniture, trunk, coaches and flooring in addition to the most common uses.
Nowadays the quality of the tanning and the features of leather have improved and increased so it is now possible to add other uses of the leather to the traditionally most known.
At this point creativity finds huge spaces of action and satisfaction. In my specific field I would like to develop ways to use and manipulate leather in order to create sculptures and other artifacts mostly related to the thought instead of the practical use. To me it is an inner desire, almost a need given by an inner compulsion. I wish use leather to let get out my thoughts and imagination, that push to materialise. I do not know if I will succeed and if the result of this work will be appreciated but it worth a try. Creativity in fact is mostly fed by experimentation rather than certainty.
The work of Stefano Parrini takes inspiration from the experience gained in the field of saddlery and in the same time from his passion for travelling and moving in general. In fact, the items he realizes are mostly backpack, bags, briefcases and other artifacts useful in everyday trip for work or pleasure but also for long journey and for excursion.
Faithful to the tradition of saddlery, his artifacts are all hand stitched using a waxed linen thread and only using natural vegetable tanned leather. All metallic parts are in fused brass. The research for harmony, both in shapes and wearability, let produce unique artifacts. Sometimes a singular item needs some days of work to be completed and the result is a sturdy artifact that will last for a long time.
Totally in contrast with the throwaway culture that completely debase the interaction between the item and his owner, in this case the backpack or the bag became evidences and memories of shared experiences, they bring the marks, change by the time pass and retransmit the resulted power to their owner. Could sound crazy in this historic moment but, in all cultures, it is always mentioned the power relation between humans and the everyday used items. This is Stefano Parrini working philosophy.
Within my new workshop, in the old city centre of Vicchio in Mugello, I have the possibility to host students and all people interested in learning my job. Vicchio, the city where I live and work, it is in Mugello valley, around forty kilometres far away from Florence. In this region was born the Medici Dynasty and in Vicchio were born Giotto e Beato Angelico. It is possible to reach Vicchio by car in half hour from the exit Barberino of the A1 highway and in one hour from Florence. Regular trains and buses services allowed complete access to the region. My workshop is five minutes walking from the train station. Last but not least, good food and good offer of accommodation such as hotels, farmhouses and Bed and breakfast. I have agreement that provide discount for my students in some of those accommodations. In the place I use to teach I can host up to 8 students at the same time. Even if I prefer to work with few students so I can take care of each one to the best, especially in case of professional training courses
I offer different kind of courses: it is possible to choose a week end long course or even a course that last some months everything depends on the kind of training each student wants and his availability. The favourite course format is the one lasts one or two weeks. In fact, it is not too demanding for money and time but it anyway gives the possibility to follow a satisfying learning program. The minimum commitment required is at least of six hours per day but usually we all stay till closing time without any problems with the schedule.
As known, my working process came from saddlery and for this reason the material I use is vegetable tanned leather in all his traditional features. I do not use any machine with exception of a small grinding wheel that I need mostly to polish the edges of the leather. For the rest of time, I work in the complete calm and silence, surrounded from the stunning nature typical of the Tuscany Apennines. All that is basically what the students enrolling a course will find. In general, is very pleasant and people easily overcome the temporary separation from city customs.
In this document (italian) you will find the typical didactic scheme for a course of a week end, a week or 4 weekly modules for a total length of a month (obviously it is possible to adjust the program following needs and interests of each student).
Do not hesitate to contact me directly for any further detail or information regarding my courses.
Via della Repubblica 37
50038 Vicchio Mugello (Florence)
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STEFANO PARRINI Cuoio e Selleria
Via della Repubblica 37
50038 Vicchio Mugello (Florence)