The story of Alfio Terroni is intriguing because of his hippy bags. Alfio Terroni began working animal skins and making carry bags when he was a “flower child” and was living in a hippy community in tents on the beaches of Jesolo, just a few years ago in the 70’s.
In the morning he produced belts, hair clips, bracelets and small purses in leather and silver wire. In the evenings he sold them to the streets in Aurora and Piazza Mazzini, on a carpet on the ground, to fund the community. There was no master but everyone brought knowledge and taught others. The result was a fusion of tastes and styles, and with the years, arose Alfio’s special style.
Alfio, you call yourself a craftsman? What is special about your art?
Craft is a beautiful word. It’s a summary of the life of past experience learning workmanship with love. And then, when to a material, however poor, we added head, eye and heart, then this material is transformed into a handicraft.
To make a beautiful object requires time, this is the real added value. The true craftsman never counts the amount of time, which is not in his thinking, but seeks instead the quality, almost unique.
How do you create your bags?
Use only hands, with a cutter or a scalpel. Do not use machines for cutting or sewing, but assemble and sew everything with a needle and thread. And so the eye. It’s time. Time for you to think, transform, change, embellish. Amaze.
How did the adventure in Palazzo Pitti start?
In 2014 a commission in Florence viewed the products of sixty young hobbyists and artisans working in the fashion world to organize a side event at the Palazzo Pitti. They chose three: one for the bags, one for sewing, one for jewelry.
They offered a free stand. We got recognition as visibility and publicity on national and international television. Italian and foreign specialized magazines. This world is fed by visibility and publicity.
What dream do you have for the future?
Until the 70’s boys humbly went to the workshop, learned their craft and shared the report with a society of individuals larger than themselves: their teachers. Modern legislation does not sponsor it anymore. So the craftsman does not take on more apprentices, teachers age and die with their crafts.
I dream that my daughter with her son continue with this unique activity, without competition and reward. And that our government will notice what potential Italy can offer and sell worldwide.