Friday, July 31, 2009

Living Green the Traditional Way

Stuffing the chair

Living in a city know for its art, statues and palaces it isn't surprising that there is a focus on antiques and restoration. The neighbourhood we live in is littered with furniture and art restoration places as well as little art galleries. I've no idea how the art galleries are making it, but the furniture restoration places seem busy. The thing is that there must be at least a hundred of these furniture restoration places in our neighbourhood an area a mile square. They're not just restoring antique furniture, but the furniture that people use on a daily basis.


On our daily walks we pass tens of these places, smelling of hay, wood shavings, lacquer and wax. On piano terra (ground floor) below apartments, and with open doors, these places seem like throw backs to another time. Yet this is the way things are done well and so this is what the Italians do. Appreciating workmanship and beauty, the work is done by hand. Chairs and sofas live long lives here, I expect beyond the human life span. Why don't we do this in the US? Or do we? Is it just off my radar? I wonder how many furniture restoration places are in Tucson? Or even tv repair places? I don't see them any more. Such a disposable society. It happens here too, Ikea does exist, but not at the same level.

Oh and workMANship...while the furniture stores seem to be exclusively the domain of men, the shoemakers, art restoration and picture framers have a high proportion of women working too. I find this gender division, or lack there of, in certain areas flies in the face of my stereotypes of Italian gender roles. I like that.

1 comment:

  1. this makes me happy and sad all at the same time. i agree, you can hardly find any of these places in the U.S. i guess more than there not being a lot of these places that makes me sad is the number of my friends who are are icons of the disposable society. need new furniture? i can just run down to target or ikea and get what i need. don't like it? get rid of it and buy some more. you know, i've actually gotten crap from friends for sewing couch covers for my old couch? I've had it for a decade, and bought it at a garage sale. oh, but it's not NEW. i clearly must not have enough money to buy new things, that's why i shop at estate sales and garage sales. humpf.

    green living is so important to me, not just in the decisions i make about purchasing, but in the daily decisions i make on how to eat and live in general. why don't i dry my clothes in a dryer? hello! it works just as well on a clothes line!! and honestly, i've timed it, only takes 2 minutes and 42 seconds longer for me to hang the clothes than to dump them in the dryer, turn the knob, and hit the button.

    i digress. but awesome! those italians (and your post) inspire me. i hope Living Green the Traditional Way catches on here!!