October 2020, after nearly 20 hours of flight and transit, three nucleic acid tests and 14-day isolation, Italian sculptor Chiro Esposito and Italian businessman Marco Russo arrived in Shanghai to participate in the third China International Import Expo. Marco’s family is one of the ancient families in the shell carving industry in Naples, Italy, mainly engaged in handmade ornaments carved on conch shells; Chiro is their chief engraver and the fourth generation of sculptors inherited by the family.
“Colorful, strange pattern, moderate hardness,” Chiro used these three words to describe his impression when he first met Aodashi. Creating on such strange stones is fun and gives me new inspiration.” He said.
Qingtian stone is produced in Qingtian County, Zhejiang Province. It is mainly based on cyan, with a warm texture and profound historical heritage. It is one of the earliest and most widely used printing materials in China’s engraving art.
“Qingtian Stone has more plasticity than Italian relief materials.” Qiluo said, “I feel honored to appreciate the inheritance of China’s millennium culture and craftsmanship spirit, and it is also a heritage of world technology.”
The global pandemic has hit the tourism industry hard, and the sales of carved art have also been greatly affected.” The number of guests arriving at the store has decreased significantly, and sales have also declined.” Marco said frankly that this time he came to China overcoming all difficulties to find a new opportunity. Last year, when they participated in the Expo for the first time, more than 600 pieces of jewelry they brought were ordered out, which showed them the great potential of the Chinese market.
In Qingtian County, Lishui City, Zhejiang Province, the sales of stone handicrafts have also dropped significantly this year, and merchants are also eager to find new machines.
“It’s a crisis and a turning point. The epidemic has prompted traditional craftsmen to gather together to warm up, embrace the Internet faster, and accelerate the innovation in product design.” Jia Xiaoyue, the head of Qingtian Qiao Bella Import and Export Trading Co., Ltd., said.
“In Italy, shell carving jewelry is also facing the dilemma of insufficient fashion and no inheritance of traditional craftsmanship. This time I met Chinese Stone, hoping to collide with sparks in cultural and artistic exchanges, and jointly explore and develop new works and embrace new markets. said Chiro.
In China, Qiluo entered the live studio for the first time to broadcast the engraving process and promote products. Together with Marco, he was also hired as the first batch of “Qingtianshi Cultural Promotion Ambassadors”.
After visiting Qingtian Vocational High School and exchanging talent training experience, Chiro said that after returning to China, he would try to promote the exchange between Chinese engraving schools and Italian engraving schools, so that they would become sister schools.
“We promote relief art in China with the support of many institutions. When we return to China, we will also do our best to promote Qingtian stone carving overseas. Qiluo said, “I hope that the craftsmen of the two countries will work together to make traditional skills shine and open the door of opportunity together.”
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