At Creative Italy we are always happy to receive all sorts of feedback from our customers, regarding their activity holidays in Italy between professional courses, hobbies and new experiences. Today we are delighted to share Henrik’s testimonial. He decided to enrich his holiday in Sicily with some craft experiences and a cooking lesson, a creative and interesting way to learn more about his hobby and about Italy’s heritage!
“Creative Italy” by Henrik
As I was travelling alone, I wanted to make my holiday a bit more interesting, since I am not the kind of person that can lie on the beach for three weeks! So I thought, why not combine it with one of my hobbies which is working with ceramics. Italy also offers so much to see in terms of culture and history. So, a quick google came up with a few results. Some were slow to answer, didn’t fit my schedule or didn’t seem that interesting. But then I came in contact with Creative Italy and Laura. She was very friendly, quick to respond and helpful from the start. I specified roughly where I wanted to be and when. Let me get back to you, she said. And within a week she had found some options that suited me. She were also very helpful in recommending things to see and where to stay which made things easier.
My first course was in Palermo with Francesco. A highly skilled artist, he can do anything from clay sculpture to jewellery design, a very broad spectrum and very impressive. He was super friendly and the task he gave me was to copy a ancient lion sculpture. I was open to do anything and this is not something I had done before. Being a car designer I work with 3D form everyday but never animals! So this was a fun exercise which included making a mould from it and casting with plaster. Working on an easel it is a bit like doing a 3D painting which was new to me. Now I think I can do sculptures from photographs since this method means you can see shadows and highlights in a very good way. So a very useful exercise. He also introduced me to “Bollito” which apparently contains cows lips. At first I was a bit hesitant but it turned out to be very tasty!
Ceramics, CEAR, Caltagirone
This is a family owned company in the middle of nowhere, although near Caltagirone which is a nice city. I am perhaps a bit different in that I am not so interested in places where all the tourists go. It makes you feel more part of the society rather than a tourist. This is a very traditional ceramics company on an industrial scale. So very interesting as a contrast to the sculpture course. I did some throwing because I like to do the whole process from beginning to end but the skills I picked up here was painting. I tried to copy the traditional ways of painting. It is difficult and I can see it takes a lot of practice to get good at it. But I went away with quite a lot of things which they helped me ship to Sweden. Here you almost become part of the family and they invited me to their daughters birthday party which was a nice gesture.
Cookery Class, Milazzo
This was held with Giuliana at a lovely Bed and Breakfast where I also stayed. It has an amazing garden and it’s nice to have breakfast outside in the morning. I can’t really get my head around all the sweet stuff the Italians eat for breakfast, so I asked to get some cheese instead which was nice! Milazzo is great for making excursions to Stromboli where I saw the volcano erupt. It was the first time I saw that and very exciting!
Cooking here is like cooking at home meaning it’s a home environment, Mediterranean style. The best ingredients and the ripest fruit and vegetables. Giuliana speaks perfect English and we did several dishes together Sicilian style and the key point is always simplicity and letting the main ingredients speak for themselves. Very subtle and very tasty. After cooking we had dinner together in the garden with some chilled wine and the loud crickets in the background.
All in all I had a very good experience and in between these courses I discovered Sicily along the way. There is so much to see with friendly people wherever you go.
Henrik Z Nordin