It must have been July or August, it was hot and sunny, as it would be in Sicily at this time of the year. I was about 10 years old, wearing a white t-shirt with pink stripes and a jeans skirt that my gran had made especially for me. I was happy. I went to zia Mariella’s house and saw my uncle (Zio Pippo) doing some woodwork; he wanted to make one of those chairs that sit really low at an angle, similar to those you take to the beach. I offered to help, I passed him some nails, the hammer, then started commenting on the angle of the chair and how it would stand better in another way, eventually helped him to sand and paint the wood. It was the start of a long and fruitful collaboration that lasted the entire summer. We made two tables, some more chairs and restored an old wooden box that had three layers of old paint on – that was a sanding challenge!
Fast forward 28 years and I am in Taormina, in a beautiful venue, looking at the exhibition of my uncle’s work, with him talking me through his favourite pieces.
After his wood making adventures, he had started playing with the odd bit of wood found on a beach, or a piece of lava stone (abundant in Sicily), ending up filling my auntie’s house with all sorts of incredible sculptures.
This is why they say you should follow your heart.
Works by Pippo Pattavina