Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Although we only had one day in Perugia, Mariaelisa Leboroni helped my family feel like natives and royalty all at once when we went to visit her there. Mariaelisa is the woodblock artist behind the Xilocart line of books and prints we sell at Castle in the Air. She makes her creations out of her magical studio in Perugia, the capital of Italy's Umbria region and a city known for its artists.
Between feeding us so much delicious home-cooked food and introducing us to her family, Mariaelisa showed us her studio, where she's got the product of forty years of printing arranged among shelves, tables, and crates. She surprised and delighted me when, after showing us the blocks she used to print her own set of tarot cards, Mariaelisa handed me one of her few remaining copies of the deck!
She drove us all on a high-speed tour through the streets of the town, ending up outside the Church of San Pietro. The church was already closed, but Mariaelisa talked our way in. We were the only ones inside the nave, and when we looked up at the ceiling and took in the gorgeous inlaid wood ceiling, none of us summed it up like Mariaelisa: "Bellissima. Bellissima."