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Gabriele Gelatti:

Like an insect

24 January 2024 | 25 minutes
artisan laying stones in to a mosaic

Gabriele Gelatti

Gabriele talks to us about his upbringing in Genoa, his self-taught artistic training, his love for the history of art, and for photography.

He explains the process of creating pebble mosaics, including the selection of stones and the use of lime mortar. He also discusses the importance of preserving the skills and techniques of mosaic making and the impact of climate change on the availability of materials.

artisan pointing to his mosaic pebbles work of a flag

Campo Pisano, Genoa

pebble mosaic of a shield

Campo Pisano, detail

historical stone plaque in Italian describing Campo Pisano

Campo Pisano, plaque

We met Gabriele in a city park called Campo Pisano – where Genoa once beat Pisa at the battle of Meloria, and confined more than 9,000 prisoners. Here he is restoring a memorial mosaic which was first made by Gabriele’s teacher Armando Porta. Further info and images on Wikipedia.

For many centuries Genoa wielded enormous power as a maritime republic and was considered one of the wealthiest cities in the world. On our way to Gabriele’s studio he showed us the narrow streets and wonderful architecture, with layers of history.

wide view of the port of Genoa with ships and cranes

Port of Genoa

a narrow street in Genoa with a single person walking a dog

The narrow streets of Genoa

An ancient column surrounded by a more modern building

An ancient column

Liguria, is a region of northern Italy; a narrow strip bordered by sea on one side and densely wooded mountains on the other. The air here smells of salt from the sea, minerals from the rocks, and pine from the hills. Its traditional crafts are mostly inspired by materials from the sea and forests.

an artist's workbench with pigments, drawings and tools

Gabriele Gelatti's studio, with mandala art

a jar of bright blue powder

Lapiz lazuli blue pigment

a selection of pebbles in a wooden bowl

Assorted pebbles

Gabriele emphasises the need to pass on the craft to future generations. Gabriele's work is driven by his deep connection to nature and a desire to create beautiful and sustainable art.

You can discover more about Gabriele:


Producer: Sarah Monk

Producer/editor: Mike Axinn

Music: courtesy of Audio Network

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