Eustachio Santochirico

I am an artisan born and raised in Matera, working with a number of arts and crafts and focusing on ceramics and papier-maché. In the last few years I’ve been cooperating with Oltre L’Arte, a cooperative that involves people with fewer abilities in the crafts making process. Social inclusion is indeed one of the aspects of the integral sustainability that I strongly believe in and strive for. In addition, my work is closely linked to local craft tradition, especially as for papier-maché: you can read my material cards to know more.


What craft do you work with?

I’ve been dreaming of this job since I was a child and I’ve been making small papier-maché sculptures since I was a young. I still feel very passionate about it because my job was born pursuing a dream: leveraging crafts to help disadvantaged people and helping them make their dreams come true.

What inspires you to work with this craft?

I strive to apply the integral sustainability approach to what I do, for example by using paper crafts exceeding from previous works, and by working with disadvantaged people hired by our cooperative. My team also motivates me a lot, and they are what makes my job matter the most.

How do you start your creative process?

The phase I love the most is the conceptual design of the craft pieces, as it allows me to add symbolic meaning to the work thanks to a previous study that also allows me to study proportions.
Probably the most difficult part is when the papier-maché work is finished and we have to colour it by defining its chromatics: this phase concludes the whole creative process and is the longest and most delicate.

Your Workspace?

My workspace is at the same time a bit messy and tidy, because tools and materials are scattered around but it’s like there is still a certain harmony in how they are distributed in the room. Every tool is fundamental and part of the whole process, but maybe the brushes are those I could not do without. We range them onto low-tech, self-made racks to leave them to dry and keep them handy.

The working atmosphere is always relaxed and happy thanks to my team.

Are there new techniques you would like to try?

I would love to keep working with social and territorial animation by spreading the workshops to inner areas and cities, valorising the lesser known arts, crafts and local knowledge, and spotlighting the unknown places and people.
I would love a transdisciplinary experimentation with disciplines like photography, videomaking and so on, as long as I collaborate with artists and people sharing a common visions of social inclusion and human values.
This already sometimes happens, but I would like to push it forward and also to grow under the technical aspect, because I feel that I always can learn and improve.

Sharing your craft and experience?

I am making my professional dream come true already. I would love to keep doing what I do, by bringing these inclusive crafts to the inner areas as much as possible.


Matera, Italy

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