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DecorationThe inspired innovation in zio Tonino’s techniques has been the employment in the corky bas-relief (revolutionary even by itself!), a mosaic composed by little pieces (strips or tesserae) cork bark, collected from the highest and thinnest oak branches, therefore male cork. On that tree, the artist used to find all the colours he needed to create his works, obtaining directly from the cork a great range of colour shades, invisible to most people. Using this pioneer technique deeply changed the artistic cork manufacture.

Detail of a decorationIf we analyse his tool kit, we only find a little sharp blade, a rasp and some sand paper; the placing of each tessera occurred with just the help of a hammer and some glue. Then everything else was left to his excellent manual ability and extraordinary imagination.
His testing wish led him to never-ending changes of style, in steady and extreme search of details, relying upon the slightest variation of colour nuances. The wealth of particulars is a characteristic of all his composition and the obvious difficulty in realising these works was as big as his inborn modesty, which led him to belittle the real importance of his creations.

Piece of furnitureDifferent remarks can be made about furniture: chests, beds, wardrobes, tables, etc. They all have a wooden framework, since cork, although definitely more lasting than wood, is more flexible than the latter, therefore liable to deformation. For this reason, there’s the need of a stiffer structure, over which the cork barks must be stuck.
The wooden base is often very simple (polylayered). Sometimes, as for the precious wardrobes created in the sixties, the first-rate woodwork had been carried out by skilled cabinet-makers, who followed his projects, and were constantly supervised by the artist who took care of every single detail. When the framework was finished, the covering could start, with strips, tesserae and other corky adornments, as above described.


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