Florence: One artist's move to Italy

Aug 17th, 2008, 05:27 AM
  #1  
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Florence: One artist's move to Italy

Here I sit on the 11th day of moving to Florence. Some may know my original plan was taking me to Barcelona to continue my 10 year career as a mosaic artist. well things change and so do plans. Quick re-cap: A decade of bad positioning while doing my work and a few pinched nerves later, on the advice of my nuerologist to maybe find another line of work, I scrapped all previous plans and came up with a new one. I may not be in physical shape to continue as a craftsman with my own hands at the pace I previously was, but I am an artist so decided to use my creative brain,work smart, not hard, take my knowledge of mosaic and translate it into jewelry that I will design but have others hands produce.

I had been thinking about that for a while so I switched gears, googled jewelry schools in Europe and Florence had a bunch. In order to better show what I want made to those making it I thought it necessary to learn the craft of metalsmithing myself.

So after putting the contents of my apartment in storage, with 5 70 lb. suitcases ( 320$ in overweight charges) and my cat ( 100$ for in cabin travel) I headed to Florence.

There have been quite a few hiccups this past week and a half, but as those who have read my trip reports know I can roll with the punches. A detailed report will come shortly as well as a link to a blog I am starting for family and friends.

To start the top 10 things I have learned so far:

10) With the exception of heavily touristed areas pretty much everything in August is closed til the 24th or so.

9) How to use clothes pins ( I am the least domestic person I know)

8) Punta Video 24 hr. really means you get charged every 6 hrs

7) A large gelato can set you back 12 bucks

6) When the landlord comes to fix the washing machine he brings the entire family to see the grande gatto americano at which point they all exclaim " e GRASSO!!!!"

5) Vodaphone is your lifeline

4) On that note , Skype is the best thing since canned peaches

3) Do not trust online photos of apartments

2) Fodors is your best 911 call

1) One more time EVERYONE IS ON VACATION IN AUGUST
laartista is offline  
Aug 17th, 2008, 05:43 AM
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What an adventure! It's great that you have been able to translate your talent into a new area. When do we see photos of the grasso gato and of the jewelry?

I have learned about online photos of apartments and what they look like when you get there.

So what's this about the video/DVD? You rent for 6 hours and have to return it or get charged again?
adrienne is offline  
Aug 17th, 2008, 06:16 AM
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ComfyShoes
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laartista, Long time... Sorry to hear about Barcelona but I see you are making the best of it!! Which is great and exciting. Here's wishing you all the best in Florence.
 
Aug 17th, 2008, 06:30 AM
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Ciao!
I,too am an artist and have read your posts over the years! I look forward to seeing you jewellry and other creations that will evolve from your head! I hope to be in Florence in 2009 visiting another artist that does restoration and furniture painting. Would love to see some of your work.
artlvr is offline  
Aug 17th, 2008, 09:02 AM
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Hey laartista!

I am so excited for you and your new adventure! I think it's great you can roll with the punches.

Keep us updated, I'm looking forward to hearing more. I am interested in something, were you fluent in Italian before you decided to move to Florence?

Johanna

P.S. I know what you mean about the $12 gelato. Crazy.
gracie04 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2008, 09:04 AM
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I'm jealous! I could see myself moving to Rome, if it weren't for that one little obstacle of needing to support myself! I look forward to more.
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Aug 17th, 2008, 09:23 AM
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La Artista,
Congrats on your courage move!!
What a glorious adventure!!

Keep us posted!
Cheers,
Bailey



http://baileyzimmerman.blogspot.com
Bailey is offline  
Aug 17th, 2008, 09:53 AM
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Hello Laartista,

I've wondered where you were and happy to hear that it's Florence.
However, sorry to hear that you had to give up your mosaic work. I remember your photos and your work was beautiful, but it sounds like you're making the most of the need to change.

I'm looking forward to seeing your jewelry designs.

I hope all goes well for you; I'll be watching for your reports.

Best,
Luisah
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Aug 17th, 2008, 10:26 AM
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Hey, Thanks guys.

Adrianne-Jewelry are only in sketch form right now so will let you know. Re: video rental , just realized today 1.50 E for 0-6 hr,6-12 hr + .50, 12-24 hr + 60, I think 24 hr. + 2.00. All I know is I'm blowing thru my credit of 12E in a day and a half. Will have to look for a better video place as the TV is broken and of course the repairman is ON VACATION!

Comfy-Artlvr, nice to see ya and thanks!

Gracie, no far from fluent, easy conversation at best BUT start Sept. 1 with 2 hrs a day for 5 weeks at George Pira Language school for 130E A bargain!

Susan, I know what you mean I have to live on a tighter budget now. Worked my arse off first 7 months of this year and figure if I run out of moolah can always make some small mosaics to sell until jewelry launches which should hopefully be February.

Bailey and Lusiah thanks for encouraging words, have to admit it's kind of a weird feeling. Didn't really notice it first week, my friend Robin was here, she'll be here about 10 days-2 weeks a month and back in NY 2 weeks a month where she lives w/ her boyfriend. She is going to handle sales and marketing on that end and I'll hold down the fort on design here. We'll see how it works out.Should be interesting to say the least.
laartista is offline  
Aug 17th, 2008, 10:39 AM
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bookmarking
TDudette is offline  
Aug 17th, 2008, 12:19 PM
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laartista,

After my visit to Rome this spring, I can't imagine anywhere better to live than Italy. I'm looking forward to hearing what it's really like to live there. Thanks for sharing!
shelly_m is offline  
Aug 17th, 2008, 06:39 PM
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wow, what an exciting post to find here. thanks so much for checking in with us, and updating everyone on your adventures. pet that cat for me!
suze is online now  
Aug 17th, 2008, 06:50 PM
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Wow, laartista is back !! Nice to hear you are in Florence..you know how to choose cities, girl !!

And yes, vacation is pretty much the same here..my place looks almost like a ghost city ...LOL

Maybe your cat needs a bit of diet to blend in with italian cats ?

Take care and keep on telling us your adventure !!



kenderina is offline  
Aug 17th, 2008, 08:10 PM
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Ciao laartista, I have wondered why I haven't seen you on Fodor's. Congratulations! Although I too saw the photos of your beautiful mosaics I envy you as I always wanted to design jewelry and to live in Italy!

Yes, having several friends in Florence I know..they are all on vacation, lol.

I am really excited for you laartista!
LoveItaly is offline  
Aug 18th, 2008, 05:47 AM
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Hi laartista, Bookmarked this yesterday as I had to stop and make peach upside-down cake before the peaches went bad.
Congrats on your move to Italy! OMG, I am soooo jealous but glad for you. Please pass along your blog address when you get a chance. Would enjoy seeing your work and am looking forward to reading about your continued life in bella italia. In the meantime, I'll try to find your previous posts.
Ciao! TD
TDudette is offline  
Aug 18th, 2008, 09:15 AM
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Hey thanks familiar faces, nice to see u guys as well.

OK, I'll start this thing after a few skype calls BUT first have to just mention that after my shiatzu massage today ( medical reasons, couldn't find a physical therapist for my pinched nerve) given by one extremely yummy italian guy, I feel completetly qualified to write a chapter for the next Jackie Collins novel. I swear I needed a cigarette after and I don't smoke! A purchased package of 6 later, I highly recommend Soul Space located at Via Egidio 12. Details to follow.
laartista is offline  
Aug 18th, 2008, 09:23 AM
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Laartista-
So nice to see you back! Like everyone else here, I look forward to hearing more about your adventures in moving to Florence. Please tell us all about how you found your apartment, what your neighborhood is like and more about those gorgeous Italian men! ;-)
PS- So happy you were able to take your kitty with you. Oh, and congrats on getting your dual citizenship!
Kristina is offline  
Aug 18th, 2008, 09:26 AM
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hi laartista,

i missed the posts about your move to florence, but want to wish you well in your new venture.

i have a friend who was a teacher who has just spent 3 years getting a degree in jewelry making, and is setting herself up making it - i admire her resolve vey much, and now yours too.

do carry on sharing your trials and triumphs with us.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Aug 18th, 2008, 10:48 AM
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Hi laartista,

Im a long time lurker on Fodors, but this is my first post ... Im kinda nervous!

Im enjoying reading about your first 2 weeks in Firenze because I can relate to your experiences I moved here from Canada 5 years ago. Im also an artist well, a musician actually (as you can probably deduce from my clever and well thought out screen name), but the side of the brain is the same.

Without sounding like a freak (being a first poster and all), if you ever need any tips or advice regarding the little things (like never EVER going grocery shopping on Saturday morning unless youve lost the will to live), Id be happy to (try to) help. I also went to Giorgio La Pira when I first arrived good call!!!

Oh, and the best gelato is in Piazza della Cure Gelateria Cavini and you can almost get a kilo for 12 euro

Good luck in your new adventure!

Laura

P.S. My BFF is camelbak on this site. She has posted a couple of trip reports of her invasions - errrr, I mean visits to Florence.
violoncellista is offline  
Aug 18th, 2008, 11:47 AM
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!hat can I say?!?!? I am GREEN with envy! You go girl!!! You are totally living my dream. Wishing you the absolute best.
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