Grandpa Leo and grandma Ida on the top of Campanile di Val Montana.
Year: 1935 circa
Udine, 13 February 1907
Eliseo Zoratti, the last of seven siblings, is born in a humble family.
After the defeat of Caporetto he is a refugee in Florence. You can meet him while he is transporting wine with a barrow or putting wastepaper into sacks. At the “La Pergola” theatre he listens to Beniamino Gigli. Back to Udine, in 1920 he finds a job in the famed Santi and Grassi partners workshop to learn the goldsmith profession. In this period he attends evening drawing classes in the town Arts and Crafts school, he will work in a printing house as a designer first, then as a porter, he will begin working as a goldsmith again. In the Thirties he meets Dino Basaldella. In 1946, once the war is over, he starts on his own equipping a room at home in via Cantore. His skill and talent are looked for more and more. At the beginning of the Fifties he opens his workshop in via Nazario Sauro. None of his customers will leave his shop dissatisfied: royals, wealthy bourgois, but also people with a limited budget, all bound by good taste,all welcome with the same kindness.
Germano, Lino and Dario at work.
Year: 1975 circa
From the end of the Fifties to 1981
This is the most splendid period for the workshop. Grandpa is good. He is the best. The most renown artists and representatives of the local culture visit his workshop: Angillotto Modotto, Dino Basaldella, Vico Supan, Aldo Merlo, Novella Cantarutti, Pietro Giampaoli …who really appreciate and influence his work.
Grandpa will also bring up excellent workers: Silvio and Ferruccio first, then Dario, Lino and Germano. With his assistants so capable and trustworthy, now he will have the time to travel widely with granny to see and experience the world. This too will leave a visible and beneficial mark. In 1981 Dario and Lino set up business and leave their place to me. Grandpa now well over 70 will have the stength and the pride to train the last of his workers for another 17 years: me, his grandchild.
The workshop from 1998 to now
In 1998, grandpa dies off serenely, almost 92. An era is finished. 50 years of intense activity and the wearing effect of time leave a deep mark: the workshop needs restyling. Now the workshop has a nice floor, elegant furniture, an exclusive shop window. I thought it meaningful to quote a beautiful sentence by Picasso for everyone to know that the war, in its inhumanity, destroys people and their works. This is what appears to the eye. Then there is the soul of the workshop filled with dozens of years of work free from mediocrity and banality, with his own old tools still in use – some are more than 100 years old. It is good to know that without this soul so much elegance is useless. But 1998 also marks the beginning of a new period for my work: the “discovery” of contemporary goldsmith’s art which offers infinite possibilities of ethical and aesthetical research, new horizons my creativity can evolve into.
File and saw at work.
Jewels on commission
Once customers have come in, different possibilities arise: have a look, try my work and chat without buying anything, buy one of the jewels exhibited in the shop window because “I like it a lot”, order a work. In the latter case, the final choice will be the result of a careful evaluation of each other and each other’s needs: my personal interpretation of the golden work on one side and the customer’s need on the other. You can order a jewel similar to those in exhibition, only smaller, bigger, more or less expensive, more elaborate, more sober or simpler …, challenging my talent as a designer ordering something absolutely new, maybe supplying the material you wish to have in the work. In any case you are always welcome and at the same time we are at you complete disposal to satisfy any of your requests.
Embossing and pickling.