How to make · Our collection

Miniature nativity set in shell and olive wood handmade in Sicily

At MediterraneanArt we made available for shipping few nativity sets made of walnut shells and sliced olive wood picked locally (Messina) from our and friends fields.

My uncle Salvatore collects and picks during sunny afternoons branches cut for pruning and selects which walnuts are the best for his project. That is why every listed item is unique, I enjoy making many pictures of it. It depends on the walnut shell shape and sliced wood. About the whole process, the first step is the cleaning and smoothing the inner part of a shell, then brushing and varnishing to harden it. The second step is choosing what the best slice matching with the shape of the walnut, later cut accordingly to be stuck together. Once dry, my uncle glues the Holy Family in a circular shape, keeping Baby Jesus at the centre. All statues are stainless silver metal. I usually ship it safely and nicely using a thick paper box made by myself to fit the specific nativity. Please find purchasing details on the item page.

Give it not for Christmas only, is a unique gift for an extra-special family or person. When an item is handmade, it has meaning and value. Gift it saying you know the name of the craftsman who made it. Salvatore works hard making beauties with organic and recycled material, dedicating on his projects his experience and love. Visiting Sicily, everyone may notice in each house a nativity scene, bigger or smaller. It is our tradition.

When an item is handmade, it has meaning and value

Italy is worldwide known for Christianism. Nativity art has been crafted in Naples and later in Palermo. The first crib has been carved by Andrea Mancino back to 1494 in a town called Termini Imerese, inside the church Maria Santissima dell’Annunziata. Following are some reference links:

https://presepiando.wordpress.com/il-presepe-siciliano/

https://beniambientalieculturaliimeresi.wordpress.com/lo-scrigno-dei-tesori-artistici/il-presepe-marmoreo-di-andrea-mancino/

https://www.tempostretto.it/news/tradizioni-natalizie-origini-primo-presepe-siciliano-1494-termini-imerese.html

About the team and Etsy shop

My uncle and I come from a Sicilian village far from touristic routes, lived by local resident only. Back in 2013, we both did not have a stable job. I decided to open an online shop on Etsy. I can consider myself lucky to learn a lot from him. All started when he gave me some fabric yarns purchased in a craft fair. Since October 2012, I have not stopped knitting and sewing fabric jewellery. It really works on self-esteem and makes me proud of my abilities. I am passionate about craftsmanship. Now I live in Malta working as a librarian while I keep helping my uncle managing our shop. I strongly believe in a sustainable environment and in human being, supporting handmade and small business.
My uncle’s crafts are principally made of local or traceable wood and driftwood, getting inspired by the Mediterranean and the Aeolian Islands, so close to our coastline.

Read our latest Facebook and Instagram posts, shop at mediterraneanartcrafts.com

Miniature nativity set in shell and olive wood handmade in Sicily

At MediterraneanArt we made available for shipping few nativity sets made of walnut shells and sliced olive wood picked locally (Messina) from our and friends fields. My uncle Salvatore collects and picks during sunny afternoons branches cut for pruning and selects which walnuts are the best for his project. That is why every listed item… Continue reading Miniature nativity set in shell and olive wood handmade in Sicily

Presepi in miniatura fatti a mano in guscio di noce e ulivo

Nel nostro negozio MediterraneanArt sono disponibili unici mini presepi realizzati a mano con il guscio di noce e un disco di legno d’ulivo della nostra area geografica (Messina). E’ mio zio a raccogliere e scegliere le noci per questi pochissimi presepi che crea ogni anno, uno diverso dall’altro per unicità e forma dovuti principalmente alla… Continue reading Presepi in miniatura fatti a mano in guscio di noce e ulivo

Our collection

Buying and selling on Etsy

I opened our Etsy shop already seven years ago, it was the beginning of March 2013. It was not a decision taken in a few days but an idea born during the Christmas market after talking to my uncle’s daughter, who is a jewellery designer. She was the first introducing me into the Etsy world. Starting from reading the “Seller handbook” and make research how to write a good description and title, I tried several times how to make clear and nice pictures using my uncle’s camera and very important, studying British English and American English after 12 years, when I studied it at school.

ABOUT US

My uncle makes cute and colourful home and outdoor decorations and ethnic jewellery. He is the maker of our family. Where we come from (North East of Sicily coast) has never been proper tourism, are mostly relatives coming from Northern Italy or heirs from abroad during summer peak months and the only chance to sell is standing on the promenade where folks walk at night having an ice cream or a drink. I have also thought that it is a hard task working long hours while uploading and downloading boxes, standing at a stall for a very short period of the year. And this summer would be even complicated because of the breakdown. I still cannot figure out this. Back in 2013, I was unemployed so I had all time possible to learn new skills I trusted I would be found useful for future jobs. Looking at what is happening all around us I am happy to still keep open and manage our Etsy shop. it is my daily aim of improving it and get sales to compensate my uncle missed earnings.

SELLING HANDMADE CRAFTS

Our first sale arrived four months later. They were two doorstops to be shipped to the US. After the enthusiasm I had a sort of panic attack, asking myself what kind of packaging would be best and how to ship, not forgetting the receipt. Opting for a simple gift wrap and bubble envelope, I went then to the post office. For a long time I hoped for a reply from the buyer but it never arrived. In all these seven years I must admit the most exciting moment of this business is not the famous “cha-ching” (sound of purchase) but reading the message or the review of a buyer who is happy and says: <<keep up the good work>>. Reviews boost me and confirm I am on the right way.

It is hard trying to sell online if you are never done this before. First of all, everyone should know laws, digital and marketing skills. If you do it without any help and little money is much harder. Having and manage time is another requirement too, even for those who have digital skills. My obsessions are the views of listings, especially when in a full month I have zero views. I struggle to find the right keywords for both Italian and English, but English is more time consuming and attempts. Photography is as well a critic moment since I do not live in a large apartment and have a lot of natural light. There are just specific timings of the day when I can shoot, making my best to get clear and nice pictures. It has been in the last two years I took this business seriously, studying and reading digital and content marketing in my spare time, following group chats on social media and experimenting myself.   

In the meantime, I built up a collection of fabric yarn necklaces which I started making and selling first in Sicilian open-air markets and later in Malta. In this small country I also finally got a job as Assistant Librarian after several years after reading a master degree in Conservation of Cultural Heritage. Moving to Malta has enabled me to think in English rather than use a translator any time. I believe that otherwise, I would not be able to support buyers from the US first, then Australia, Canada, Japan, Hawai, Thailand, Singapore, Israel among the countries I shipped handmade items with a vivid joy of my uncle.

Starting this business has changed my interests.

Ten years ago I was not used to read fashion magazines, I was not keen on psychology and communications techniques. Since I manage this virtual space including this blog, I realize that interests expanded. Today I mostly read essays than fiction but this might be influenced by my main job as academic librarian. I must confess digital marketing is fascinating and transferable in each field.

CHOOSING WITH AWARENESS

Why Etsy and not a different marketplace, maybe are you asking dear reader.

Because I liked the way of thinking and approach passing through the website. It was the first marketplace to admit of causing pollution because of emissions due to deliveries and trying to support sustainability planting new trees. It is a specific platform where you find marvelous gift ideas and lovely vintage items. There is so much great design and art that you are never tired of browsing.

Links below might be useful for those of you who want to learn more:

https://help.etsy.com/hc/articles/115013196707

https://help.etsy.com/hc/articles/115015521108

https://help.etsy.com/hc/articles/115015410208

Our collection

Heart and butterfly olive wood keyring handmade in Sicily

Olive trees grow across all the Mediterranean countries and their particular shape make them recognizable even from those who have not much knowledge about tree species. They have twisted branches and large trunks and some are old, it is amazing overlooking a field of olive trees.

I would like to say something about symbolism and history of this kind of tree, called in the proper way “Olea europaea”. It was known and used from the Greek and Roman period. Olive oil was a luxury good well traded while during Olympics athletes and later in the Roman empire valorous men were given on their head an olive round branch as a symbol of glory. The sacrality of the olive branch is also documented in the Bible and it is important for both Hebrews and Christians as an expression of peace and fraternity.

But this marvellous and beautiful tree has many other healthy features: its bark can be used in wood-burning oven releasing delicious smell on baked food, its leaves can be boiled for herbal teas which have an anti-inflammatory effect. Olive oil is full of vitamin E and can be used for improving hair and skin. 

And that is not all. Olive wood has been used since Middle ages in arts and decorative furniture from artisans making pulpits and statues in churches, columns and decorations in private villas, toys, plates, cutlery, trays and more other stuff. It has been used in various ways because of the beautiful pattern of its inner lines it has and a good consistency when carving it and what a smell it makes! 

It is largely used in Italy in almost all center and south regions, Sicily included. 

Whoever holds an olive wooden craft has love and respect for nature

If this one chooses to buy an artisan piece has the awareness  

and respect the work and talent of that man or woman who made it.

My uncle, who has always been a great lover of this wood, creates simple animal-shaped keychains using pieces of the olive tree from the annual tree pruning. With the same template that he uses to make magnets of fir wood, he cut out the shape of the keyring with the reciprocating saw, which he then models with sandpaper. With the drill, he affixes a small hole on each keyring to be able to insert later a cotton thread that weaves and knots or a semi-rigid steel cable and a stainless steel ring. To have an even smoother final effect and a vivid colour, it buffers them with oil which reduces water absorption. They are almost all unique pieces all handmade by himself only and really practical, solid and long-lasting. Mine is a dolphin that I use every day to open the front door from the last three years already. Its shape makes it easily recognizable when I look for it in my bag, especially when I don’t look into it.

Would you like to browse more? Visit our shop mediterraneanart.etsy.com

Our collection · Post in Italiano

Portachiavi artigianali in legno d’ulivo

Gli alberi d’ulivo crescono dappertutto a nord e sud del Mediterraneo e sono facilmente riconoscibili anche per chi non conosce particolarmente le piante. La sua forma nodosa e il grosso tronco ne fanno un’opera d’arte naturale. Ma prima di parlare dell’utilizzo del suo legno e dei suoi frutti vorrei fare presente anche l’aspetto storico e simbolico di questo arbusto, presente da millenni nella cultura e religione. Se era già considerato sacro per Greci ed Ebrei, assume maggiore rilievo l’uso del rametto d’ulivo con la religione e tradizione cristiana, è generalmente oggi considerata come pianta simbolo di pace e fratellanza.

L’Olea Europea ha tantissime proprietà terapeutiche.

L’olio è sia alimento che medicina mentre con le foglie si possono fare decotti e infusi che

sono degli antifiammatori naturali.

In Italia la diffusione dell’ulivo è in tutte le regioni e proprio per questo in quelle regioni che ne sono ricche, nell’arco dei secoli si è diffusa una grande tradizione dell’artigianato del legno. Sin da tempi antichi e medievali, si realizzano oggetti unici dalle irregolari venature scure che hanno l’odore intenso e profumato del suo legno. Ebanisti, tornitori e altri artisti del legno hanno realizzato numerose opere scultoree nelle chiese, raffigurando santi e beati, pulpiti e altre decorazioni e nelle abitazioni private come giocattoli, cornici e altri oggetti ornamentali

Chi tiene un monile di ulivo ha amore e rispetto verso la natura

e se sceglie di acquistarlo artigianale ha anche coscienza e rispetto del lavoro,

dell’ingegno di quell’uomo o quella donna .  

Mio zio, da sempre grande appassionato di questo legno crea dei semplici portachiavi a forma di animale usando dei pezzetti di ulivo provenienti dalla potatura annuale dell’albero. Con la stessa dima che usa per fare le calamite in abete, ritaglia con il seghetto alternativo la forma del portachiavi, che dopo modella con la carta vetrata. Appone con il trapano un piccolo foro su ogni portachiavi per poter inserire in seguito un filo di cotone che intreccia e annoda o un cavetto semirigido di acciaio ed un anello in acciaio inossidabile. Perche’ abbiano un effetto finale ancora piu’ liscio al tatto e un colore vivido, li tampona con dell’olio per il legno che li rende poco assorbenti all’acqua. Sono quasi tutti pezzi unici, fatti solo da lui e sono davvero pratici, solidi e duraturi. Il mio e’ un delfino che uso ogni giorno per aprire il portone di casa. La sua forma lo rende facilmente riconoscibile quando lo cerco nella borsa. Anche non guardoci dentro.

Per vederli tutti visita il sito : mediterraneanart.etsy.com

Our collection

How a gecko, a butterfly and a turtle can make positive vibes at home

Hand-painted wooden decoration for desk, shelf, wall. Made of wood, cut and smoothed, it has been painted by hand with acrylic colors and then with protective varnish.
The gecko is a very common reptile in temperate climate areas and has several peculiarities that distinguish it: the ability to adapt and change colors, its legs manage to adhere to various types of surfaces and still the equipment of the voice instead of a hiss which allows to communicate with each other. It is harmless but above all useful, in fact it feeds on insects, for its intervention it is appreciated in homes. For many cultures it represents adaptability, regeneration, strength and survival skills. It is also a symbol of eternal friendship.

Sperm whale made of wood cut and smoothed, hand painted with acrylic colors and then with protective varnish. Unique piece very special thanks to the copper tail, obtained from scraps of other processes. Eyes are made from a nail and a leather disk.
On the back a string of twine will allow you to hang it in the direction you like most.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/618478486

Sea turtle inspired by the Mediterranean species “Caretta Caretta”.
Made of wood cut and smoothed then painted by hand with acrylic colors and protective varnish. As unique piece this colorful decoration can be also hung on the veranda, as long as not directly to the sun’s rays that can alter its color. An enclosed envelope contains the kit to fix it on the wall in the position you like best.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/209203590

Carved and painted unique butterflies for a nursery and baby room. They are different in shape and colors, hand painted on both sides. Choose the way you like to hang them, they do not have any hole. Use a strong double-sided tape and personalize your wall!

Our collection

Handmade linen peg bag : a special housewarming gift

When the time to arrange our wardrobes comes, we never know where and how arrange small accessories such as belts, scarves or socks. At home we started using a linen peg bag as solution for tidying up and it was also an original gift idea for Christmas.

It looks like a girl’s dress instead it is a bag. It can hold towels, linen, socks, clothes pins, wool or crochet kits. Equipped with a hanger sewed inside, it can be easily hung and moved in the wardrobe, behind the door or on the wall. In addition to the central hole where you can store whatever you want, two external pockets are as well sewn. It is very resistant because fabric is double. It is a unique piece because it is made with fabric remnants. Look at other available colors here:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/545041309

Does not matter if it is a bit messed up, I still feel happy when I am in a place I can call home. When I make order in room spaces and arrange objects, I also put my ideas in order and reflect on what to do next.

Our collection · Post in Italiano

Il geco, il pesce e le farfalle per personalizzare e colorare casa

Decorazione in legno dipinta a mano per scrivania, mensola, parete. In legno tagliato, levigato, e dipinto a mano con colori acrilici e poi con vernice protettiva.
Il geco è un rettile molto comune nelle zone a clima temperato ed ha diverse particolarità che lo contraddistinguono: la capacità di adattamento e cambiamento dei colori, la zampe che riescono ad aderire su vari tipi di superfici e ancora la dotazione della voce anziché di un sibilo che permette di comunicare fra loro. E’ innocuo ma soprattutto utile, infatti si ciba di insetti, per il suo intervento è apprezzato nelle abitazioni. Per molte culture rappresenta l’adattabilità, la rigenerazione, la forza e la capacità di sopravvivenza. E’ anche simbolo di eterna amicizia.

Capodoglio in legno tagliato, levigato, dipinto a mano con colori acrilici e poi con vernice protettiva. Pezzo unico particolarissimo grazie alla coda in rame, ricavata da scarti di altre lavorazioni. L’occhio è ricavato da un chiodo e da un dischetto di cuoio.
Sul retro un filo di spago ti permetterà di appenderlo nel verso che più ti piace.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/618478486

Simpatici quadretti colorati fatto a mano. I colori usati sono acrilici ad acqua mentre la tavola di supporto é in abete. Decorazione versatile e allegra per riscaldare un ingresso o la camera del bambino e persino la cucina. https://www.etsy.com/listing/525194241

Tartaruga marina ispirata alla specie mediterranea “Caretta Caretta”.
In legno tagliato, levigato, e dipinto a mano con colori acrilici e poi con vernice protettiva. Pezzo unico realizzato questa colorata decorazione si puo’ appendere anche in veranda, purche’ non direttamente ai raggi solari che possono alterarne il colore. Una bustina allegata contiene il kit per fissarla sulla parete nella posizione che più piace. https://www.etsy.com/listing/209203590

https://www.etsy.com/listing/450966756

Our collection · Post in Italiano

Tasca portaoggetti fatto a mano : cucito creativo per casa

Quando arriva il momento ad ogni cambio di stagione di sistemare piccoli accessori nei nostri armadi come ad esempio le cinture, le sciarpette o le calze non sappiamo mai dove e come sistemarle! Il “vestitino” é stata una soluzione per ordinare in casa ed una originale idea regalo per chi come mia mamma, ama cucire.

Sembra un abito da bambina invece é un un porta sacchetti, asciugamani, biancheria, calzini, calze, mollette per il bucato, kit lana o uncinetto. Dotato di una gruccia al suo interno, si può facilmente appendere e spostare nell’armadio, dietro la porta, al muro. Oltre al foro centrale dove riporre ciò che si vuole, sono cucite due tasche esterne. E’ molto resistente perchè il tessuto cucito é doppio. E’ un pezzo unico perche’ realizzato con scampoli di stoffa. Guarda qui gli altri colori disponibili : https://www.etsy.com/it/listing/545041309

Nell’ordine o nel disordine mi sento comunque allegra, ma se sono in un luogo che posso chiamare casa. Quando organizzo gli spazi e dispongo gli oggetti, metto in ordine anche le mie idee e rifletto sul da farsi.

How to make · Our collection

Fabric t-shirt necklace collection

Knotting fabric yarns has become my favorite hobby to do when watching a film or a series. Sometimes I do also when listening to the radio. Starting in 2012 I have been making hundreds and hundreds of necklaces, short and long, knotted and braided, or just multi strands. Remnants can be cotton, stretchy linen, acrylic, microfiber so I enjoy the nuances and touching.

I was so excited when I sold the first one. It was during a Christmas market and it was a Christmas present for a friend. After moving to Malta few years ago, I sold some but because here summer is terribly hot and my stall was by the sea, I did not want to risk and damage them all because of humidity and salinity. So I have been putting all my energies on our Etsy shop since late 2017, even if we opened it back to 2013.

What I have found out through the years which one is more appreciated is the following type, easy and gorgeous to wear. You can twist it or either not. Try now how fun is making it!

4 t-shirt yarns of 100 inches each ( to get approx. 26 inches long necklace)

a nice button as closure

a needle 

some sewing yarn (same color of t-shirt yarn)

scissors

Tie a yarn keeping attention not to make tight knots but let them loose. While you are tying hold the yarn with the other hand, do not let it turning on itself. Leave about 1 inch of slack on each extremity, keeping attention on one yarn only to leave it a bit more, because you will use it to make a buttonhole.

When all yarn will be tied, put all of them next each other and check all of them. Make sure that all must have the same slack length except the one useful to make the buttonhole.

Now you can start sew them together, first from one side, then from the other.

Sew the buttonhole after checking the size of the button you chose. It should be not too big or too small to fit it and ensuring the necklace to remain close.

Sew the button on the other side.

Congrats! You did it!

Don’t be shy and text me if you have queries!

Look for (amateur 😅) videos on my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/mediterraneanartcrafts

Have a look at our Etsy shop : http://www.mediterraneanart.etsy.com

Our collection · Post in Italiano

La collezione di stoffa

In questi anni penso di aver realizzato centinaia e centinaia di collane come queste in foto, per lo più le abbiamo vendute nei mercati e solo da qualche anno su Etsy. Quello che ho scoperto nel corso degli anni essere più apprezzato è il tipo a nodini multifilo, facile (ma non velocissimo) da fare e splendido da indossare. Puoi torcerlo oppure no. Prova ora a farla anche tu, sara’ divertente!

Cosa ti serve per fare un girocollo da 60 cm: 

da 4 a 8 fettucce da 210/250 cm (dipende l’elasticita’ del tessuto), un bottone da abbinare, ago, filo per cucire del colore più simile alla fettuccia, forbici.

Come si fa:

lascia un paio di centimetri e comincia ad annodare il filo stringendo i nodi con calma e facendo attenzione a non lasciare spazio fra l’uno e l’altro. Cerca di mantenere il filo dritto, per avere dei nodi omogenei e non torcere troppo il filo stesso.

Quando tutti i fili saranno annodati, mettili in piano uno accanto all’altro e assicurati che tutti abbiano lo stesso margine ad eccezione di un lato solo, piu’ esterno, che sara’ piu’ lungo perche’ diventera’ l’asola.

Bene, arrivati a questo punto puoi cominciare a cucire la prima estremita’. Dopo dall’altra parte e poi creando l’asola. Aggiungiamo il bottone. Ce l’hai fatta! 

C’é la variante con moschettone, oppure con fettuccia arrotolata e cucita attorno, come in questo caso:

Sciarpa collana cucita a mano nei colori latte, celeste e nero. Ha quattro fili di fettuccia di cotone poco elasticizzata annodati pazientemente.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/452932234

Ho provato, ma con scarsi risultati a fare qualche video dimostrativo che puoi comunque trovare sulla mia pagina mediterraneanartcrafts.facebook.com