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.

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Orecchini moneta lira italiana e pietre

ENGLISH: Italian coin earrings, handmade jewellery one of a kind Unici e artigianali orecchini con monete autentiche in alluminio e pietre pendenti. Le avevamo in casa dentro una scatola con foto di famiglia. Alcune le abbiamo tenute come cimelio, quindi ne abbiamo riutilizzato le rimanenti. Questi orecchini con chiusura a farfalla, sono leggeri e si adattano… Continue reading Orecchini moneta lira italiana e pietre

Our collection

Heart and butterfly olive wood keyring handmade in Sicily

Find us on Etsy: www.mediterraneanartmt.etsy.com

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.

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