The Mosaic Runner: 1,276 kilometers between the heart and mind
By Stefan Wolters, Ulbeek-Wellen, Belgium
Photography: Rosemarie Castro
I stand naked before the bathroom mirror. Vanity has always been a companion. I put on my socks, clothing men tend to forget to remove once in the bedroom, when all the other vestments are on the floor. Passion. I notice how easily a man’s mind is distracted (the 7 second rule hits me, too) and I put on the stretch trousers, my second skin. The chest belt to measure my heart beat is made wet on the body contact side and its cold causes my pale skin to shiver. The black t-shirt goes elegantly over my head and wraps my shoulders into a sportive-looking dude. My polar watch will be my companion in thoughts and running route the next 76 minutes.
The door of the oval room closes behind me and leads me into the fresh morning. The green grass, still wet, leads me to the iron horse. The roaring sound of the 3 liter engine sings to this man’s motor-driven heart while his thoughts travel to Clauiano. What if I just drive to Clauiano right now, instead of driving to the castle forest where I do my regular run of 15 kilometers? Hmnn… temptation… silence… a strong temptation. My hand selects the turning wheel of the GPS to measure the distance between where I am now and where this great event will take place this evening. All my travels have always been people oriented and linked to mosaics. Shared mosaic passion triples. One thousand-two hundred-and-seventy-six kilometers between my sport challenge and the mosaic destination… No evening suit on board… no camera… no food nor drinks to make this long drive of about 11 hours.
Whenever I do my jogging, the creative section of my brain is always teased to solve problems… to invent new things… to create sketches of new creations… exhibition items… ventures… collaborations… connections between objects and people… events that have recently taken place and that offer me new opportunities. The list is long. My life too short.
This is exactly how this connected story telling took shape. I needed someone present in Clauiano. I had several contacts in place. A new contact, Danit Shmueli, even made a connection just before the event. Life is a puzzle and often we get presented a lot of pieces, though we rarely capture the overview or manage to put the handed pieces in place.
A window on the chat with Danit Shmueli :
- 18/09/2013 20:54 Danit Shmueli
Stefan, I will tell you something about myself and my thoughts and feelings that particular evening.
I have been making mosaics for the last six years. Mosaics bring a lot of joy and satisfaction into my life. When I started, I had no thoughts about participating in an exhibition, but the passion for mosaics hit me and I fell in love with it. This passion became more and more important to me.
- 18/09/2013 20:59 Stefan Wolters
You got passionate about it – great !
- 18/09/2013 20:59 Danit Shmueli
I attended 4 different mosaic workshops in Israel, each of them on a different subject. One day I was talking with Sibel Hananel, who is a good friend of mine, and I said to her that I had the desire to go to Ravenna.
- 18/09/2013 21:02 Stefan Wolters
Good idea – Ravenna – we have a common friend.
- 18/09/2013 21:02 Danit Shmueli
Sibel just got back from a visit in Italy, and got acquainted to Mr. Menossi. She recommended his workshop, as it was a very personal oriented mosaic tuition. I attended the workshop in June 2012. I spent 2 wonderful weeks doing a portraiture workshop in Udine, enjoying every moment. Though the beginning was a big struggle for me as I never used the hammer and hardy, nor smalti. I do like challenges, so I was persuaded to go on and at the end of the course, I managed to finish the head of the portrait. Once I came home and finished my work, yet in total contrast to the head, I used stained glass, in a very simple way, just placing the square tiles around the smalti head, giving the head a proper background. You’ve seen the result, giving it a contemporary look.
- 18/09/2013 21:09 Stefan Wolters
Being satisfied is a virtue and so is taking up challenges, too!
- 18/09/2013 21:09 Danit Shmueli
I decided to send in my application to Clauiano, and I was accepted!!! Since Clauiano is my first participation in an exhibition, I decided to accompany my art work. Of course, I was very keen to go back to meet my wonderful friends in Udine. On top of that it would be an excellent opportunity to meet all these artists. To represent my country in Udine as you can see me standing near our national flag proudly.
I experienced an amazing hosting by the family of Giulio. They accepted me with a lot of appreciation for the effort of me travelling to Italy, again, to join them and others at the occasion of this mosaic exposure event.
- 18/09/2013 21:12 Stefan Wolters :
Wonderful people indeed, all of them.
I met Giulio and his family twice and can second what you are mentioning.
- 18/09/2013 21:19 Danit Shmueli
At the beginning of the opening was a large crowd of local people, artists that arrived from all over the world, we were 15 artists, from Holland, Swiss, Serbia, Italy, Germany, Israel, France. Many different languages, many colours.
No need to say that everyone was excited to be there. People gave their best speeches, the mayor spoke, the manager of the gallery spoke, sponsors had the opportunity to speak about their motivation to participate.
The people returned over and over to look again at the artworks. The local Italian air was filled with a lot of pride of the artists that managed to participate, that managed to arrive in time, as it demanded a great effort to come to Udine, to stop their daily activities and to make this journey. Clauiano isn’t easy to reach from abroad, but all of us were happy to make the effort.
The organizing people of Clauiano, Maida and Matteo, and all others are lovely people. They gave us so much honour by organizing this special reception. They spared no efforts to make this wonderful evening successful.
- 18/09/2013 21:21 Danit Shmueli
All together it was a great, exceptional experience putting this small city on the map with great people and at the honour of this great mosaic exposure event.
- 18/09/2013 21:27 Stefan Wolters
I can totally imagine the image you’re creating, by what you’re telling me.
- 18/09/2013 21:28 Danit Shmueli
So I believe that now I will start to work on the next work for another exhibition, I have some ideas.
- 18/09/2013 21:29 Stefan Wolters
It is an absolutely great experience! Great things often demand effort – thanks for sharing your feelings and thoughts about this most special event. I do hope it made your mosaic experience and journey even more profound.
It’s most important to have new plans! New challenges! New meeting opportunities!
I am most happy you had the chance to exhibit in such a refined, yet not easy to reach, setting. Every travel experience is a splendid memory to give you energy to make new steps on many levels and I want to thank you for sharing that experience with me – shared joy doubles.
The origin of the Clauiano exhibition :
Our history was born form the passion for mosaics, patriotism and a simple idea.
Enthralled by nature awakening in springtime… during this extraordinary season last year , 2012, a fascinating idea blossomed like a flower and led to an ambitious project in Clauiano, a small ancient medieval village in Friuli Venezia- Giula (Italy).
Giulio Menossi, Matteo Pizzutti, and Marcello Nobile together with the precious collaboration of Pamela Givens and her CMA , Contemporary Mosaic Art , and the participation of some young local people created an extraordinary event.
Clauiano Art Exhibition Gallery
Clauiano, a small rural settlement and interesting part of the Friuli plain, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, dating back to the medieval period with clear references to Roman times, would host an exhibition of mosaics of the highest standard. In 2012, it would be the first International Exhibition of contemporary mosaics in Friuli Venezia – Giulia, involving 38 internationally renowned artists, coming from 13 different countries.
As Maestro Giulio Menossi wrote, “A show made of research, suggestion and contaminations, of dreams and passion… an encounter of people, artists, shapes, ideas, colors, technique, and creativity.
An exhibition not only made by mosaics, it would be a place where the heart beats …
All mosaic Works of Clauiano 2013 can be seen on Facebook!
Images courtesy Rosemarie Castro
Exhibiting artists 2013:
Andjelka Radojevic, Andryea Natkin, Angela Zimek, Antoaneta Stoimenova, Antonella Gallenda, Arlene Piarulli, Atsuko K. Laskaris, Aude Fourrier, Banu Cevikel Bilginer, Britta Kuth, Conny Van Der Wende, Dana Teturova, Daniele Traversari, Danit Shmueli, Demetrio Piccoli, Dugald Maclnnes, Emanuela Bottana, Giulio Menossi, Greet Weitenberg, Julie Richey, Kate Kerrigan, Line Dauvergne, Liza Wheeler, Lynn Adamo, Manfred Hoehn, Marcelino Manhula, Margo Anton, Margy Cottingham, Marianne Minuzzi, Massimo Moreale, Rosemarie Castro, and Silvia Lencinella.
Additional information about Clauiano:
Evidence of the existence of the town dates back to 1013 in the content of a parchment preserved at the Archbishop’s See of Udine, where the Patriarch of Aquileia, Poppone, designates the Chapter to which he confers a large territory comprising many villas, among which that of Cleuian.
After the Turkish invasion, in 1477 Clauiano, one of Italy’s most beautiful towns, passes to the Serenissima until the fall of the Venetian Republic at the end of the eighteenth century. During this long period the town planning is renovated, the houses are built along the streets next to one another, thus forming a closed curtain.
In Clauiano it is the piéris and the clàps that speak: the stones and pebbles are the decorations of the portals as well as the typical environments of rural life in Friuli, such as the fogolâr (fireplace) and the foledôr (barn).
There are two religious buildings: St. Mark’s Church and St. George’s Church, the first of fourteenth-century origin, whereas the latter dates back to the 18th century but its origin may be older.
In the town centre of Clauiano the oldest buildings date back to the 15th century and they developed mainly around St. George’s Church.
There are many villas and palaces of great historical and artistic value: among them the fifteenth-century Casa Gardellini, which is considered the oldest in the town, and Villa Ariis, which is a typical Venetian-Friulian old country complex, made up of the house, the cottages and a large vegetable garden fenced by a battlemented wall with two stone columns, stand out.
Casa Palladino stands next to these buildings: it is situated inside a typical 18th-century Friulian courtyard characterised by the typical fireplace with a Venetian-style hood and chimney, the sundial on the main façade, the stone column, the fireplaces with which the rooms were heated and where silkworms were bred.
Villa Manin, too, is worthy of mention: an elegant eighteenth-century dwelling that belonged to one of the most important families of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, known for the magnificent Villa Manin of Passariano.
It is possible to taste excellent honey produced with traditional methods, spelt and organic products from the ancient Moras Mill.
Every year, on the occasion of the Autumnal Equinox, Clauiano stages the event “Immaginare il tempo” (Imagining time), during which this wonderful medieval town opens its stone and wood entrance halls and courtyards to visitors to provide them with the enchanting atmosphere of past times.