Friday, 28 March 2014

Your "Doll Fix" in Rome

Do you know that by the super-fashion street of Via Ripetta there's an "hospital" dedicated to dolls? And another one can be found a few meters ahead, in Via Flaminia?
--Your "Rome-nipper" has been there, took pictures and entertained herself with a talk to the owners of the shops!

So, the first workshop that I'll tell you about is Restauri Artistici Squatriti in Via Ripetta 29:
This tiny shop in the middle of fashion shops and restaurants is also nicknamed "the shop of horrors" by the locals because of the kinda disturbing contents of its windows, but it's better known as "the Hospital of Dolls", as it's famous for fixing and repairing damaged dolls.
As soon as I entered I was greeted by the sharp smell of chemicals because what lies behind the pletora of doll parts and assorted memorabilia is an actual restoration laboratory.
At the time the owners of the shop, Federico and his old mother Gelsomina, were working on some ancient vases.
I asked if I could take some picture of the shop, and they kindly let me.

The Squatriti's came from Naples from a family with a tradion in restoration dating 15 generations.
Their job with dolls focuses mostly on reparations of very old pieces, dating from the XIX century to the late 70s... They prefer to work on old dolls, expecially those made of wood or paper-mache, pieces who are difficult to fix once broken or damaged.
It's a place that gives some sense of security, you know? Considering how merchandising and toys evolve is such a pitiful direction that points towards mass production and disposable affection, it's reassuring to know that someone still cares for those who still cover their precious objects with love and care...

After this first short visit, I moved to La Clinica delle Bambole in Via Flaminia 58B:
This shop is different from the previous one.
As the Restauri Artistici is mostly a restoration lab, in the shop of Pierina you can actually buy old, precious ladies besides getting them fixed and repaired.

When I arrived in the shop, Pierina was working on a little dress for one of her ladies as her husband was reading a newspaper.
The shop is definitely different from the lab in Via Ripetta: here the place is quite large and the dolls, plushies and toys are exhibited with care.

After taking these shots of the shop's windows I asked if I could take pictures inside and Pierina told me not to XD
I was a bit shocked about it but she explained that many people profitted of her kindness to gain materials for their "projects" without giving nothing in return-- And I'm talking about self-called "creatives" who taped videos and clips in the shop to use for their "short movies" or photobooks, without crediting Pierina at all, nor rewarding her for the bother.
I was simply disgusted with the whole deal, so I just took a look around without bothering about pictures again (I had the impression that if I asked again she would allow me, but I don't want to make myself similar to those disgusting individuals) --Besides the dolls, the shop contains lots of interesting bits... I was charmed by the lovely sets of doll furnitures, for example, and in a bit I made myself home talking about my need to investigate Rome's curiosities and the like.

Talking about Pierina's job she made sure to let me understand her tastes with dolls, and what she found pretty or ugly in them-- It was really fun to hear this old lady getting all passionate about her work and creatures and I loved how she made a point about her aesthetical beliefs so firmly!

Our long talk was interrupted by a call from a client, and so I decided to leave to let her work in peace.
I received a cute business card and in return I promised to visit again.

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