Paolo Olbi: Master Craftsman of Venice

img_0942.jpgSignor Olbi of Venice began his craft in 1962 as a bookbinder. In 1975, he began producing beautiful gift articles such as journals, photo albums, frames and agendas, all handcrafted using the finest of Italian materials: vegetable-tanned Tuscan leather, which becomes softer and more beautiful with time, and rich and elegant Venetian papers. Signor Olbi’s designs are inspired by classic Venetian and Italian motifs: the “leone” or lion, the symbol of Venice; the “grifo” or gryphon, a recurring emblem throughout Italy signifying heroism, strength and vigilance; and the classic lines and flowing embellishments of Liberty (Art Nouveau) style. Every piece Signor Olbi creates is unique and produced using traditional methods. Most of his work is done by hand, with help from antique machines such as a 1900’s typographical press and a hot-stamp machine used to make impressions on leather. His gallery and workshop in the Cannaregio is open to the public and a marvel to behold. Today Signor Olbi has three shops in Venice where he sells his creations. His delightful sister, Bruna, assists him at his Campo Santa Maria Nova location.paolo-olbi-and-signora-bruna.jpg Others who use cheaper materials and methods of production often imitate Signor Olbi’s craft, but he has remained passionately committed to quality, tradition and time-tested techniques. That commitment is evident in every beautiful piece he creates. Signor Olbi also teaches his art to younger generations, who come to Venice to learn this most ancient of crafts.

To view and purchase Signor Olbi’s works, please go to Albums & Journals.