Before embarking on a career as a craftsman, Andrey Spinella – a 35-year-old from Aosta and a huge music fan – worked for over 10 years as a music scout at concert venues and in radio. He also played in an alternative rock band for over five years and has written numerous musical reviews in various newspapers. His craftwork creations feature many of the triskell designs that have been published in our tattooing magazines. We met him during the Trigallia Celtic Festival and, in admiring his personalised products, he seemed like the perfect interviewee vis-à-vis our investigation into these artisan professions, where the drawings published in our Tattoo publications are used to personalise, enrich and decorate a variety of products.
How long have you been an artisan and what do you specialise in?
I started out at the end of 2001 by giving an old friend of mine, Umberto, a hand: he produced soaps and leather-bound diaries. We worked together for about a year and that’s when I started learning how to use my hands and my imagination. Following that experience I decided to focus on leather articles and I discovered leather-burning and colour, now key trademarks in my work. Apart from some valuable advice from Umberto and other craftsmen encountered over the years, just about all the skills I’ve acquired have been self-taught.
Tell us what your work consists of…
I try to make every single one of my articles unique. I’m well aware that it’s no easy task, but it’s often the case that purchasers really appreciate the sensation of inimitability. I constantly strive to improve and explore new avenues, practical or simply pleasurable. I don’t know if that’s what being a craftsman is all about but, in the end, I suppose it doesn’t really matter…
You’ve personalised lots of your products using the tattoo designs – especially the triskells – published in our tattooing magazines. What gave you the idea of using them? Do you think these designs can be used as decorations in other areas of craft?
I’ve made extensive use of the beautiful triskells found in your magazines, especially in the beginning, when they helped me understand the construction mechanism behind the more elaborate triskells; I’ve also done some research on the Internet because, in the end, it’s a symbol I truly like. These days I try to rework my own graphic designs – but the magazine is always there on the workbench. I think the drawings from your magazines are also used by craftsmen who work materials other than leather. And they’re more than right to do so!