The Chairs of Serrastretta: A Story of Dignity and Dust
Updated: Apr 16, 2021
Today my little village of Serrastretta is a center of furniture production, specifically entire kitchens, door frames, casings and custom made furniture of all kinds. Trees abound In this area of “La Sila,” the mountainous plateau located here in Calabria. Over the years wood from La Sila has made it possible for hundreds of woodworking artisans to thrive and ply their unique craft, the creation of handmade, woven straw chairs.
The chairmakers of Serrastretta continue to construct chairs as they ancestors have done – beginning with a hard- wood frame to which local women, (mbudatrice) expertly weave a special bush-type marshland plant called “vuda” to create artistically unique but highly sturdy seats. After the “vuda” are treated they form a thick thread. The women then use ancient procedures taught to them by their ancestors to create complex and unique designs.
The chair back is hand etched and chair masters are famous for their individual designs, from religious motifs to personal initials to whimsical reproductions.
In fact the site www.Sudsenzaeta.it lauds the Serrastretta chair masters when they write, “Theirs is a story of dust and sacrifice, lived in the wake of a dignity that never failed.”
Calabria Treasures offers you an opportunity to own one of these handmade, distinctive chairs. Choose from miniatures to children’s chairs, to dining chairs or the unique “chauffeuse” or “fireside chair,” a sturdy, low chair that recalls those our “nonni,” once used as their crochet hooks or knitting needles clicked in time with a crackling fire.
To learn more about the chairs of Serrastretta visit Franco Colino’s U Hocularu site.