L'Isola di Pinocchio - www.MarionettesInVenice.com

Chi siamo

Manuela Comin

I was born in Venice on April 21st 1958 

When I was a child I already liked making clothes for dolls, by using the remnants that my mother’s tailoress used to bring me and during my summer holidays I liked going to the tailor’s shop owned by my uncle and my aunt.

During my teens I started both to cut and to make clothes for my friends and myself.

At the secondary school I made myself conspicuous for my skills in the artistic and manual subjects (drawing, sculpture, ornamental needlework and little dressmaking work).

Then I attended the technical Institute for Tourism “F: Algarotti” in Venice and at the same time I  also made my first tailoring course (Sitam method).

At the age of twenty I went to  live on my own and I began to work as a tailoress, by acquiring a lot of both male and female customers, for whom I used to manufacture clothes made to measure in an exclusive style.

After that I got involved in a theatrical project named LAB. 80  sponsored by the municipality of Venice that was aimed at performing  “I BENANDANTI” by C. Ginzburg, directed by Giancarlo Nanni.

On that occasion the director and the costume designer noticed and  appreciated  my work, so that for a while I had the chance to follow them on a tour during which the play “Fire at the opera house” by G. Kaiser with M. Kustermann and C. Cinieri was performed.

As soon as I got back from the tour I attended as a pupil a former première of Roberta da Camerino and I started to design and to make costumes for some local theatrical companies, such as Teatro Modo, La Capinera, Gruppo Atellana, Giacomo Giacomo and T.A.G.

In 1982 I opened the tailor’s shop “Factory” at Campo S. Margherita in Venice, where I continued manufacturing clothes  made to measure and costumes for Venice Carnival.

In 1985 I moved to Toscana, to a place close to Camaiore and not far from Viareggio. There I opened a little holiday farm in partnership and at the same time I worked as a costume designer and as a dressmaker for a workroom in Viareggio, called BAZAAR, dealing with vintage and costumes hiring.

My Venetian background brought to Viareggio a sort of new imagery and thanks to the help of BAZAR’s owner, Ms. Eliana De Plano, we used to manufacture costumes for private persons as well as for various  local institutions.

In 1989 I established the artistic handicraft  company ACQUASALSA in partnership with my brother Roberto, who  in the meanwhile had moved to Toscana. In the same year I worked for the Foundation of Viareggio’s Carnival by making the uniforms of the music band “MASCHERADE”on a design by U. Bonetti, who had  been  also the creator of Burlamacco, the typical  mask-character of Viareggio.

In 1990 I worked at the organization of a costumes exhibition sponsored by the Municipality of Viareggio, that was held at Villa Borbone. Here orginal costumes  dating back to the XIXth and to the beginning of XXth century were displayed, as well as other costumes that had belonged to the theatrical company of Ermete Zacconi and had become Ms. De Plano’s property. In a room of this exhibition also the most significant creations that I had made for Bazar  could be found.

On that occasion I had also the chance to meet Umberto Tirelli, to whom later,  during a visit to his atelier in Rome, I applied  for sugestions and appraisals regarding the exhibition and the costumes on display. He was very kind and showed to appreciate my work.

In 1995, after short stays in Piacenza, Parma and Cremona, I went back to Venice and  I started to attend courses at  the Padua branch of Milan’s Carlo Secoli Institute in order to attain - after two trainings that lasted altogether 3 years - a  diploma in industrial fashion design for man and woman. In the meantime, I resumed the collaboration with my brother’s firm “Pinocchio’s Island” for which I used to take care of the realization of costumes for both historic and fanciful marionettes. Then I also started a collaboration with another important family of four generation puppeteers and marionette-players from Parma, the Ferraris. Their products are exported all over the world and are also purchased by international famous personalities.

Then I also began again creating carnvial costumes for private Venetians and for other people from many Italian cities as well as from Europe and USA, as well as for various shops and ateliers in Venice.

In 1996, as I felt the need to get to a complete product, I learnt to create masks made of papier mâché

In 2001 I started a collaboration in my capacity as a  model-maker  with the firm “Antonella Spotti” from Cremona and I tried to enlarge the search for designs for outiside wearing, as well as for home  and practice (Yoga, Meditation and Martial Arts)  wearing that might express and realize an ancient knowledge, by using refined and natural fabrics. 

Manuela Comin