A SHORT BIOGRAPHY RELATED TO LEATHERWORK
Stefano Parrini was born in Florence in the early Fifties to a Florentine working-class family.
He immediately showed scarce aptitude for studying or other sedentary activities, a characteristic that would influence his entire life. After secondary school he started his first job in a butcher’s shop. In the meantime, his father had taken over the firm from his employer, but, after just a few years, he decided to move his family to Central America. Stefano, who had just turned eighteen, chose not to follow his family.
Thus begins that phase of life that will brand him forever. Although he could have settled for the role of being an abandoned child, a drifter left to fend for himself, Stefano chose to try his hand at different jobs, and to travel. Combined, these two not only broadened his experiences and his handicraft skills, but they also unleashed his passion for creative activities. Trips to Mexico, Central and South America kindled Stefano’s respect, indeed reverence, for leather craftsmanship. In addition to working with this valuable raw material, he also strove to excel in complementary handicrafts, such as working semi-precious stones, coral, silver, and painting.
But Stefano is fatally attracted to leather and its multiple uses across different countries. Upon returning to Italy in the Eighties, Stefano decides to settle in the Tuscan-Romagna Apennine mountains, where he puts to use the experiences gained during his travels by working for coachmen and riders, thereby further deepening his knowledge of saddlery.
Over time, he starts to invent and manufacture his own models, especially luggage, hiking gear, and everyday objects — all strictly in vegetable-tanned leather. At the end of the Eighties Stefano is forced to stop his leatherwork due to changes in the market; leather no longer is attractive to people as fashion trends favor other materials, horses have gone out of fashion, and besides, almost no one works the woods anymore using horses.
Then, at the beginning of the new millennium, Stefano catches a glimmer of resurgent interest in leather handicrafts, so he decides to resume business. He dedicates himself to producing unique items, each with an exclusive design, made entirely by hand. He uses only vegetable-tanned leather, stitched with waxed linen thread.
In recent years, Stefano has managed to build a network of private clients and partnerships that have allowed him to move forward. Currently he is a committed teacher at private arts & crafts schools where curiously, the students interested in learning these craft skills are in their majority non-European. Stefano also collaborates with the Leather School of Florence, with the Riaci Academy of Florence, as well as with leather craft projects for the Genuine Vegetable-tanned Leather Consortium. In early 2014, he was asked to share his expertise at the Samsung Maestros Academy project. In 2015 he began his work with IED Florence.