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Today we visit archettaio Fabrizio, who lives and works in Castel del Piano. For as long as he can remember he has fostered a fascination for archery and the various bow styles throughout history from all over the world.Fabrizio’s family, running back over countless generations, were all wood craftsmen in some form or another.

Self taught in this world of woodworking, in part by osmosis – simply by a childhood in the workshops of his relatives, most of whom were carpenters or cabinet makers – and in part by practice, trial and error following traditional artisan methods, has equated to a lifetime honing style and technique.

Fabrizio uses only traditional methods for making his bows and arrows. Selection of the right type of wood is crucial to the finished product, adhering to tradition. For the native American style bows he crafts from robinia, juniper, yew, and ash and osage orange, which is a relative to the mulberry and interestingly is also known as bois d’arc (French for bow wood, or the hashed version of the term, bodark).

He crafts his European bows from black and white hornbeam, sorb, elm, ash, elder, walnut, laburnum and yew. He remarks that it helps to have friends who work in the forestry industry, and he counts himself very fortunate to live in a place where all of the raw materials grow in abundance.

Aside from the store-bought turkey feathers, Fabrizio uses local and found products and forms each bow and arrow by hand.

He owns an impressive array of bows, ranging from English longbows to French and Northern Italian medieval style bows, though his favourites are styled after Sioux and Apache bows, the cultures which have cultivated in him a deep interest.

He is passionate about conservation and the respectable treatment of animals, hence the bows he creates are strictly for target sport, and are not used for hunting.

As well as being an archietto, Fabrizio is a gifted sculptor, teasing from the very essence of the wood (usually olive, apple or pear wood) intricate and flowing beings.

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Profilo in Italiano in arrivo

Sculpture photographs and designs © Fabrizio Borgoni; Other photographs © Alison Boyd