About Interi

Interi Fragment Creations are 16th-18th century fragments, usually church fragmented objects that have fallen into disuse. They are works of art that have adorned churches throughout Europe. Antique artifacts that have been taken away from their original context and changed in their significance. Beautifully carved articles of worship decorated with precious gems of tourmaline, aquamarine, rutilated quartz still in their matrix form, and fossil shells from archaeological digs of the pre-ice age era.

The combination of fossil shells, polished agate coral, minerals and precious gems, usually in their matrix form, brings into existence a contemporary work of old and new. Interpreting the past to create a piece entirely original evolving in its own right- Interi. Interi Fragments are pieces of artifacts from once beautiful treasures collected by the upper class for the commission of priceless works of art that adorn churches throughout Europe. As the Italians would say, many hands go into each piece, meaning many layers of an application by hand i.e. gesso bole (under color) to gold leaf. Usually, a fragment has gone past decoration but because of its age and intricate carvings, it is still a work of art in its own right. The fragment became the pursuit of interest to me as they are not plentiful. One cannot buy fragments at random. The collecting began as I was living in the USA. My fragment purchasing first began in Ireland as I gathered pieces from restorers and also when I acquired pieces of furniture. My first important purchase was in Paris when I bought a box of seven beautiful mirror pediments for 500 euros. These ornate broken pieces of history are not cheap. Just because they are broken or have been in misuse, does not diminish the many hands or layers that once went into the complete piece. One does not have to have a trained eye to know a hand-carved piece of wood with often five to seven layers of gesso. Each layer, sanded before the next application, has an undercoat of bole and the finished gilding process is a piece in its own right. In Ireland, my country of birth, I had already established contacts so fragment acquiring was of word of mouth and more easily accessible.

My love was, and still is, Italy as these pieces are usually church artifacts. Any handwork offered for worship was in itself the best of craftsmanship- hours of labor resulting in the most beautiful objects for the service of worship. These pieces had gone beyond restoration because of age, but they were not allowed to be discarded. Hence, when they came to me I realized how special their journey had been on arrival to my hands. The decorative market was calling for the organic appeal of shells, corals, crystals, and geodes. My fragments were beyond the application of an easily accessible polished Philippine shell. Hence, the further hunting of the bazaar and the usual became the pursuit- the fossil which had to be excavated from beneath the earth's surface, the shells that didn't come from the ocean but from deep within the earth's surface. The root to acquiring these shell and fossil specimens started in Tuscany, Northern Italy, where I obtained my first estate shell collection at the famous Parma Antique fair held twice a year, which led to the continuing of purchasing the rare via the internet, throughout Europe, and traveling to the largest gem and mineral fairs throughout the USA.

My special sources were not at these venues, but people who I have found who have collected and are an authority on fossils and minerals, delving into their secret sash of materials being able to purchase from their years of collecting. A shell/mineral collector will only want to keep for himself the best, but very often he has got to acquire many pieces just to get the number one quality. They keep the best, and I obtain the pieces that are not museum quality. Therefore, I have been the fortunate receiver of their years of collecting. My starting off place is the wood fragment. Layers of faded paint from natural pigments called for more colorful and different textures that have to accessorize exactly with shells and minerals to make the finished piece appear that both have evolved together over time. The gem and mineral world opened up to me. I found a new appreciation for a substance that came from completely natural resources. Hence, I was now hunting not only in Europe but at the rock and mineral shells and shows. Living in South Carolina, I had the best of choice in my next state, North Carolina, deep in the Smokey Mountains where it is known for its mining and two of the largest mineral fairs held twice a year. Sourcing and finding minerals opened a different and refreshing avenue for me. Arriving deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains in July, a province of the larger Appalachian Mountain range, to find oil drums of emeralds in their matrix (as they came from the earth) spilled out on the side of the road. This was another world. I started combining my fragments, the fossil shells, and now the minerals, to my realm of embellishment. Then I met my friend John, who introduced me to polished fossil agate coral.

Appreciating the time and work it takes to excavate what would appear as a lump of dirty old coral from the seabed, he knows what is inside and opens up the treasures of darkness and riches stored in secret places. He then polishes this organic dead sea creature, leaving the natural but beautifying each piece to ordain any piece of furniture or decorative room setting. Polished fossil agate corals love wood fragments, especially those that have been washed by the flood water of Florence in the 1960s. Marrying the two, technically, began with Bud and I. Bud has since passed away, but a tribute is due. Like myself, untrained but gifted with an ability to create, I needed help getting a shell, coral, or mineral to stay attached to a 400-year-old piece of wood. We went beyond the rules of technique. I would ask him to make a mineral look like a flame of fire perched on top of a 400-year-old candlestick. Defying gravity became the challenge for him, and he would leave me at noon each day to return the next, having spent many hours working on the illusion. He bore holes, we poured hardener, we creating splints, and claws for gemstones- never did any project ever fail to be executed as the originally conceived idea. We became excited at the challenge of going beyond the natural limitations to create the spectacular. The cosmetics to finish a fragment creation are grades of gravel and dust hammered and sifted to fill the gaps of time. The dirty, as the Italians call it, is the knowledge of dust, ash and rotten stone (the Italian use the caviar of cobwebs to age and pull together all of the components of the fragment creation).