On 4 October, the MAM 2022, the Masters of art and craft, were awarded. Alberto Cavalli, creator of the award, tells us who the winners are, and why, today more than ever, it is important to defend high craftsmanship in Italy

On 4 October, the MAM 2022 were awarded at the Teatro Litta in Milan, the best masters of art and craft in Italy.
The winners of this fourth edition are 45 for excellent craftsmanship and 12 for the crafts of taste and hospitality.

Alberto Cavalli, general director of the Fondazione Cologni and creator of the award, tells us who the 2022 winners are, and why, today more than ever, it is important to support high craftsmanship in Italy.

What it means to be a MAM

"The MAM is the title that indicates the Master of art and craft, an award that we introduced in 2016 to celebrate and enhance talent of the greatest Italian artisans, in all categories. made in Italy represents a competitive advantage for our country, from nautical to fashion, from furniture to jewelery.

A fundamental part is represented by the work of the master craftsmen. We have decided to reward not only independent masters with their own shop, but also those who work within companies and manufactures: according to Italian law these figures are considered workers, but often they are reality of great masters".

MAM 2022: how many are the winners

"This year we award 57 masters, of which 44 in the applied arts and 13 in the categories of taste and hospitality.

For us, the creative transformation of food is also a craft of art, and to do this we rely on our partner Alma, the international school of Italian cuisine of which Gualtiero Marchesi was rector".

Who are the 2022 winners

"We have really special names. Like Caterina Alcaro, a weaver from Catania who works at the ancient Scassa tapestry factory in Asti, and carries on in a contemporary way, with an extraordinary ability to dialogue with art and design, the creation of tapestries, keeping this centuries-old tradition alive.

Another award-winning master is Maurizio Betti, who in his workshop in Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna creates aviaries that are masterpieces, made with moving poetry and skill. We have a great master of Milanese ceramics, Guido De Zan , who has an oven at the columns of San Lorenzo in Milan, in the historic center: an artist-craftsman who produces graphic ceramics that look like three-dimensional sheets in shades of black and white.

And again: Sebastiano Lunardelli from Venice, refined and attentive interpreter of the Venetian cultural and artistic heritage, author of furnishing accessories inspired for example by the facades of buildings.

Among the exceptional glassmakers there is the master Cesare Toffolo, specialized in the miniatures of glass objects in the Renaissance style, a truly unexpected production.

And Lorenzo Pusterla, a marble craftsman who works for Visionnaire. We also have set designers, embroiderers, tailors, gardeners ... we touch all categories by searching for names that the general public often does not know, and whose products are the best representation of Made in Italy ".

How to become a master of art and craft

"The MAM are nominated by a commission of experts: we do not accept self-nominations.

The jury then, on the basis of the first selection, decides the masters to be valued. Not only those who have great manual skills are rewarded, but also those who embody the culture of the project, the ability to interpret an idea.

We recognize talents at the highest levels, people who every day celebrate the beautiful and the well done through their life and their work".

The 11 criteria of excellence

"We have developed an evaluation matrix divided into 11 criteria, the result of two years of field research. The 11 characteristics that must be present in the career of the master craftsman are: craftsmanship, authenticity, competence, creativity , training and transmission, innovation, interpretation, originality, talent, territoriality, tradition".

Young people can be rewarded as teachers

"To be a MAM you must already have some experience, you don't become a master right away.

But among this year's MAMs there are also younger talents: like Vincenzo Aucella, master of coral, who was born in 1982, or as the ceramist Elisabetta D'Arienzo who was born in Salerno in 1987 and embodies the great tradition of Vietri sul Mare, declining it in a very contemporary way according to her personal aesthetic".

How craftsmanship is changing in Italy

"For some years now we have been witnessing a revival of interest in artistic craftsmanship, also by the new generations.

Today, not knowing how to do anything is seen as a synonym for addiction, young people on the other hand are very independent, so we see more often guys working in the ateliers.

Being a craftsman is difficult: we do not promise young people that they will become rich, but happy yes".

What are the greatest difficulties for today's craftsmen

"I would condense them into a single word: ignorance. Often it is not clear what the value of artistic crafts is, no public policies are pursued to support them, the value of their created objects ... the real enemy is therefore ignorance.

We are a foundation: our mission is to help artisans, celebrate them, but also induce a change cultural".

What is the challenge for contemporary artisans

"Today artisans must have more transversal skills: familiarity with technology also to communicate themselves, to improve their business, to find new customers, to tell about themselves more effectively.

A craftsman is also an entrepreneur: to be an entrepreneur in Italy it takes courage but also skills. In addition, it is crucial to follow the spirit of the times, research and learn about trends, integrate young people in the shop".