In our museum collection we’re fortunate to have pieces that recreate the production process for a variety of items in china, crystal, silver, and collectibles. Our museum feature includes 4 pieces that show the creation of “Spring Arrivals,” a hand-carved wood figurine designed by artist Juan Ferrandiz and produced by the Italian company, Anri.
In the early 1900s, American traveler and author W.D. McCrackan published a journal describing his extensive travels in the "Fair Land of Tyrol" in the alpine area of northern Italy and the Austro-Hungarian empire. Since the 17th century, the art of wood carving had been passed along generation to generation in this region. McCrackan wrote about the Groden Valley, which he called, “Toyland, where lives a race of mountaineers whom time and trade have transformed into artists and artisans.” Here McCracken saw wooden dolls and toys of exquisite detail that were carved by hand by local artisans from maple wood native to the region. It was in this small valley that the company Anri Wood Carvings was founded in 1912.
One of the most renowned artists to work with Anri was the late Juan Ferrandiz (1918-1997), a poet and painter who was born in Barcelona, Spain. He published 12 children’s books in Catalan (native dialect discouraged during the Franco regime), and 43 children’s books in Spanish. His delicately carved figurines brought him great notoriety, especially in the U.S.
According to information provided by Anri, about three months are required to create a finished wood figurine. Eighty-year-old maple is shipped to Anri from farms in France. The wood is air-dried in Italy for as long as 3 years, then kiln-dried to reduce moisture content to no more than 10 percent. Blocks of wood are then sized for carving, and placed in storage.
Artists create original prototypes from designs that are approved by the company. The prototypes are used to create original models that can be accurately duplicated by individual artisans. Once in production, each figurine is carefully inspected before it is approved for hand finishing, where the final details of the figurines are carved.
When carving is finished, the wood of the figurines is sealed. Individual figurines are now ready to be hand-painted with special transparent oil-based paints, so that the grain of the wood remains visible. Each piece is inspected once again for final approval before the Anri logo is applied and the figurine is boxed for shipment to collectors around the world.
A very limited number of the “Spring Arrivals” hand-carved wood figurines like the one in our museum collection are available for sale, along with other selections from the Ferrandiz Wood Figurines collection by Anri, as well as Ferrandiz Nativity Figurines, and more. Be sure to browse our web site. And remember that we always invite you to visit our facilities! Here you’ll find a stunning variety of silver, china, crystal, and collectibles! Our warehouse facilities (the size of 7 football fields) hold more than 13,000,000 individual pieces in more than 425,000 patterns! Our showroom and museum are open from 9:00am to 7:00pm ET, 7 days a week (except holidays); free tours are available from 10:00am to 6:00pm ET, 7 days a week. The showroom and museum are conveniently located between Greensboro and Burlington, NC, at exit 132 off Interstate 85/40. We look forward to seeing you!