The cooperative


Cooperative company that operates in che craft sector

At the beginning of 2019, from an idea of three girls who love the city of Fabriano and its peculiarities in the craft sector, they decide to set up a Viceversa social cooperative.

Fabriano has always been called the city of paper for its great history and tradition. It is precisely from here that Viceversa started, we approached this world of history and artists on tiptoe because despite being from Fabriano, behind a hand-made sheet of paper there is a lot of work and a thousand small details.

In its project, the social cooperative Viceversa deals with: production and sale of handmade paper following the ancient gestures of the 13th century Fabriano paper makers using still vats, looms, donkey backs, felts, and handcrafted wooden drying racks for drying.

To do this we are availing ourselves of the collaboration of the master paper maker Luigi Mecella from Fabriano who since 1985 has entered the handmade paper production workshop of the Paper and Watermark Museum, under the guidance of forty years of experience, in the Cartiere Miliani Fabriano.

After learning all the techniques, in 1990 he enrolled in the Chamber of Commerce for Industry, Crafts and Agriculture of Ancona as a craftsman for the production of hand-made papers, hiring two "ponitori" collaborators.

It still operates today at the Paper and Watermark Museum, managing demonstration, production and teaching activities. He built a small paper mill in Argignano and also built a round machine with which he creates his own line of products for sale to important scriptoriums and in specialized shops, including abroad.

This partnership will allow us to achieve another goal of ours, the training and dissemination of the artisan paper production technique. The aim is to support young paper makers or aspiring paper makers to train and / or improve paper production techniques and the organization of workshops and training meetings at the headquarters or in the paper mill or in schools.

The main objective of a social cooperative is the inclusion in the world of work of people with disabilities because they represent a resource. This is where the partnership with La Casa Madonna della Rosa Onlus comes from, a structure that has been operating in the Fabriano territory since 1997.

On one floor of the complex a small paper mill has been built, fully equipped for the production of handmade paper, according to the Fabrianese tradition. Users are engaged in various activities for the creation of handmade paper and objects, they undertake to create stalls and all the proceeds are used for various activities.

Another objective would be to create a network of cooperation and support for local craftsmanship to preserve the techniques and products that represent a true excellence of the territory. Some of them, like Melania Tozzi, Roberta Gagliardini, and happily Mario Cini, exhibit and sell their products on our online platform, which has been active since May 2020, featuring products made from handmade paper and its derivatives.

A site open to all small artisans who work in the area and who produce unique pieces of great value in a limited edition.

Tradition and innovation

The process of making handmade paper involves several stages:

  1. Preparation of the pulp using high-quality raw materials such as cotton (mostly), linen, hemp, coniferous cellulose, natural dyes, and animal glues, which are soaked in vats.
  2. Refining the pulp using a Hollander beater machine.
  3. Actual papermaking process: the master papermaker dips the mold into the pulp and retrieves an amount, which can vary depending on the desired thickness of the sheet, distributing it evenly inside the mold using a sifting motion. The excess water is drained off, and the mold with the material is placed on felt to allow the sheet to release from the mold. The sheet is then stacked, one on top of the other, as more sheets are created using the same method.
  4. Pressing the stack of sheets using a hydraulic press that allows for complete removal of water.
  5. Drying the finished sheets in the open air on wooden drying racks.
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