Crafter of the Month - Antonio Brassea
Antonio loved art. All kinds. He dabbled in cartoon sketches, serious sketches, and painting. But carving was the one "art" he loved the most. Creating something out of a chunk of wood, only he being able to see the vision that wood would someday be, that was his passion in art.
But, with a wife and child to support, art was not an option for work that he could follow. He was a passionate man, but a very quiet one. Even shy. (unless angered). Which is why it was always comical to see how many people, especially restaurant maitre'd's and waiters mistook him for a mafia figure. He had that look!!! Dark, handsome, strong and steely. He used to laugh about how one Italian restaurant in Oakland, California that he took his family to several times a month used to believe he was a local "Don". Another time he took his wife, daughter and son in law to an Italian restaurant in one of the casinos in Reno, Nevada and the staff did everything except kneel down and kiss his ring.
But Lucky Luciano he was not.
Family was everything to Antonio.
He was an artist at heart, but not a salesperson, so getting his artwork in front of the public eye and financed through sales was something he never accomplished. That didn’t stop him however from making it a wonderful hobby that was treasured by all fortunate enough to be gifted by one of his creations.
He grew up in California with an older brother and three sisters. But Antonio was in an accident as a child that resulted in a stay of three years in the hospital. Though he got through that, and many thought he wouldn’t, years later, as a result of that accident he lost his left leg. But that didn’t stop him, and he was soon back at work as a tanner for Manasse Block Tanning Co., and carving and drawing at home during the evenings and weekends when not enjoying toiling in his garden…like his father had done before him.
His “Italian Princess” of a daughter put him through some trying times while she was a teenager, but he managed to get through that time too, with his beautiful wife Dorothy by his side, and when he was gifted with three grandchildren, and then, years later, with six great grandchildren, he was ecstatic.
Antonio has dozens of carvings to his credit….some fanciful, some serious, but all are fantastic in their own way. From primitive type carvings of Indians to distressed Monks, from elephants to horses, cartoon cowboys to tiny mice and golfers, 3d carved pictures and wooden western guns. Over the years he’s basically done it all, but never for money. Nope. Antonio’s carvings have always been a work of joy for him, and beautiful, treasured gifts for his family and friends. And he never used anything more than a regular knife and chisel to carve, and then a bit of sandpaper. Some of his carvings are stained, a rare few are painted. The finish of the piece always a mystery until he set his tools down, a sign that the piece was complete.
Unfortunately Antonio passed away a few years ago, but the beautiful carvings and cartoon drawings he left behind will be forever treasured by those lucky ones who received them. His last piece, working on it when he died, was a small 3d picture of the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima during WWII.
Riposa in pace Daddy.
Ti Amo, La Tua Piccola Principessa