Italy: Tales from the Road
Your Bella Product Development team is recently returned (triumphantly) from another factory tour and frame buying adventure. After traveling together to mostly the same places for years, we're a well-oiled machine. We get where we're going, we go in, select the finest frames and we get out. I'm talking precision team work. Of course, there can be some surprises. This year's unplanned highlights include being pulled over by border patrol, one of us (Ren) leaving their wallet behind in the hotel lobby, and last but not least, assuming it would be fine to drink the water. It was not. Small set backs aside, I wouldn't change a thing about our trip.
Our first factory stop was the home of the Stanley collection. The hand-finished rust profiles introduced last summer have been so popular that we are expanding the line with new colors and profiles. We also visited our good friend, Francesca, the artist who personally hand paints every stick of the Rothko collection. She says "Ciao".
An exciting detour on the trip took us to a facility where finger-joined pine lengths are made. It was very exciting (#framenerds) to see a whole European Spruce log go through the process of becoming a frame profile. There's way more machinery and steps that go into it than one would imagine. Video below shows small sticks being sorted before getting glued together into lengths. In the second video, the machine is gluing two full lengths together to create a bigger plank which will be milled into a wider profile.
One of our favorite stops is always to see our friends who make the amazing hand-finished gold leaf creations like the Gelato, Brancusi and Shimmy collections. The innovative artists there have been working on new finishes that are tantalizingly delightful. I can't show you anything now, but look forward to Raku phase II and another new line I can only describe now as "disco gingham". Trust me. Fantastic.
To summarize; it was a successful trip. A big component of the Bella secret sauce is that we genuinely enjoy what we do for a living. (Hopefully true at your shop too.) We take framing seriously but not necessarily ourselves so we always enjoy our adventures, even if we hit a few pot holes along the way or the GPS takes us down the road less traveled.
It is an honor and pleasure to spend time with and develop fabulous new creations with the finest factories and the lovely people who run them that, like you dear reader, we consider integral parts of the Bella family. Frame on!