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"I met Jochen online through a German auction site. He had posted a picture of a figurine with accompanying text in German expressing a desire to talk with other collectors. I responded in my limited German, and we began an extended correspondence about our common interest. In December 2009 my wife and I took a 'Christmas Markets' cruise from Nuremberg, Germany to Vienna, Austria. Jochen lives near Nuremberg so he drove up to meet us before the cruise started. In July 2010 we returned to Germany to see the Passion Play in Oberammergau, and we again met Jochen. This time he hosted us for an overnight visit to his small town where we met his parents, wife, and daughter. My adventures collecting Lo Scricciolo figurines began with a chance visit to a souvenir and art shop on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey in the late 60s. This store had a few pieces along with the usual Capodimonte and Hummel fiurines we are all familiar with. I thought that these figurines were uniquely charming and amusing. The prices were rather high, so I bought the one I liked best – The Clockmaker. Later I bought one more on another visit to that store. I wanted to find more to buy, and my job as a software engineer enabled me to travel extensively in the States. I visited many stores in large cities such as Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco but was unable to find any more of them. My modest collection of two pieces remained static until the summer of 1983 on a tour of Italy when my wife and I found a large display of them in a store in Sorrento where we bought four more, as many as we could afford and also take with us as carry-on luggage on the plane back to the States. Even though we kept looking for figurines in stores in the States and Europe we found no more until the Internet became a useful tool in the late 90s. Both Adriano Colombo and Toni Moretto had websites. Colombo didn't offer figurine for sale online, but I was beginning to make arrangements to visit his studio near Vicenza. His website went away before I could make the trip, but instead I was able to buy a few pieces from Toni Moretto's website. Then in 2005 I started to find them for sale on eBay and bought quite a few of them. During the spring of that year I reestablished contact with Colombo and arranged to visit him at his home/studio in September as part of a vacation trip to our favorite Italian cities. Adriano met us at the train station in Vicenza and drove us to his home a few miles away in Ponte di Nanto. In his ground floor studio we were amazed to find hundreds of his figurines, both finished and unfinished. Colombo would only ship a minimum of four pieces per box to the States, but since he had an incredible variety of subjects to choose from we bought eight figurines instead. His wife filled out the paperwork (he didn't have a computer), and we arranged shipment back to the States. She prepared lunch for us, and they showed us their home which he had designed himself. He was a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright, so his home was quite stylish and impressive. He drove us back to our hotel in Vicenza and then graciously offered to give us a tour of Vicenza the next morning. The next day he met us at our hotel and we embarked on a walking tour of his city. He showed us the Teatro Olimpico and the Basilica Palladiana, both designed by Andrea Palladio, a famous 16th century architect from Vicenza. He then drove us into the surrounding countryside where he showed us the church in which his daughter was married. Then we had lunch at a very good restaurant, afterward we returned to Vicenza to catch a train to Venice. We were very, very impressed by Adriano's graciousness and hospitality. We were just strangers from the States who expressed an interest in his figurines, but he went out of his way to meet us and make us feel at home. Not only is he a great artist but a great human being. My father was a professional magician in the early decades of the 20th century. My sister and I helped him as stage assistants when he did church and school shows after he retired professionally. In late 2006 I asked Colombo to do a custom piece depicting him, my sister and me in his magic act. I sent Colombo pictures and sketches of what I wanted. While I was trying to figure out how to pay him (he doesn't accept credit cards or PayPal) I received a large box with the completed figurine and three other pieces we had selected; he was trusting enough to send them even before I had paid him. The Magician statue was everything I had expected and more. These incredible figurines and the collection process give me a great deal of pleasure. I frequently open a display cabinet and just admire the skill and workmanship that goes into each piece. Over the years I've also learned how to repair the damages from shipping or other accidents. Although the process is long and tedious it is quite fun and satisfying. I also make display cases for individual pieces to keep them safe and dust free."


living clay