The afternoon of our Q retreat in downtown Detroit, we were given some time to ourselves to explore and discover. I walked a mere two blocks and came across a small studio gallery which quickly beckoned me in. It was the building, along with the prospect of art and artist inside, which caught my attention. This was an historic townhouse sitting alone, in between parking lots, abandoned lots, and the downtown skyscrapers of the city. It looked very out of place, as do many of these buildings in Detroit. The sign on the outside featured jewelry work by Nate Muccioli, as well as paintings and sculptures by Anna Muccioli. A family of artists. How fun.
I was slightly hesitant going in. You go through the door and are in the foyer of what feels like a turn-of-the-century home (which it is, the townhouse was built in the 1870’s, restored by the Muccioli’s but still evokes a great deal of history). You are faced with a few locked doors and ornate stairs leading up to more. The jewelry space was the first door on the left. I rang the bell and eventually the jeweler, Nate Muccioli, came to greet me. He was a very friendly man, intrigued by me because, as he admitted, they don’t receive much foot traffic these days. We both were in the mood to learn from each other and so we chatted for about a half an hour about his work, his mother’s work, and the history of the studio and the city in general.
Unlike their newsletter describes, his jewelry pieces were not on display. He did have out a large collection of ring setting designs presented in different plastic colors. I thought they were very funky and cool. When I inquired, I learned that these were for the form and style only. You select the design you like, you can even use your own old gold or silver, and from that Nate crafts the piece using the lost wax technique. This fascinated me because my father is a sculptor and uses a similar method for casting his figurative bronze sculptures. Of course, this infused the conversation with talk of sculpture and art schools and family.
The back two rooms of the gallery are filled with work by his mother, Anna Muccioli. There were really lovely pen and ink drawings, charcoal figure drawings, watercolors, oil paintings, sculpture, and prints of her favorites. Her style is very loose and abstract, playful and sweet. He spoke of her background in art. There was a great photo on the wall of the old CCS, which was then called the Detroit Society of Art and Crafts. He and his mother both attended school there. The gallery newsletter goes into more detail about her past, including an interesting tidbit about the Ford Mustang. It was so neat to learn about this woman, and so I was crushed to learn that she was also dying of cancer. This endeared me to Nate and his family even more. I spoke of my mother’s cancer and my time visiting the hospital in Detroit because of it.
It was a wonderful find. I walked away with a small Anna Muccioli drawing of the Ren Cen, and a sweet family story to share with others.
Copyright 2013 Q LTD. All Rights Reserved.