Twenty-one Lagerstroemia saplings, adorned with lavender bushes, which find support by leaning on... giant pencils.
It is not the beginning of a fairy tale by the Grimm brothers but the delicate beauty of the (permanent) artistic installation that refines the avenue of Passerano Marmorito thanks to the mastery of Laura Tortia, material creator of the work.
The idea was born during the period of the coronavirus lockdown by Davide Massaglia, mayor of Passerano Marmorito and councilor of the Provincia di Asti: "Since the plants of the driveway to the capital were now old - explains Laura Tortia - the mayor thought to clean up both sides of the main street and to plant the new plants, twenty-one in all, one for each child born during his first term ".
Why was the idea of giant pencils?
The artist explains it again: "After placing the tallest plants and the lavender bushes, the need arose to keep the fluctuations of the first ones at bay, so we had to think about installing a stake for each plant. Since in 2017, behind my house, I made and planted three giant pencils in a meadow, with the function of supporting the banners relating to the activities of the Pro Loco (replacing three old poles now all rotten), one day the Mayor phoned me and asked me how I had realized those pencils. I answered him: "Why, do you need them?" And he: "Yes, I need 21".
Having listened to the request, Mrs. Tortia immediately started thinking about colors.
"I first drew up a project on a mental level, then I put it back on paper and in the end I realized it physically. Now, going up towards the capital, on the right, there are the 12 colored pencils with the colors of the rainbow while, at left, there are 9 rubber pads that I made in shades of blue, from the darkest to light blue, interspersed with other rubber pads with different decorations and colors. Why blue? Because the house next to the road, in left, it has all the white and blue awnings and from there the inspiration was born, from the color of the curtains in the house of one of our former mayors ".
The work was further embellished with a score: "Since I don't like the shades of red very much - concludes Tortia - I replaced the red pencil with the one made with the scores of children's songs or in any case very cheerful. Why the scores? A dear girl who lives here in Borgata Boscorotondo, Virginia Luca, (very good violist of the Trio Quodlibet) proposed me some old scores as paper to write in draft ... and there the idea was taken ... the idea of making a pencil with the decoupage technique that would have replaced the red one. In short, between one idea and the other, by coloring and recoloring with three coats of paint all the stakes made available by the Municipality (including the colors), the last month of lockdown has passed. I enjoyed it, sometimes even angry because the effect was not exactly what I wanted, but I managed it also thanks to the help of my husband Emilio Medesani. The realization of this project was a great help not to think about a sad period for everyone, it distracted me from fears and bad thoughts that could arise from the crisis that was created due to the coronavirus. Nothing more beautiful could have happened to me".