Riccardo Monte’s Lockdown in Piedmont

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Where did you spend lockdown and who with?

I spent lockdown in Ornavasso, Piedmont, Italy with my girlfriend, Katie, our two-year old son, my mother and Lupa, our border collie!

What did you work on?

I wanted to make something with my hands, something related to our home and to our relationship with it. One day, I was admiring the log-burning pile, nicely stacked on the south face of our home, and from one of the pieces of wood I started to create a simple shape of a house. But it did not work: the shape was not right. Then walking into my garage (arranged as a temporary workshop during lockdown), I realised I had lots of timber off-cuts from the stools I make. They were the perfect shape ready for metamorphosis. I started to shape them with my Japanese handsaw. It was the process of sawing by hand that I loved . . . a good workout . . . and from that The Nest project was born. I created one Nest a day, one for each day of quarantine.

Was the work you did planned – or did you allow your creativity to roam free?

No plans. It was very unexpected, but perhaps it was a project growing unconsciously in me, just waiting the right moment to be born and express itself.

What kind of resolutions did you make during lockdown?

To keep carrying on with a simple life.

How do you feel now as life returns to ‘normal’?

I felt more normal during the lockdown than now: a simple life, good ideas and time with my family.

Are you optimistic or fearful about the future?

I try always to look on the bright side, even if is not easy. Katie is very good at that and I hope to learn this from her.

What sights, smells and sounds will you associate with lockdown?

The smell of grapes (growing in our garden) and the sound of wine being poured into my glass. Also, the beautiful smell and sound of hand-sawn, cut timber in my old garage: oak, cedar, cypress, spruce, beech and chestnut too. I do still carry those moments in my mind, working with the spring sunshine, quiet all around me, my little street in the historical centre of my little town, surrounded by lovely mountains, forests and solid stone houses.

What would be your advice to yourself if we go into future lockdowns?

Do not make any plans: the situation will give us the opportunity to think and meditate about our future.


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Riccardo Monte making Nests