Gröden is the heart of the southern Tyrol, the holiday valley of the Dolomites.
Woodcarving was practiced in the valley as early as the Middle Ages. The early carvings were utilitarian, but in time became a highly skilled art form and sacred art became a prominent subject matter.
The Rifferser family has been one of the leaders in producing wood carvings since the 19th Century. ANRI – an acronym for Anton RIffeser- was founded in 1912, with the purpose/goal of creating carvings of the highest quality possible that could be duplicated and shipped around the world. Each figure is a testimony to the skills and passion for wood of the men and women at ANRI.
ANRI- A Passion for Details
Famous artists and modelers from around the world have created unique designs that the skilled workers at ANRI transform into beautifully detailed wood carved figures.
Each figure passes through 16 different stages of carving and painting and four quality control areas before receiving the ANRI seal. The seal is ANRI’s certificate of guarantee of wood carving at the highest level.
ANRI’s exclusive designs are collected by connoisseurs all over the world.
The artist’s studio
On an average, it takes about three months to create an ANRI figure.
The process begins with the purchase of 80 year old maple trees from plantations in France. Only the best and healthiest trees are selected and only about 20% of these meet the ANRI standards. These logs are air dried for up to 3 years and then cut into blocks which are kiln dried to reduce moisture to 10%. It is from this stock that the wood is sized for figures and placed in storage.
Artists create original prototypes from the designs that are selected to become ANRI figures. From these prototypes special models are prepared so that each figure can be accurately duplicated. As this process is taking place, blocks of wood are roughly shaped to meet the requirements of that particular figure. Then the special model is worked by hand to duplicate its form.
From that stage the figure is inspected and if approved goes into the hand finishing sculpture studio where details are completed.
After each figure goes through a process of sealing the wood, it travels to the hand painting studio. Here the painters carefully detail each figure with transparent oil paints so that the wood grain remains visible.
After drying, each figure is again inspected and the ANRI seal is applied, then it goes to the storage where it is carefully wrapped in ANRI logo tissue and put into a box that is properly labeled and eventually starts its journey to collectors in every corner of the globe.