John Synco visited Saverio Pastor's workshop a few years back and sent me some of his photos.
Apparently, John originally shot these on real film and then shot these on digital - giving them an amazingly warm quality that I have dubbed the "70's National Geographic" style.
Here, you can see a traditional forcola da poppa for a mascareta, with it's two morsos. The proprietary pattern is still on the piece, allowing the remer to follow his design, and produce pieces that are similar, and consistently up to his standards in form and function.
Saverio Pastor is a "remer" - that's a person who makes their living carving the oars and forcolas for gondolas and other traditional Venetian boats.
Saverio got his start as an apprentice under the famous Giuseppe Carli. Some call him "the last of the finest" while others (most of whom are American) have referred to him as "the Babe Ruth of remers".
Carli took on Saverio in 1975, taught him the trade, and then in 1980, Saverio set up shop for himself, quickly supplanted in Carli's shop by Paolo Brandolisio.
Saverio Pastor's shop is currently in Dorsoduro although for many years he operated in Castello, having founded a group called "Spazio Legno" near the Arsenale with a number of other craftsmen who made their living working with wood.
The forcola da poppa for gondola (in the vise) is dwarfed by an unusual three-morso forcola similar to those on the sterns of caorlinas.
I dropped in on Saverio in 2006 and was well-received. Saverio is truly one of the most well-known and highly respected people right now in the world of gondolas and Venetian rowing.
A visit to his shop is typically educational and quite memorable.
Like his contemporaries, Paolo Brandolisio and Franco Furlanetto, I will have plenty more to say about Maestro Saverio in future posts.
In the Mean time, you can visit his site and learn more about forcolas at: