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1957 - 1966

Carla separated from her first husband and then divorced him in 1957. After which, she returned to Italy and destroyed nearly all of her earlier work. She began to spend time in Paris, where she frequented French artist's exhibits. She also studied the weaving methods of Gobelin and Aubusson, and started working in clay, poly-chromed terracotta, wood and wax. During that time, she continued working with potter Annicchiarico, which included doing some ceramic works. She worked in the foundries in Rome and learned how to use the lost-wax process. Traveling to Venice to work in glass, Carla began combining ceramics and glass. After developing a stained window technique, she starts making small windows and glass objects. She then sets up a studio at 54 Via Margutta in Rome.

She was not politically involved, though she was socially conscious. Especially when it came to caring about children. She entered a competition for a public sculpture at FAO, and presented her first wood carving, "I, Poverelli," unrealized. She had the first solo exhibition of her figurative sculptures, in poly-chromed terracotta and bronze, in 1965 at Palazzo Cerio in Capri. It was sponsored by the Ente del Turismo, and was followed by her first solo exhibition at Carpine, Rome. She then has exhibits in Milan (silver sculptures, with semi-precious stones) and Spoleto, where she met Mirko and Cidonio. A documentary film is made about Carla by Incom Newsreel, which is shown daily in theaters throughout Italy. During this period she becomes mainly a portraitist; working from life and photographs. Making portrait busts to support herself, she showed them successfully. Though the veridical portrait held no interest for her, she enjoyed doing busts of children. Images of children and dancers constituted a major body of work during this period.

She began working directly in wax, getting interested in public spaces and produced some geometrical constructed sculptures. She makes sheet metal abstractions, then exhibits them in her first solo show, in New York, in 1966. Birds and bronze weldings, from paper cut-outs, are the last works of her figurative period. Then she did a series of multi-part floor sculptures in bronze and marble. She creates stainless steel and bronze models for public projects, all unrealized. The work on her first fountain, “The Rainbow,” which combines stainless steel, light, water and perspex, occurred between 1963-1965. During this time, she also makes wine labels for Italian wineries. It is also when she does her first figurative weaving from early still-life painting.

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