Over the course of more than two decades, I have had the opportunity to meet and come into contact with many whipmakers and performers from all over the world.
With some of them a special bond of affinity, sympathy and mutual esteem has been established that has transformed our relationship to a deeper level.
I may or may not have the opportunity and privilege to meet them, but I will always consider them faithful companions on this long journey.
I would therefore like to thank the following friends and champions for taking part in this project with their testimonials full of wonderful words and expressions of esteem.
Below you will find some testimonials, for which I will always be grateful, from my book “Notes of an Italian Whipmaker”. These reviews come from world-renowned performers linked to the world of whipcracking such as Anthony De Logis, Robert Dante and Robert Amper, and whipmaking including Rachel McCollough, and Tony Nugent.
Attestations from esteemed professionals and friends with whom I had the pleasure and honor to collaborate by appreciating and using my whips.
Making my whips for them.
Thank you Friends, Giovanni Celeste
ANTHONY De LONGIS
Giovanni Celeste is an extraordinary Whipmaker, an master craftsman and an exciting and imaginative innovator and artist. Every style of whip his skilled hands and fertile imagination creates is a durable work of
functional art, assembled with care, love, passion and great precision.
I was honored when Giovanni asked me to write a review for his new book on the art and craft of whip construction.
He surprised me with a new term calling me, a ‘professionist’, I return the compliment, Giovanni you are a consummate professional and perfectionist with an artistry all your own.
Partnering with a master whip maker like Giovanni Celeste provides the superior quality and seamless flow of energy in a whip that is essential to my work performing and creating exciting whip action in the films, television, theater, opera and live arena shows both on foot and often from the back of a galloping horse. Giovanni understands the essential partnership / alliance conversation between performer and whip intimately and it shows in every whip he crafts.
Giovanni has spent many years studying the history of whip making and the methods of other outstanding whip-makers.
He honors and appreciates these traditions and his ever-growing knowledge and experience has led him to search for ways to improve both the process, to forge his own path to superior whip design and construction.
He is an Innovator and I feel a special kinship for this attitude, I also flew in the face of ‘tradition’ and to create my signature “De Longis Rolling Loop” Method of whip artistry that utilizes structure and alignment to produce explosive energy with a minimum of effort. When you love something, you make it truly your own so it becomes an extension of your heart, personality, integrity and soul.
Giovanni’s website is full of wonderful choices and personal interpretation and reimaging of many classic whip designs one in particular was truly unique.
The Spiral Handle whip is Giovanni’s personal creation and of course, it’s gorgeous.
I’m looking forward to many years of performance excellence both on the ground and from horseback with this beautiful whip.
Anthony De Longis
American Maestro D’Armi, Actor
Anthony De Longis created and performed memorable roles, whip and weapons action in 13 countries on 5 continents.
He’s known for his skill and knowledge with bladed weapons arts from around the world, always building his action from combative truth to tell a more dynamic action story.
De Longis introduced the unique style of Spanish rapier fighting to the screen in HIGHLANDER: the SERIES “DUENDE.”
He created his signature “De Longis Rolling Loop” system, a more efficient, effective, accurate and visual style of whip artistry for Michelle Pfeiffer’s “CATWOMAN” and Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones CRYSTAL SKULL to name a few.
DPACA (De Longis Performance & Combat Arts) training at Rancho Indalo (www.delongis.com/indalo) his one-stop multi-skills training facility for international clients.
Disciplines include whips, swords, weapons on horseback, on-site live fire gun range, archery, knife and hawk throwing, world class riding opportunities, fine dining and spa. Visit his website www.delongis.com/PalpableHit/
to purchase his instructional DVDs
Anthony’s philosophy, “Never stop learning. You can only wing it, if you have the skills to fly.”
You, dear reader, are fortunate, whether you are a whip maker, a whip cracker, a general student of artistic excellence across the ages, or just a fan of Indiana Jones movies or “Lash” LaRue TV reruns.
Let me back up a little.
Years ago, I attended a knife exhibit, where I touched a 16th Century samurai sword, and for an electrical instant, it felt like a living, breathing creature under me.
As a bullwhip expert and four-time Guinness World Record holder, I have traveled the globe for three decades, performing professionally, demonstrating and teaching the magic of whip cracking as a hobby, an athletic sport, and a performing art.
Consequently, I’ve held thousands of whips made by hundreds of different whip makers. No two whips were ever exactly alike.
But – a few whips flowed like pristine water and absolutely sang in my hand. Not many, but the best.
Giovanni Celeste’s bullwhips were among these, embodying a rare blend of power and grace.
When I corresponded with him, I found an artisan who intimately understands his material, as well as a photographer skilled enough to capture the essential experience of a whip’s creation. And now, we find he is a writer who combines this all into a single book.
This is the equivalence of finding a manual on violin making hand-written by Nicola Amati.
A good how-to book is a door into a richer experience beyond its pages, one that can last a lifetime. So far, I’ve recommended whip-making books by Ron Edwards and David Morgan.
I can now add Giovanni Celeste to this group.
Author of “Let’s Get Cracking: The How-To Book of Bullwhip Skills” (www.bullwhip.net), and editor of The Bullwhip Index of Whip Makers and Performers (www.bullwhip.info).
Robert Dante is an American whipcracker performer, an internationally recognised expert in the use of the whip who has presented shows, workshops and demonstrations in the United States, Canada, Italy and England.
Holder of the world record for four consecutive one-minute cracks (254 cracks / minute), he has earned countless awards and honors from the highest representatives of the industry, participating in numerous TV shows, radio programs from Texas to Australia.
His website https://www.rdante.com
contains invaluable information on both whipcracking and whipmaking offering an extensive list of all performers and whipmakers.
He is currently working on the second edition of Let’s get Cracking a manual dedicated to whipcracking.
What is high art? It is not something everyone can do.
High art requires knowledge, experience – and passion.
Just as power is useless without control or purpose, so art is nothing without passion – the artist’s love for what he or she is doing.
This is true whatever art-form one considers: creating beautiful paintings, performing a Japanese tea ceremony, sculpting figurines or making music that lifts the spirits of the audience.
Whip-making is one of these high art forms, when somebody says: “Making a whip is no more than cutting strands of leather and wrapping them around each other,” it’s like saying that painting a picture is no more than putting colors onto canvas. Whip-making is a very old form of art, a good whip-maker has to know his materials, has to both know and feel what it takes to make a good whip.
It’s not just about putting together different materials, there is a huge difference between something that merely makes a loud crack and a good whip.
A well-made whip takes a lot of work, a lot of time – and again, passion: a real love for the art.
In whip-making, there are traditions – and only true and honest whip-makers honor these traditions.
A true whip maker will never use things like electrical tape in a whip. A true whip-maker uses leather, plaiting soap and sinew. This is a matter of honor, a question of integrity, an expression of respect for the craft.
So yes, whip making is high art.
Over the years, I have met a lot of whip-makers – both people who call themselves whip-makers, and true whip makers.
Whip-making is often used as a way to make fast money by those who fail to respect tradition. On the outside, there are good materials. But on the inside – which you will usually never see – there is poor leather and electrical tape. Plastic! This is not tradition. This is fraud.
There are only a few whip makers who make a real impression on me – who are real masters of their craft. I’m not talking about those who call themselves “Master”. A true Master is only called “Master” by others. A real Master never claims that honor for himself.
Giovanni Celeste has never called himself a Master – but I call him that he is one of the few who honor the great traditions of whip-making.
He is driven by the constant desire to create unique pieces – whips made with knowledge, understanding, patience – and love. I have had the honor of cracking his whips, and not one of them – not a single one! – was less than perfect.
Giovanni is a gentleman, a man of character and tradition his work reflects this.
Every whip that comes from his hand stands in the line of a long tradition, he is one of the few whip-makers who know everything about the materials, about what is good and what is not. He is one of those few whip-makers who put their pride, passion and personality into every single whip.
I am greatly honored that Giovanni has asked me to write this Foreword, I am not a master, I am a humble teacher.
I teach the basics – not more; but I know a lot about whips. I can soon tell if a whip is well made, or if it is cheap nonsense. I can recognize a Master when I see him or her.
And Giovanni is one of those Masters.
Robert “Robby” Amper
Munich, Germany, Feb. 2021
Robert Amper is an actor and director.
He is the creator and instructor of the 4 DVDs “Whip Basics A Beginners Guide”.
A complete video collection about the whipcracking: from basic cracks to the most advanced and complex ones. He is also the founder and owner of Whip Basics, the authoritative and famous forum entirely dedicated to the world of the whips and whipmaking. http://www.whip-basics.com/
The WB forum containing many and precious sections dedicated to the various whips style, tutorials about the construction and maintenance and use of the whip.
Creator and promoter of the Ring of Trust, an association that brings together some world-renowned whipmakers, certifying the reliability, the integrity of the whip and the whipmaker.
Robert Amper’s reviews are not cold and academic inspections, but are made with the mind and the heart. Like the greatest sommeliers, in Robert Amper the scientific, sensorial and emotional spheres meet together giving life to a professional, accurate and truthful judgment.
His personal approach led me to define him as the Sommelier of whips, coining for him as neologism the Whipmelier.
Giovanni Celeste is a man with an unstoppable passion and the vision of an artist.
Giovanni started his journey some 22 years ago in a country where whip making had not yet found its roots, self-taught and tackling many hurdles and obstacles.
From the availability of litterateur and the lack of information in his mother tongue Italian, he carved out a niche for himself and a unique culture.
This book is an embodiment of his experience where the beauty, aesthetics and origins are revealed.
To sum it up “anything truely worth it doesn’t come easy “
Tony Nugent is a really all-round artist.
A great professional Australian whipmaker with more than 40 years of experience in his hands selling artistic and finely plaited whips to collectors in Australia, South Africa, Japan, US and beyond.
He’s as well a skilled painter experienced in visual artist & designer. His genes are soaked in whips, art and tradition.
Born into a family with a strong circus vocation: his uncle Merv King was a great lion tamer and his grandfather a stockman. More than forty years ago he first disassembled old stockwhips, so he could understand how they were put together.
In 1985 he became a founding member of the Australian Plaiters & Whipmakers Association started by the late Ron Edwards.
Tony Nugent is now one of the most respected whipmakers in the world, mentored by whipmakers Victor Mcleary and Ron Ormond.
Some of his work appears in Ron Edwards’ book ‘How to Make Whip’, a bible for us modern whipmakers.
Tony Nugent was also whipmaker for Ben Hughes five times Australian champion and world champion of whipcracking, his whips have a clean and precise design that testifies to a consolidated experience and a strong attention and care for details.
RACHEL Mc COLLOUGH
Giovanni Celeste is the foremost whipmaker and master of his craft in Europe.
With the dedication to raising the perfection of his skills with each whip he makes, Gio shows us all the true passion of the artist.
Gio approaches his work with the reverence of one who is completely dedicated to precise improvement of each cut in the leather.
From the perfectly comfortable and precisely shaped heel knot (my very favorite part, as Gio makes the most comfortable and yet elegant in appearance!) to the sleek flow of the whip straight to the point of the fall hitch, Gio builds a whip with a knowledge and life in it.
This passion can be seen in the elegant balance of the whole whip.
No one is more qualified to show the passion, love for the craft, and dedication to excellence in practice than Giovanni Celeste. My dear friend, I am so pleased and happy for you and the beauty of your work.
Rachel McCollough as well as being a paramedic, a wife and a mother despite his young artistic age is already a skilled and experienced whipmaker in southern Mississippi specializing in the production of beautiful whips in paracord.
The productions of Rachel McCollough range from bullwhip to stock whip, cow whip and snake whip.
All her whips show a concrete experience and artistic maturity found externally in the many patterns of plaiting conjugated together and are embellished with beautiful wooden handles turned entirely by hand.