Who knew, Francesco Messeri is the Florentine master of stop-action animation, and he has been for at least a generation. Messeri's Mio Mao is a series of short adventures of a pair of claymation kittens. Quaq Quao is a 26-episode series of the adventures of an origami duck. Both series first aired on Italian television in the early 1980's. There is also The Red and The Blue, about two clay creatures, and AEIOU, set in an animated sandbox.
If there's a common thread in Messeri's work, it's the exploration of materials and their transformative properties. The episodes I've seen so far on YouTube are really quite wonderful.
Which only underscores the fact that most of Messeri's work isn't available for viewing at the moment. Mio & Mao airs on BabyFirst TV, the subscription toddler TV network available to Dish and DirecTV users. And Quaq Quao DVD's show up in impenetrable Eastern European online stores. But that's about it.
Francesco Messeri Studio site, seems like barely a y2k afterthought [tiscali.it/30miomao]
Search YouTube for Mio & Mao, Quaq Quao, and The Red and The Blue episodes [youtube, thanks to DT reader Darren for the tip]
Here's a short roundup of Messeri clip links [robinmurray]