Just added! Eugenio’s geometric tiles

I do hope we are not getting boring, despite our third post in a row about Italian tiles. The truth is that we never seem to get enough of them and the enthusiasm of our Customers about their unique interior design projects is so contagious!

So we have convinced Eugenio Ricciarelli, a dear friend and the very first pottery maker we added to our Italian pottery website,  to paint for us a small collection of tiles, richly decorated, colorful and vibrant with energy.

Eugenio Ricciarelli - hand painted Italian tiles

We have imagined them on a tabletop, inlaid into wood or wrought iron, on the floor as an inlaid tile rug, on a backsplash mixed with solid tiles, as a wall panel over a bath tub … endless decorating solutions for one of most genuine products of Italian arts and crafts.

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Italian tiles to love

Francesca Niccacci is an Italian ceramic painter from Deruta, winner of International prizes.

She is a great interpreter of historical and mythological scenes, featured in Museums and Churches around the world. Yet she loves the geometric designs that are so much “Deruta”. Francesca plays with them, taking them to a personal next step and applying them to wall plates and tiles.

We particularly like her tiles, so intricate and rich. She paints them in different designs and patterns, that are often a great inspiration for interior designers to create unique backsplashes or tiled surfaces.

By Tiziana ManzettiHand Painted Italian Tile 04 by Francesca Niccacci

 

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Collecting Italian majolica floor tiles

stanza-al-genio-6This story is about love and dedication, about beauty and craftsmanship, about history and heritage.

Pio Mellina is a man who turned his passion for antique Italian tiles into a dream and a few years ago the dream came true. He has created “Le Stanze al Genio”, a Museum in Palermo where visitors can explore his huge collection and marvel at the variety of designs, styles and colors. A display of Italic creative genius! Pio has been collecting antique Italian tiles since he was a child. Instead of joining his friend for a soccer match, he searched the little street markets in the old city. Tiles were cheap, as people did not know what to do with them. Sometimes they were just the waste of the renovation of old houses. Pio purchased them and stored them in his parent’s basement.

When the basement was packed with tiles and Pio could no longer locate what he was looking for, he started to organize them and to collect information as well. His studies changed his collecting habits: he learnt to appraise the tiles he found and purchased some very rare pieces. Pio’s wish to have a place of his own where the tiles could be displayed and appreciated by anyone grew over time, just like his collection. In 1998 he bought a flat in an ancient downtown building. He started the renovation with a twofold purpose: it had to be his home as well as the place where all his tiles could be beautifully displayed. In 2008 Pio Mellina’s house and museum was ready and opened to the public. Continue reading

100+ Deruta ceramic statuettes

We are not huge fans of statuettes, but the exhibition that is now on in Deruta ceramic museum is really very special. It’s about a collection of 100+ small ceramic sculptures made in Deruta between 1930 and 1950 for Perugina, THE Italian chocolate factory. Bacio PeruginaThey were sold in special packs with chocolates, Easter eggs (our Easter eggs are pretty big) and the timeless  Baci – don’t tell us you know nothing about Baci …
This donkey statuette was our favorite!

By Tiziana Manzetti

Deruta ceramic donkey statuette

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My visit to the Five Lands with an eye on ceramics

The tradition of pottery making is very strong in Liguria, dating back to the Middle Ages and evolved into Modern Art in the last century.
Albissola is probably the most popular city in this respect, but definitely not the only one. Everywhere you go, you can find the sign of people’s love for this art. Here you can see the statues decorating the front of the Oratorio di Sant’Andrea in Monterosso, a tiny church on the beach that would go unnoticed if it were not for these unique and precious ceramic works.
The key events in the life of the Saint Andrew and Saint Dominic are narrated by ceramic tiles that are combined to form a statue of the Saints. A lovely spot in an otherwise very “touristy” place.
By Tiziana Manzetti

Saint Dominic ceramic statue. Oratorio Sant'Adrea in Monterosso, Five LandsSaint Andrew ceramic statue. Oratorio Sant'Adrea in Monterosso, Five Lands

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Candle holders all around!

Candle holders and candlesticks are the perfect accessory to create the right atmosphere in your home. They add style to your decoration, offer the perfect light for your family parties, create coziness in an instant and their flickering light is just magic in your Summer evenings outdoor.
We love handmade ceramic candle holders, with their strong personality and authentic artistry!

By Tiziana Manzetti

ND Dolfi candle holder Continue reading

Have you ever heard of the pumi?

Ceramic pumi from GrottaglieA pumo is popular symbol of good luck in Grottaglie and more in general in the region of Puglia. Every family celebration and important event is sanctified by the gift of a ceramic pumo, rigorously handmade.

Its name, from the local dialect “Pumo de’ fiure”, means flower bud and it derives from the Latin “pomum” from Pomona, thefrom Pomona, the Roman Goddess of fruitful abundance. The bud is round, with a slightly pointed end, and it rests on acanthus leaves, symbols of immortality or, if you will, resurrection.

As you can see the references to good luck are endless, explaining the popularity of the pumi: there is always a good reason to purchase a pumo or give it as a gift to wish someone a good start in a new activity. Typically, a new family will not move its first steps in the community without its brand new pumi, installed at every corner of every balcony of the new nest.

Wandering in the steep streets of Grottaglie and the neighboring villages, you’ll find yourself unable to keep your eyes at ground level: the show is on the first and second floors, where the whitish buildings boast their beautiful balconies with colorful pumi’s on each corner. You will see majestic palaces, once owned by noble families, decorated with elaborate pumi, modest houses taking pride on their simple ceramic buds, each having found its distinctive symbol of prosperity, fertility and abundance.

Pumi are made by hand by Grottaglie potters in a large variety of styles and sizes: you’ll find simple, solid colored traditional pumi as well as colorful, fancy ones. Follow your taste and bring one home, they are beautiful interior decoration accents, indoor and outdoor and … we all need good luck, don’t we?
By Tiziana Manzetti

Ceramic pumi from Grottaglie Continue reading

How is sgraffito pottery made?

Sgraffito, in English “to scratch”, is a pottery decorating technique first used in Egypt and the Middle East in the 7th century to have pottery look like precious metals. Around the 10th century it crossed the Mediterranean, influencing Italian and Spanish potters.

Sgraffito pottery: Francesco Fasano at work

A layer of colored liquid clay, called engobe, is applied on a leather hard pottery piece. When dry the potter decorates the piece, scratching the superficial layer to form a design and revealing the clay color underneath. At this point the piece can be kiln fired for the first time and, if necessary, colored glazes can be applied before a second firing.

In the picture we see Francesco Fasano at work in his studio. Thanks for the picture, Francesco.

By Tiziana Manzetti

 

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Introducing the Italian ceramics by Francesco Fasano

Fasano centerpiece bowlIn a city like Grottaglie, where pottery making is one of the main resources, Francesco Fasano’s ceramics stand out for their unusual designs, sophisticated elegance and technical superiority.

Francesco’s ancestors established in Grottaglie in the 17th century and his family has been in the ceramic business for generations. He grew up in his father’s Cosimo ceramic studio and the passion for pottery was enhanced by his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, where he learnt to use different methods and was very much influenced by the patterns and decorative motifs of the Eastern cultures.

As a matter of fact Francesco’s pottery and dinnerware are a harmonious blend of styles, so unique that his pieces cannot be mistaken for anybody else’s. His favorite production method is  known as “sgraffito” – in English “scratched”.  He applies a layer of engobe or liquid clay on a leather hard pottery piece. When dry he  scratches the layer to form a design and reveal the clay color underneath. After the first kiln firing he applies glassy, intensely colored glazes, one by one, firing the pottery up to 3 times.

The result is just amazing: a real treat for Italian pottery lovers.
By Tiziana Manzetti

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