How to Decorate with Handmade Italian Wall Plates

Wall plates are back big time!
A popular staple on the Italian dining and living room walls in the 50s and 60s, they disappeared for a few decades, only to return in curated compositions of deftly mixed colors and textures.

Geometric Wall Plate by D&G Design handmade in Deruta, Italy
Geometric Wall Plate by D&G Design handmade in Deruta, Italy

Decorating with wall plates is exciting in so many ways.
And, if you love Italian ceramics, there are so many colorful, artisan-made wall plates to choose from.

The first step is creating a collection of Italian wall plates for your display.

If you start from scratch, you should define a theme before you start searching. It can be a color scheme, a particular style or a period in time if you decide to go vintage.

Geometric Wall Plate by Francesca Niccacci handmade in Deruta, Italy
Geometric Wall Plate by Francesca Niccacci handmade in Deruta, Italy

Once the treasure hunt is finished – is it ever? – the fun of figuring out how and where to display your collection begins. You can really go wild!

Any room in the house will do, starting from the bathroom. A display of wall plates will add a charming, eclectic touch to the bathroom wall, where traditional artworks struggle to stand up to humidity or steam.
Using creative combinations of colors and sizes, you will be able to add character and dimension to odd walls, too vertical, too narrow or just too dark for conventional art pieces.

No display rule should limit your creativity: you can place your wall plates in line, use decorative wrought iron supports, wooden racks, or just cluster them together in a fun hodgepodge.

Geometric Wall Plate by ND Dolfi handmade in Montelupo Fiorentino, Italy
Geometric Wall Plate by ND Dolfi handmade in Montelupo Fiorentino, Italy

A quick guide to handmade Italian Dinnerware

Italian dinnerware set - Raffaellesco by Fima (Deruta)Choosing a dinnerware set is no easy matter. Hundreds of different brands, designs, materials to choose from… and such a large amount of money involved in the purchase that a mistake would be much regretted.

Well, I cannot help you to make your choice. However, if you decide to stand out from the crowd and go for something really different and unique such as handmade Italian dinnerware, you’ll find some good pieces of information here.

What is Italian Dinnerware usually made of?
Italian dinnerware sets are usually made of ceramic, a word derived from the Greek word keramos, meaning “clay”. Commonly used, ceramic is a most general term, which can be applied both to porcelain and pottery.
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Buongiorno Ceramica!

The organizers of Buongiorno Ceramica have taken the festival of traditional Italian pottery online.

The festival will be free and broadcast on the Association’s Youtube channel from 16 to 17 May due to lockdown restrictions.

The AiCC, Italian Ceramic Cities Association, includes 46 cities with a “tradition in artistic pottery making”. The artisans of each city will contribute videos and pictures showing us the secret life of Italian craftsmanship. The material will form an ideal tour of our centers of excellence.

The workshops have just reopened after two months of lockdown. It is the best time ever to celebrate the creativity, talents, and inspiration of our craftsmen and artists!

Re-opening the workshops of Italian potters

Italian ceramics from the British Museum

I went back to the British Museum just a few days before it closed due to the epidemics.

It was not as busy as it used to be before the virus changed the limits of personal space. This was not unpleasant, though.

I could take it slowly and enjoy my favorite pieces of Italian pottery, time-traveling back to the Renaissance.

The collection of Italian ceramics hosted by the British Museum is of the utmost importance: most of the pieces date back to the golden age of Italian majolica, the 16th and 17th century, and they come from different regions, offering a rare perspective on the differences in pictorial styles, shapes, and glazes.

I did not take pictures, but I’m copying below a blog post from 2015, with some highlights from the collection.


…. November 2015

A few pictures from my last visit to the British Museum, where a significant collection of Italian ceramics is hosted.

The display is quite unattractive and, in my opinion, not very well organized, but the quality of the pieces is really good and definitely worth a visit.

I took some pictures with my phone – not good quality, but enough to whet your appetite.

Two plates or bowls made in Deruta by Nicola di Pietro Francioli in 1515-1530 2015-10-28 16.19.11-1

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What are the most popular Italian dinnerware patterns?

What are the most popular Italian dinnerware patterns?

Ask the question to a hundred Italians and you’ll get a hundred different answers. We have so many regional designs, all deservedly popular thanks to their beauty and their century-old heritage.

However, I do wish to try and answer this question, without claiming that this is an exhaustive list of all the best Italian dinnerware patterns, of course. It’s just a brief guide to help you choose.

1 – Classic Italian dinnerware patterns

Three designs stand out here: Raffaellesco, Ricco Deruta and Arabesco.

They all originated in Deruta between the 15th and the 17th century. Their classic beauty makes them versatile dinnerware sets, whose exquisite elegance and subtle refinement are never commonplace. Here is a short description.

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The three-legged symbol of Sicily: Trinacria

Trinacria - three legged symbol of SicilyThe Trinacria, also known as Triskelion, is the familiar three-legged symbol of Sicily, Italy’s unique little nugget.

If you visit the island you will be sure to see a Trinacris, symbol of Sicily, everywhere and if you wish to take one of them home you’ll have a large choice, from sophisticated ceramic Trinacria plaques to inexpensive fridge magnets. Of course, we do hope that you’ll go for one of the stunning Sicilian pottery pieces that are handmade for you by local artisans.

Anyway, regardless of your choice, you may want to impress your travel companions and learn something about the origins of the Trinacria or Triskelion and some fascinating stories surrounding the birth of Sicily and its three-legged symbol.

Allow me the pleasure to start from what I like best: the stories.
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The difference between Pottery, Ceramics and Majolica, with special regard to Italian Ceramics

Italian ceramics, or I should say Italian pottery, have been in my life for quite a long time: I collect them, I read about them, I sell them.Sicilian Head Planter Vase by Ceramiche Sofia, a most skilled pottery maker from Caltagirone

In Italian, when I say ceramica, everybody understands what I mean. On the contrary, when I talk with one of my American Customers, I’m always uncertain: should I say Italian Pottery, Italian Ceramics or Italian Majolica?

In order to do away with any doubt, I did some research. I did learn quite a lot on the subject and I would love to share my findings with you.

Let’s start with technicalities.

Here is a short review of the definition of the words Ceramics, Pottery and Majolica.

Once we know exactly what we are talking about, we will define what they really mean to people.

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Paola Grizi Art Ceramics

Paola Grizi clay sculptures explore the human soul through the visual imagery of a woman’s face. An ageless face, able to capture and return, enhanced, the deep meanings behind fundamental relations, such as mother and child, culture and individuals, men and nature.

Stories are an important topic in Paola’s art, as well. Book pages filled with minuscule characters become alive under the viewers’ eyes. A hand, a nose, her iconic face appear to shatter the mystery in the narration and question its truths or maybe add to them.
Or, as in one of her clay sculptures, pages make their way out of the head of the woman. Dreams, memories, thoughts that impose their own meaning to reality

Born in Rome, Paola’s started modeling as a young girl in the studio of her grandfather, a well know Italian painter and sculptor. She graduated in Literature, but soon after Uni she followed her passion for sculpture, gaining for herself an International reputation. Recently, she has begun casting her works in bronze.

Looking Ahead - 2016 - Private collection USA

Paola Grizi: Looking Ahead, 2016. Private collection USA Credits: Paola Grizi

Paola Grizi: The secret, 2014. China

Paola Grizi: The secret, 2014. Changchun Museum, China Credits: Paola Grizi

Paola Grizi: The revelation. Private collection Italy Credits: Paola Grizi

Paola Grizi: Thoughts, 2015. Changchun Museum, China Credits: Paola Grizi

Paola Grizi: In the wind, 2017. Credits: Paola Grizi

By Tiziana Manzetti

Art Deco Pottery, the Taste of an Epoch

Faenza
Feb. 18th – Oct 1st 2017

The Art Deco style developed internationally between the 1920s and 1930s, dominating the architecture and the decorative arts.
It was an eclectic, rich and opulent style, glamorous but at the same time elegant and above all ‘modern’. No wonder then that Art Deco was particularly favored by the modern middle class and lent its esthetical features to new theatres, ocean liners, railway stations, cinema interiors and private houses.

Just like Art Nouveau and Futurism, Art Deco influenced Italian interior and industrial design, fashion design, the graphic arts and, last but not least, Italian pottery, impacting both shapes, materials and decoration. It placed the myth of the machine at its center, replacing symmetries with geometries, and finally making the way for the industrial production.

Francesco Nonni ceramic figurine - Italy

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