The choice of beautiful pottery in Grottaglie is vast. Still, Francesco Fasano's ceramics are really like no others.
Francesco's designs are a harmonious blend of Western and Eastern culture, and his technical execution is so accurate and meticulous that his work is truly unique.
This artist belongs to a dynasty of potters who settled in Grottaglie in the 17th century. He grew up in his father's Cosimo ceramic studio and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. After his degree, he decided to stay in Florence to work in the local ceramic companies. When he felt he had learned enough, he went back to Grottaglie to shape his ideas. Literally.
Inspired by the sgraffito ceramic technique (Sgraffito means "to scratch"), Francesco has revisited it over time and enhanced its decorative impact with the addition of precious transparent glazes in rich colors.
He "scratches" every piece with a tiny pointed tool and then kiln fires it. After the first firing, he applies the glazes in two or three steps, with two or more passages in the kiln. In fact, most of Francesco Fasano's pottery, including his dinnerware, is fired at least three times and is remarkably durable.
A real treat for anyone who loves high craftsmanship, Francesco Fasano Italian ceramics are equally at ease with classical and contemporary home styles.
If you happen to visit the District of Ceramics in Grottaglie, you'll quickly discover that the family name Fasano is very popular among the potters. Although most of their families are actually related, their pottery differs widely.
After thorough research on Grottaglie's pottery, we visited the city. We had a fair idea of the area's production but had struggled to find reliable information of the artisans, other than word of mouth.
Half way through our visit, we entered Francesco Fasano's studio. A large space with a lot of tools, raw pieces, clay dust everywhere, and a wheel. We saw a man bent on a large plate, who seemed enthralled by the task at hand. Francesco kindly welcomed us, smiled shyly, and asked us if we would have liked to see his work.
He led the way through a tiny door onto a large room, and I clearly remember that moment: we gaped in wonder. The room was full of light coming from sconces, lamps, and pendants projecting fascinating shapes on the walls and the ceiling. Antique pieces of furniture held dinner plates, centerpieces, vases, and pumi which were simple yet absolutely stunning.
He guided us through his work and explained that the sgraffito ceramics had attracted his attention from the start of his career. They were produced in Grottaglie a few centuries ago, then had disappeared. Experimenting with the sgraffito technique, he had developed his proprietary production methods, which have slowly become his artistic language.
His pottery echoes traditional Grottaglie designs, Eastern and Mediterranean colors, and patterns. His forms are deliberately essential to act as canvasses for the sumptuous decorations and intense glazes.
About the sgraffito ceramics
Sgraffito - in Italian "scratched" - is a decorating pottery technique. A layer of colored liquid clay, called engobe, Sgraffito - in Italian "scratched" - is a decorating technique. A layer of colored liquid clay, called engobe, is applied to the terracotta. When almost dry, the potter scratches the superficial layer to create a design, revealing the clay color underneath in the process.
After a first kiln firing, the artisan applies colored glazes and fires the piece as many times as needed.
The sgraffito technique was 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, and … here we are.