Shop by Material: Italian Handcrafted Ceramics
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Italian Handcrafted Ceramics
Explore the stunning world of handcrafted ceramics: unique works of art and true examples of Italian fine craftsmanship.
Discover the beautiful world of Italian ceramics. Artemest walks you through a unique journey between tradition and contemporary ceramics: from splendid Maiolica vases created by talented masters in their workshops, to innovative pieces designed by world renowned designers.
Having a long history and a rich tradition, the Italian ceramics production is one of the world's most important ones. Handmade and hand-painted, each creation is truly unique and representative of a specific tradition. As artistic expression that has been fundamental in Italian culture, pottery is today an important proof of a unique heritage, handed down from generation to generation.
Italian Ceramic Tradition
In Sicily, the most famous production center is Caltagirone. Being rich in clay and wood, Caltagirone has its own production since ancient times. Particularly significant is the development of ceramics applied to the architecture and to the floor decorations shown in several points of the city. A great development in the eighteenth century saw the creation of ceramics of the most varied and bright colors, along with the creation of sculptural elements. Today instead, we can admire the creations of Stefania Boemi, Artefice Atelier and Studio Le Nid.
Apulia, home of Bottega del Monaco, Kiasmo and Gianfranco Conte, is famous for its majolica productions, defined by white enamel enriched by touches of green, yellow and with a glossy finish. The artistic majolica, that is possible to find as decoration in the churches, is the perfect example to confirm the refined manufacturing techniques. One of the most important cities in Apulia for the production of ceramic is Grottaglie, characterized by different phases of the working process: each piece is individually decorated by hand, and the secrets of these handcrafted work of art are passed on through generations.
In Campania, Vietri Sul Mare is a center of ancient Etruscan origins, where its tradition of artistic craftsmanship was expressed in the production of tiles. The glossy terracotta was decorated with motifs inspired by the pastoral world and characterized by warm colors. Later, the decorations become more elaborated, starting a flourishing production of floor tiles, called "riggiole". The enchanting creations from Ceramica Pinto, Pierfrancesco Solimene and Francesco de Maio are just some of the wonderful ceramics produced in the area.
The entire region of Umbria is known for a production of excellent terracotta ware; however, its ancients ceramic tradition is particularly evident in four towns: Deruta, Gualdo Tadino, Gubbio and Orvieto. Some interesting artists belonging to this region are Estroflesso, Rometti and Idea Ceramica. In Umbria it is used a specific decorative technique called “lustro” to obtain iridescent shades of golden or ruby color on the ceramic surface of decorative pieces.
In Liguria, since 1400s the town of Albissola began producing hand-made ceramics, giving rise to a tradition of working and decorating clay that is still thriving today. They are distinguished by the use of the color blue on white, which became known as Antico Savona or Bianco Blu. The scenes pictured are biblical, mythological or literary episodes, which were used as models by the artisans. Other decorations consisted in the representation of cherubs or beautiful landscapes, always realized on white and light blue, and, more rarely, in polychromy. Mazzotti, Ceramiche Pierluca and Fabbrica d'Arte, are only some of the artists of this region.
The history of ceramics production In Tuscany boasts a long tradition, since the ancient Etruscan epoch. Montelupo Fiorentino, located only a few miles away from Florence, is one of the most active pottery centers since the 1300s producing not only everyday items, but also luxury ceramic pieces featuring beautiful and unique Renaissance motifs, Gothic flowers and poetic natural elements. Artisans like Bitossi Ceramiche, Ginori 1735 and Nuove Forme have in fact settled their ateliers in this region.
In Emilia Romagna, the main site for ceramic production is the city of Faenza. In the 14th century, Faenza was already famous for its artwork and has been ever since. Ceramics is and has always been in the DNA of this small city, and names like Fos Ceramiche, Sonia Pedrazzini and Fornice Objects remark broad the notoriety to the whole region.
The Norther Italian region of Piedmont has developed over time a ceramic tradition based on the production of everyday objects painted with rapid strokes and touches of bright color. Among its representatives we can find names such as: Biancodichina, FC Ceramics and Marisa Coppino. Piedmont is also renowned for the refined neriage technique, that consists in mixing two or more clays of contrasting colors to create pottery with extraordinary surfaces and obtain polychrome effects. The original Italian name of this technique is called millefiori meaning “a thousand flowers".
The Italian region of Veneto, home of artisans like Botteganove, Picta and B.B. 1987, welcomes two of the most interesting Italian ceramic production centers: Nove and Este, both located in the province of the city of Padua. Nove, the center of ceramics manufacturing since the eighteenth century, distinguishes itself for the richness of its floral decorations and the brilliance of the enamel, applied to a great variety of objects. The ceramic district of Este also has a very importanttradition, alive since the prehistory with some unique characteristics, such as their yellowish color.
Majolica is a form of Italian pottery made of tin-glazed earthenware that was popular from the 1400s to the 1600s. Majolica can be distinguished by a white background that contrasts with the brilliant earth-tone pigments painted onto it. The tin glaze is a chemical mixture that acts as a base for paint by fixing it to the surface, giving majolica pottery its unique white background. The presence of tin in a glaze makes it less likely to run or blur when the painted ceramic piece is heated in a kiln, incredibly preserving the colors over time. Italian majolica was developed during the Renaissance, beginning in the 1400s. The use of a tin glaze on ceramics was an innovation introduced to Italian artists via pottery imported from Spain. At the time, Spain was predominantly under Moorish rule, and much of the pottery being exported was what is referred to as Hispano-Moresque in style.
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Be inspired by our curated collections focused on the various and incredible expressions of Italian ceramics. Discover the fascinating legend behind the poetic Sicilian Moro Heads, colorful tiles created in a little town of the Amalfi coast, or the contemporary pieces designed by internationally renowned artists.