Bottega Vignoli: Beyond the Traditional Majolica

Art meets craftsmanship at Bottega Vignoli, here sisters Saura and Ivana create one of a kind decorative objects characterized by shimmering colors and iridescent reflexes, immediately recognizable thanks to their unique design: a reinterpretation of the decorative elements typical of the Islamic, Spanish-Moorish, Roman and Byzantine cultures.

Byzantine, Roman and Islamic themes recur in the ceramics created by Bottega Vignoli, a ceramic laboratory founded in 1970s by sisters Ivana and Saura, in Faenza, one of the most representative ceramic production centers in Italy. Their “Mediterranean” designs use organically refined clay, transformed into porous terracotta objects and are finished using the traditional “Faenza” techniques. The results are award-winning creations with unique color combinations and striking geometric patterns.

Decorating one of Bottega Vignoli's unique bowls with colors in the form of dust created through metallic oxides.

Tell us about your products and what makes them special.

Bottega Vignoli vases express a wide stylistic research that starts from the great Renaissance tradition of the majolica of Faenza and stretches to the Mediterranean basin, merging the influence of Byzantine, Moorish Spanish and imperial Roman art.

Details of the striking Ovalone Vase by Bottega Vignoli featuring one of the classic themes of the Mediterranean tradition.

Could you describe your production process?

The production process starts with the extraction of clay in lumps, which is then exposed to rain and cold to wash away the present solid impurities. Once cleaned, we finely chop the clay and bring it back to its plastic state, ready to be shaped into vases, bowls and dishes on the lathe. Once the process is complete, the piece is baked at 960°C, which gives us a terracotta piece ready to be decorated with colors in the form of dust created through metallic oxides. And last but not least the piece undergoes the original “great fire reduction”, a firing technique that allows giving reflections to majolica vitrified at 920°C. During the firing, the fine metallic oxides used for the decoration precipitate in the surface, creating endless ranges of shimmering colors and iridescent reflexes that make each creation a one-of-a-kind piece.

How did your company start? Tell us about the history of your company.

We opened our artistic laboratory and show-room in Faenza in 1976, after having both obtained the Diploma of Master of Arts and the so called “Magistero” (Teaching School) of Art at the Ceramic Art Institute “Gaetano Ballardini” in Faenza. Since then we have been experimenting and creating "Mediterranean" majolica for forty years.

How do your surroundings influence your work?

Faenza is renowned worldwide for its majolica production, and the techniques we use are inextricably linked to the traditions of this city, such as the traditional decorative faience technique of double-glazing.

Describe the different types of patterns you use and their characteristics.

Our decorative themes are historical re-interpretations or completely new motifs, in line with the characteristic research spirit of Bottega Vignoli. In our ceramics it is possible to observe some examples of “re-examination” of the decorative heritage coming from the Mediterranean tradition and from the great Renaissance, such as: the classic decorative element of the Roman mosaic floor, the four-petal flower of the Arab-Islamic culture and the three dimensional lacunars of the Renaissance tradition.

Details of the Jerico Plate, unique piece in shimmering majolica is decorated with small triangular patterns inspired by Roman Empire paving in brilliant shades of blue, red and orange on an earthy brown backdrop.
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