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A concrete history: all the faces of the clay in Tuscany (part 2)

Everyone ready to resume the journey? In the previous article we talked about:

– Ceramics of Valdichiana

– Impruneta terracotta

– Majolica of Montelupo

To characterize this overview, furnishings of different types, with shapes and chromatic characteristics specific to each area. Today earthenware reveals other treasures, handmade among hills and charming villages rich in tradition.

1) The ceramic Sesto Fiorentino = You will ever hold in your hands one of those grandmother white magnificent tureens, the tray on display in the glass cabinet in the living room or the tea equipment exclusively reserved for special occasions. And maybe you’ll read absently the name below the base: Ginori. A name became legend all around the world in the production of porcelain. It represented throughout 1800 a model of inspiration for the eclectic local artisans. What made ??Ginori manufactures so special?

– The level of avant-garde in the study and experimentation of the material (we are only in 1735)

– The organization and the entrepreneurial dynamism of the founder, Carlo Ginori

– The extension of the production, from furnishing and tableware to products for construction and industry

– A sophisticated and extensive catalog of quality products

– The decorative element “a rosellina”, small roses and plant shoots on immaculate background

The Ginori range has always been very articulate: coffee and tea cups, saucers, bowls, vases, teapots, figurines, copies and reliefs of famous sculptures . Although today the Ginori no longer exists, has deposited the refined tradition of ceramics manufacturing in the whole territory. Nothing of the past teaching has gone missing, but everything was filtered, modified and translated into exclusive objects, independent but able to reflect a priceless historical and artistic heritage.

2) The pottery of Maremma = every cloud has a silver lining: this is the case of geographical isolation of the Maremma. Far from the centers specialized in the ceramics industry, the artisans of these lands have developed a very personal and independent style of decoration that presents the Etruscan influence as unique historical legacy. Here more than anywhere else, clay working binds to everyday household use, without having given origin to a specialized district and a systematic production of pottery.

But the pottery of Maremma quickly conquered the taste of the public, because they respond to specific needs of modern design: simplicity, ability to adapt to other furnishings and most varied environments, functionality. The watchword, though it may not be “traditional”, becomes “renewal”. These laboratories and younger workshops stand out for a great desire to discover, investigate, combine the techniques and materials (such as the raku processing, fire painting, stoneware), express their original presence but without sacrificing that inherent linearity of the forms and the subdued use of color.

3) The Sienese ceramics came from an entirely different nature and cultural background. During the Roman period until 1200, Siena and surroundings made pottery in a serial manner, especially pottery and monochromatic red-orange colored containers. Standardized symbols repeat themselves on surfaces and the careful modeling focuses on the edges. But when the trial on the mineral paints begins in 1200, there is an explosion of color: pitchers and jugs painted in black, dark purple, white, red, dark brown. Only since 1400 the combination of white and blue, that will always remain the hallmark of the local ceramics, prevailed. The taste for the rich design imposes itself on the scene, the engobe is the most commonly used decorative technique, blue drops on a white background become the favorite duotone and experimentalism doesn’t seem to stop, indeed: it draws strength from the new generation of potters, always ready to deepen research on materials, plastic and color.

4) We will not say “last but not least” not to unleash parochial jealousies, but the craftsmanship of the Crete Senesi has “clay in the blood”. This generous material in fact dominates and influences the landscape shapes and the economy of countries such as Asciano, Sinalunga, Pienza, San Quirico d’Orcia, Chiusi. Jars and vases are part of the profile of the countryside, the family environment, in perfect harmony with the needs of rural life and seamless: yesterday as today kilns produce bricks, tiles, jugs, bowls and pottery manufactured on a lathe. This distinguished them from Impruneta Terracotta, made with the technique “Columbine.” The bright red color of building bricks and for ornamental terracotta is the typical chromatic note of the Crete Senesi and this fascinating synthesis between man, art and territory.

To know the faces of the magicians of clay, just have to look through the shops of our itineraries, to deepen with them this articulated, but fascinating topic.