Today's ceramics: current productions that tell past memories
The city of Grottaglie is located in Puglia, about twenty kilometers from Taranto, and is part of the Associazione Italiana Città della Ceramica , a network of 36 Italian municipalities characterized by an ancient ceramic tradition and distinguished by the CAT brand (TRADITIONAL ARTISTIC CERAMIC). The numerous artisan production workshops of Grottaglie are located in the Ceramics Quarter, close to the historic center of the city. The oldest shops are dug into the limestone rock and preserve the ancient cooking furnaces, also built by hand; large clay settling tanks; large courtyards with uneven stone-covered floors, large vaulted rooms, terraces and hanging gardens, but also ancient underground oil mills, cisterns and caves.
The Ceramics District of Grottaglie preserves practically the entire history of its handicraft production, in many cases it preserves the aspect of the past and fascinates tourists from all over the world. Today ceramics are mainly produced for furnishing interiors, exteriors and the table . The preparation of the clay and colors uses modern technology, but some phases of the work such as modeling and decoration still require the intervention of the master potter and his technical experience.
Traditional objects that embody ancient local legends
The Babes of Grottaglie are anthropomorphic bottles that embody the legend of i us primae noctis . According to this custom, all the young brides of the town were forced to spend their wedding night with the governing prince. It is said that a farmer, prey to the idea that his wife too should suffer this outrage, decided to take revenge by killing the evil prince: he disguised himself as a woman and went to the castle for the appointment, but in his haste he forgot to trim his mustache ! He was discovered and mocked by the prince who wanted to condemn him to death but to further humiliate him forced him instead to give up all the wine he had! The farmer therefore had a considerable number of bottles made to contain his wine, bottles that had the appearance of a pupa with a mustache!
The baroque court on the dresser
THE Cavalieri , with their rich Baroque costumes and horses with opulent trappings, evoke the ancient Spanish dominations in the land of Puglia. They are an exclusive Grottaglie production and are configured as authentic pieces of art: the careful modeling of the decorative details make them prestigious ornamental ornaments for interiors, which can also become candlesticks or ceramic lamp bases to be associated with large lampshades in fabric.
The Pumi: good luck amulets that become valuable decorative objects
a bud with three leaves symbol of spring and the rebirth of nature, bearer of new vital energy. A lucky amulet which was born historically from the hands of the master potters of Grottaglie and conquers the Italian and international public with its arabesque shape and its magnetic colors. Elegant decorative accessories with a strong symbolic and apotropaic meaning, authentic good luck charms, ideal for enriching all corners of the house with personality.
The Pine Cones: from the cosmic egg to the materialization of the soul
There pine cone ceramic embodies the meaning of fertility, longevity and eternity, but also of cosmic egg linked to the birth of creation, the principle of all creation. Therefore this symbol has always enriched the entrance gates of ancient villas and gardens, monumental cemeteries, facades of churches and convents, thrones of kings and popes such as materialization of the soul , the bridge that joins the earthly to the divine. These meanings materialize in the hands of skilled people ceramic craftsmen that they make large and small pine cones. From lathe the ceramist models Before the base cap, Then the support foot , which will be joined later. The craftsman models one at a time pine cone seeds, using only the fingers of the hands and sticking them on the base cap with some liquid clay.
Artistic lamps: magical geometries of light
The production of interior lighting products is quite recent and highly appreciated. Table lamps, desk lamps, bedside lamps and candle holders are the result of great technical mastery because they are modeled by hand starting from the lathe and subsequently finished with the fretwork technique. This technique consists of carving the surface of the object in raw clay when it is in an intermediate stage of drying, the stage called "leather hardness": with the help of a scalpel, the craftsman carves flowers, leaves, drops and motifs geometric shapes, until obtaining small masterpieces of art which, once lit, create magical plays of light.
The Rooster: a symbol deeply rooted in the Apulian artisan culture
The Rooster represents the typical decoration of Apulian popular art , accompanied by the edge of the plate decorated with a brown line and a blue flower five petals. Associated with the symbol of dawn and awakening, the Rooster is an emblem of protection from evil and good health. Messenger of the sun following darkness, the Rooster also represents spiritual rebirth and the triumph of truth over falsehood. It recurs on all tableware and makes it recognizable the image of Puglia all over the world. Plates, jugs, bowls, salad bowls and glasses are covered in white or ivory enamel and decorated with the classic central rooster in a rampant pose, with a fluffy crest and plumage. The color palette with which it is painted is made up of bright colors such as cobalt blue, copper green, deep orange and manganese brown.