Pottery workshop


The techniques

Making of a fish

The technique I primarily use for my pieces is the "colombino". It's an ancient technique that can be done only by hand. It consists in rolling up a string of clay, widening it or tightening it to give a shape to the object. I decorate the object by twisting the same string in various ways, and I always leave the decorations rough. These decorations are the main feat of my production.

The "colombino" or "lucignolo" technique is still used here in Tuscany to make big vases (called "giare" or "orci") with the "galestro" clay. The name "galestro" comes from the tipical tuscan rock found inside the clay, which is very common in the Chianti area where it can be seen in fields and in the walls of many farmhouses.
In the last years I've worked mostly this kind of clay because I like its shades of colour and I appreciate its durability outdoor.

With the galestro clay I can shape larger forms by using the "lastra" technique ("lastra" means "slab"): first I flatten a sheet of clay with a rolling-pin, then I cut a piece out of the slab and I mould it according to what I'm making (e.g. lamps, lanterns, bowls).

Lastly I always add the "colombino" decorations, that are going to remain rough and uncoloured. The decorations are made with the help of a manual wire-drawer that produces actual clay "spaghetti" of various thicknesses and lenghts.

After being moulded, the objects are left to dry, then baked in a gas stove at 950 °C. During the first baking the clay changes colour from grey to red and takes the name of "terracotta" or "biscotto".

The next phase consists in glazing and decorating the object. To draw the decorations I use special "vaio Kasan" brushes, which are very expensive and difficult to find. For colouring I use metallic oxides, that are common in italian majolica and in the neighbouring town of Montelupo: the copper green ("ramina"), the cobalt blue ("zaffera"), the manganese and the "castelli" orange.

The last phase is the second baking at 920° C. It vitrifies the glaze and makes the decorations permanent.

From the beginning of my career I have always strived to be both traditional and innovative in my majolicas. I hope you will appreciate the result.

Ceramiche Il Tafano