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Objects ready to be painted




brushes and colors


Two objects before the final baking




The furnace


The characteristics and the technique - The history - Watch the movie Video

The characteristics and the technique
The Art of the ceramics born and has grown here where the characteristic particular of the territory concur the easy way  of the indispensable material with the working: the CLAY.
A material whose characteristic is the extreme plasticity and it remained the constant element until our days and the techniques changed in the time. The hills of Deruta still abound of clay, even if sometimes, for technical problems, it comes from other places. The clay that is used is called marly clay because it is extracted from the marls that are cliffs of blue color easy constituted from limestone and clay in almost equal proportions and to second of these proportions we will have limestone marls or argillaceous marls. From the chemical point of view draft of silicati aluminum hydrates.
The nearly always present element is the iron oxide that determines the red color after the first baking. The clay before being employed for the working endures preliminary treatments of crushing, homogenization, seasoning and drying.
The seasoning consists in the exposure of the matter to ices and to the rain with consequent sod splitting and purification of the clay, then in machinery with large cylinders for the crushing and consequent homogenization, the clay becomes a homogenous paste. After which the matter exits from the plant in small cakes for being worked.
The techniques more used for the working are the shaping to the lathe, “colombino” and for printing. To the lathe pedal wheel means to anciently work the clay over one, today electrical worker.
To “colombino” it means to create a the long bithroats to overlap. For printing it means to create a matrix in chalk on which thin clay slab came trod one in order to gain the object. Between the several characteristics of the determining clay for the working it is the water that joins in percentage until to the point to render the molding perfectly easy. An important phase of the working is the BAKING that has the scope to produce with transformations physical-chemistries; in this way it produces a solid object. The essential bakings for the maiolica production are two: before said "BISCUIT" and the second "BAKING OF THE BEAUTIFUL ONE".
After the first baking the objects come are covered with an enamel made up of pond and lead, in order then to be decorates with colors made up of oxides milled with lead like as an example: the green “ramina” (oxide of branch), the blu (oxide of cobalt), the arancio (oxide of iron), the giallo (oxide of iron and antimony) etc. The decoration happens after the glazing, with the paint-brushes of bristle, hair of goat or ass. Today they use above all hair of ox and marten. The drawing on the object comes sometimes by hand made free, other times preparing of the specific decoration.
The more characteristic decoration are: the “Ricco Deruta”, the “Raffaellesco” and the "Vario", but obviously free way can be given to whichever fantasy. Now the objects are ready for the second baking. Anciently they came cooked in firewood furnaces constructed with normal bricks and constituted from two atmospheres for the baking and a hearth where it came introduced the firewood. Today we use gas or electrical furnaces. An other technique to remember is the glare to smoke obtained with particular procedures that they consist in a metalization process, where a diluted paste of metallic salt and clay with vinegar comes applies to paint-brush in the parts of the object painted with white and blue after the second baking and cooked at 600°C approximately, introducing in the furnace firewood, brooms and substances that produce smoke like the horse nail.
This provokes (and anciently it provoked) inside the furnace the reducing atmosphere formation that is deficiency of oxygen so that metallic salt during the softening phase of the enamel penetrated giving to the object the particular color "gold" or "red they steal". Obviously the doses of the paste are secret. To remember that the first baking happens at 1000°C approximately, the second baking at 920°C approximately and then for other bakings lower and lower.

The history
The production of ceramics and pottery of Deruta has secular origins. With the archaic period it begins an immense production of objects of common use like the basins, bowls, bread soups, with geometric decorations. The colors in this period are the "green ramina" and the "tawny manganese". Then the deruta ceramics catches up the maximum splendor, in 1500, diffusing itself in the several Italian cities and to the foreign countries. Artists like Giacomo Mancini said El Frate and Francesco Urbini, signed important works. But also Nicola Francioli said "Co" was an artist of great relief, and signed numerous pieces.
Plates from pump, amatorie goblets, coats of arms, etc with various and original decoration. Flower decorations, grotesque decorations, eye of pen of peacock, and teeth of wolf, to petal back etc. The colors of the period are richer; in fact we find, beyond to the green ramina and the brown of manganese, the orange, the blue and the yellow.
Also the complex technique of the smoked “lustro” appears, that it gives splendid glares gilds you to the works. The pavements were important for Deruta like that one of the church of Saint Francisco (1524) or that one of Saint Greater Maria in Spello and a part of Saint Peter in Perugia, testimony of the pottery of Deruta. With passing of the time decorations were transformed and gave life to other styles in 1600, like the "Compendario", characterized from a fast feature, and the "Calligraphic one", of arabian inspiration with leaves, flowers, arabesques birds etc. In 1700 the ceramics entered in crisis. However Gregorio Caselli in order to obviate to this disadvantage gave to life the factory of fine pottery, to imitation of the china. After the unification of Italy, in Deruta, there was a meaningful resumption of ceramics, thanks to the work of Alpinolo Magnini, Micheletti Angelo, David Zipirovic and Ubaldo Grazia. The Bottega d'Arte of Gina Pelli, with its continuous production, is an example of the high quality of ceramics.