26 May 2014
International Handicrafts Trade Fair in Florence doesn't make our distinction between craft and manufacture, which means that in Italy a craft like art pottery may well be mass-produced by hand.
Eventually I found two pieces of pottery that I liked. One was a pair of ceramic heads (top picture) made by Renata Emmolo in Syracuse; the other was a tile (below) made in Giacaomo Alessi's workshop in Caltagirone.
The ceramic heads are ubiquitous and nearly every home, shop and restaurant in Sicily has them. They represent the story of a Sicilian girl who cut off the head of her perfidious Moorish lover. They're usually garishly painted and many are made in moulds. Renata Emmolo's are modelled by hand, and I liked her additions of grapes and loquats - the fruit they call nespole in Italy. I think these heads look better left unpainted.
In the end I never got to Caltagirone, although it's only an hour by car from Catania. In a two-week trip visiting Syracuse, Noto, Agrigento, Piazza Armerina, Taormina and Catania on Sicily's fragmented, confusing and sometimes unreliable public transport, we just couldn't get there.
Caltagirone shop, Via Principe Amedeo, 9. Tel +39 0933 21964
Caltagirone factory, Via F.sco Schiciano, 10-12. Tel +39 0933 31694
Agira EN: Sicilia Fashion Village. Tel +39 0935 594265
Catania airport, Departure Lounge. Tel +39 095 7232084
Catania: Vechhia Dogana (Old Customs House), Via Dusmet, Catania Port. Tel +39 095 532056
Posted by Marshall Colman