The ancient alchemy of oxides is kept alive in the Di Simone workshop: Vincenzo is the last master ceramist who still carries on stubbornly crushing and grinding tin, lead and silica and then mixing them to make the milky white enamel in which the pieces of pottery are dipped after the first firing. It is an enamel coating that was originally designed to make the objects impermeable but over time an aesthetic decorative purpose was added to the functional one and today it provides the indispensable base for the ceramics of Castelli.
It is not only the enamel that is masterfully created from raw materials by Vincenzo’s skilled hands but also the paints are made with the same care in chopping and grinding basic elements such as copper and antimony, to give life to orange, blue, yellow, manganese brown and verdigris (copper green), the five colours of the Castelli palette.
These are the paints which Antonio, Vincenzo’s son, gives life to, so as to produce hues, volumes, movement and perspective, creating decorations that seem to flutter in which every detail is defined with soft precision.
Vincenzo and Antonio have dedicated their lives to retracing in a philological manner the meticulous steps in the procedure for the creation of ceramics in Castelli, maintaining the typical know-how, of the old artisans and thus remaining faithful to the wisdom that has made Castelli a town known all over the world for its art.
COST PER PERSON
13 aprile 2019
SEATS AVAILABLE: 5
LANGUAGE SPOKEN: ITA
This proposal offers an immersion in the Bottega Di Simone ceramics studio which, thanks to a careful restoration, has kept its ancient soul alive and remains today an example of the whole production chain of ceramics. It is the only surviving workshop of the thirty-two that existed in the town until the Second World War and it is, in fact, protected by but also subject to the restrictions of the Superintendence for Historical and Artistic Interests, according to Italian law n.1089.
In the workshop, led by father and son, you will be able to discover the steps that lead from the raw clay to the final piece. You will be shown the forming techniques with the 18th century foot powered potter’s wheel and the age-old plaster moulds and you will learn about the secret recipes that provide shine and softness to enamel and paints, and the painstaking attention to detail of Antonio’s decorations.
The morning will be dedicated to illustrating the various steps of the production chain; in the afternoon the participants will be able to choose whether to follow Vincenzo in shaping the ceramic objects or Antonio in the decoration.
The aim of the experience is to present in a practical way the whole production chain of the Castelli ceramic art.
– 9am to 12 noon: the morning will be dedicated to the exploration of the Bottega; 3pm to 6pm .In the afternoon the participants will be divided into two groups: one will focus on shaping, guided by Vincenzo, while the other will observe the decoration, led by Antonio to the discovery of the colours in the Castelli colour palette.
Everything you need to create a Castelli pottery piece of art!
Vincenzo Di Simone
Vincenzo is one of the last custodians of the tradition of ceramics in Castelli, a heritage for which he has become a conscious vehicle for cultural transmission. He grew up in his family’s workshop which he inherited in 1970, and from his long acquaintance with the old artisans he learned every step that leads from the clay to the final piece. When he was just a boy he was taught by Master Ceramist Luigi De Angelis, with whom he worked for over twenty years. In the years of the industrialization of ceramics he carried on a strenuous work of resistance in order to conserve the knowledge of the secrets of the composition of glazes and paints, and the methods of moulding and firing, and to keep the processes as close as possible to traditional techniques. He works tirelessly to transmit these elements through dissemination activities and practical demonstrations in his workshop in the heart of the town.
Antonio Di Simone
Following in his father’s footsteps, Antonio also grew up in the family workshop, undergoing a continuous learning process through observation and osmosis, which led him to artistic maturity in a way which Antonio himself defines as self-study. He perfected his decorative techniques thanks to the teachings of Master Decorator Romeo Di Egidio and is today among the most skilled local decorators who keep alive the characteristic composition of the Castelli palette. Together with his father he took charge of the conservative restoration of the workshop, which today is under the protection of and subject to the restrictions of the Superintendence for Historical and Artistic Interests, according to law n.1089.