Grottaglie, a small town in Puglia, Italy, is known for its beautiful ceramic lamps known as “lampadari in ceramica di Grottaglie”. These lamps are not just functional lighting fixtures, but also beautiful pieces of art created by skilled artisans who have been carrying on with this tradition for generations. In this article, we will explore the history, style, and techniques involved in the production of these exquisite pieces.
The history of ceramic production in Grottaglie dates back to the 16th century. At that time, the town’s location and abundance of clay made it a natural hub for pottery creation. The artisans of Grottaglie specialized in creating ceramic objects, from tableware to decorative pieces.
The production of Grottaglie’s ceramic lamps began in the 19th century when local artisans started creating lamps specifically for the noble families of the area. These lamps were decorated with intricate designs, often painted in bright colors, and were perceived as an indicator of status and wealth.
Today, the production of lampadari in ceramica di Grottaglie is still carried on by skilled craftsmen, who continue to create beautiful lamps for both functional purposes and as works of art.
Grottaglie’s ceramic lamp production is characterized by a unique style that sets it apart from other types of lamps. The most distinctive feature of the lampadari is its ornate decoration, which varies from flowers, birds, and geometric patterns to more abstract motifs. These patterns are often painted in bright colors, such as blue, green, and yellow.
The beauty of Grottaglie’s ceramic lamps is further enhanced by the use of glazes, which add a shiny finish to the surface of the piece. The use of baroque-style shapes and curves also adds to the charm of these lampadari, making them both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
The production of lampadari in ceramica di Grottaglie involves a series of complex techniques. Firstly, the artisans mix different types of clay to create a robust and durable material that will hold the shape of the lamp. Once the clay is molded into the desired shape, it is left to dry in a special kiln.
After the clay has dried, the lamp is decorated using different techniques such as sgraffito, a technique where the colorful glaze is scratched to reveal the clay below. The use of a brush or a sponge is also common to create intricate designs.
Finally, the lamp is fired in a kiln at very high temperatures to solidify the glaze and give the lamp a shiny and durable finish.