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About Piattini Ceramics: the artist, the process & the care of our ceramics

Personal Statement 

Birthplace:   San Francisco

Education: San Francisco Art Institute

              San Francisco State University

               BA - Teaching Credential

A few years ago while on a trip to Italy my husband and I joyfully observed in Sirmione, Larke Garda, that each home's entryway was adorned with a colorful ceramic tile. Each tile, personal, narrative in nature, all different in subject matter and artistic style, was held together by a depiction of the  13th century castle and moat one mustcross when  entering  Sirmione.  Embraced in this functional, numerical placard revealing  identity and pride for one's community was, for me, the wonderful realizationthat form and function were combined, expected and cherished.  This  discovery was validated during the remainder of our trip through Italy.   For me there was a growing awareness that in this country art was not limited to the four walls of a museum but seemed to be an intrinsic part of every Italian's life.  This country, so rich in artistic achievements seems to provide  its residents with the  ability to absorb, appreciate, create and combine the most contemporary art with the rich achievements of the past.  Since that trip I have been haunted by this discovery and have attempted to unite my training as a painter with the functional form of the bowl and the plate in the hopes that its harvest will bring the visual arts to the art of living.
Each serving piece is entirely hand painted.  Each design is original. Owing to the way each piece is crafted no two pieces are exactly alike. Most of our bisque pieces as well as our lead free glazes are imported from Montelupo, (Florence) Italy.  Some of our bisque is hand casted in our studio.
We use two methods of decorating our serving pieces and olive oil dipping bowls.
All of our olive oil dipping bowls are decorated with a technique called maiolica.  This technique involves dipping the bisque piece in  white glaze.  after the white glaze is air dry a decoration is applied on tope of the white glaze with liquid pigments.  The white glaze provides a crisp white ground for the application of color creating a jewel like appearance after each piece is fired.
The second method of decoration is the application of a clay based liquid  which is combined with pigment. This product is commonly referred to as an engobe or sometimes underglaze.  Because of the clay base the colors are generally more opaque in appearance.  Each serving piece is decorated with two to three coats of engobes.  After the piece is dry two coats of either matt or clear glaze is applied over the decorated surface.
The decorated, glazed pieces are then fired in a kiln at temperatures between 1780 and 1830 degrees.  Each firing takes approximately twenty-four hours.  (five to seven hours of actual firing time and an additional 18 hours for the kiln to slowly cool down to 130 degrees before the pieces can be removed safely).
Hand washing is recommended and precautions for temperature shock should be observed. These hand painted pieces are not ovenproof.

Pat DeMartini Ryerson/artist.jpg

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