Tag Archives: ceramics

Caltagirone

The famed tiled steps of Caltagirone


September 2012

Caltagirone is a bit more than an hour southwest of us, and is easy enough to get to. The city is charming and one of its tourist draws are the Scala di Santa Maria del Monte, or the stairs that lead to the Santa Maria del Monte church. Caltagirone has made its name in ceramics for centuries. As a U.S. citizen, it was humbling to wander the old streets of Caltagirone and ponder that artisans had been selling their wares in these shops for centuries before our nation was even a glint in the eye of the pilgrims. The innovation, enthusiasm, and pure joy that are woven into the U.S. capitalist society are heady and intoxicating; in a completely opposite way, the stability, tradition and timelessness of Caltagirone was heady and intoxicating.

We wandered and dined there with Uncle Bill, and it was easily one of the better evenings I have had here – great company, a touch of ancient magic, delicious food, and modern life bustling around us. We randomly parked and stumbled our way toward where we believed Santa Maria del Monte Chiesa to be (chiesa = church). As such, I cannot offer directions or parking hints, but I can assure you that just getting close and parking is a fine way to experience Caltagirone.

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Caleca Ceramiche: The Prequel

Cinquecento

Uno (1). A busy day at work. It made the day fly by!

Due (2). Cuddle time on the couch with Dave. I fell asleep almost instantly.

Tre (3). Homemade margaritas. Thank you Uncle Michael for the delicious and always worthwhile recipe with freshly squeezed lime juice.

Quattro (4). Package & card from my Aunt Karrie!!! Thank you so much. Look at this sweet card.

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Cinque (5). A warm bear hug from my mom!!! Well, it was the thought of such a hug, and that’s what counts. Thanks, Mama. I miss you, too.

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Cento

Here is the down and dirty of Caleca ceramics. We start with photos of the factory, inventory shelves and the process of cutting and pressing ceramic placemats.

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This worker slices chunks of clay to place into a press, peel off and lay the resulting placemat on a cart to dry for a few days; then it bakes in the kiln for several hours.

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Drying.

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Queuing for the methane gas oven kiln.

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“Enameling Department”

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Plates dipped in special sauce.

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Then, this woman…

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…applies these labels before another baking.

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Finally, the dish may come to these artists, who were in yesterday’s post.

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Ciao ciao!

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