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The Grooves: some tips to perform them at their best

Grooves are a great way to give a ceramic object a texture, to give it personality and elegance. Here are 4 small tips to do them best.


The piece must be of the right hardness to be engraved. “Leather hardness” is the expression used in the world of ceramics to define clay that is neither too dry nor too wet. If the object is too dry you will not be able to make the grooves, at the most you will make light scratches and in addition you will risk breaking the piece due to the too much pressure you will exert in trying to scratch it. If the object is too wet, however, you will not be able to make the incision easily because the strip of clay will come off with difficulty because it is too sticky; you will also risk deforming the shape of the object.


You can choose which position to put yourself in to make the grooves. The object can be held vertically resting on the lath or on the table, horizontally resting on your knees or always horizontally resting on the table on foam rubber. If the piece is small, you can also choose to hold it in your hand. Experiment and choose your favorite position. I usually decide the position in relation to the shape of the object: if the object has straight walls I prefer to keep it vertically resting on the lath, if the object has a curvilinear shape I prefer to place it on my knees.


The grooves can be fine, thick, rounded, square. You just have to choose the tool that brings you closer to the desired effect. It is also important to hold the tool at the right angle, because even the angle can change the type of texture you are going to engrave.


The grooves will never be perfect and that’s normal. Practice a lot and you will see that the engravings will get better and better, but also accept that there are small imperfections along the engraved lines.

In short words you have to do a lot of practice and experiment, only in this way will you find your path that will surely be the right one for you!

By |2022-02-22T14:59:31+02:00February 22nd, 2022|About Ceramic|

Chasing a Shape

Looking at the ceramic production of the past is a way to find my own style.

It is incredible how a material soft as clay can be transformed into a solid and durable object. Its plasticity makes it so ductile that it can take any shape you want. Clay is one of the first materials that human beings have worked. The history of ceramics runs parallel to the history of man from its origins to the present. It is interesting to see how different civilizations and cultures have given birth to a very rich variety of forms and objects.

The shape of an object reflects the culture and values of a certain population in a specific historical period, such as the spread of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic pitchers in pre-Columbian civilizations, or the prevalence of ovoid-shaped vases in Ancient Greece. In both cases the choice of style, color or decorative motif reflects uses and customs of the culture to which they belong. In the art of indigenous civilizations the intimate and profound link between man, nature and the animal world is clearly visible. Greek pottery arise from the need for domestic and commercial use; the quality is always very high and the style changes according to the geographical area and the epoch, from the oldest protogeometric style to the more “recent” and elegant ceramic with blacks figures originating from Corinth and red figures of Athenian production.

Anthropomorphic Pitcher

Anthropomorphic Pitcher from the collection of the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, Santiago de Chile

Attican red-figure krater

Attican red-figure krater, from the Greek collection of the “Museo Civico Archeologico”, Bologna

As for me, I am experimenting and working hard to find my style. I adore simple shapes, minimal but never banal. I love lines, both painted and engraved. I prefer monochrome colors often combined with the color of terracotta. I adore the contrast between the gloss of the crystalline and the matte effect of the surface finished with wax.

My ceramics distance from the elaborate decorations typical of many local Italian traditions, such as the beautiful and elegant figurative and floral motifs of the majolica renaissance style of Deruta and Faenza. I feel much closer to the design of northern Europe or to the ceramic production of some Japanese traditions.  For example the Hagi pottery, produced mainly for tea utensils, is characterized by the sober beauty of the shapes and the delicate chromatic choice given by the application of a slightly opaque enamel.

Vase with leaf motif

Vase with leaf motif, from “Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche”, Faenza

Hagiyaki Pottery

Hagiyaki Pottery, Japan-Guide.com

The research for shape is the result of a long process made of inspiration, sketches and tests. I am a great observer. I look around me a lot, I enjoy going to museums and attend exhibitions,  I like going into nice shops and look at craft and design objects. Moreover, I seek for lots of images on the internet, finding sites or blogs of artisans who, just like me, have a passion for ceramics and have turned it into their work. I do a lot of research, I catalog and archive the images of objects that inspire me. I develop ideas in my head and then I translate them into real objects in the laboratory. The work I do in the laboratory is as important as the time spent searching for sources of inspiration. They are two moments in my work that run together and allow me to create always new shapes. I think that doing an exclusively introspective work in the laboratory is not very profitable, it is important to deal with the production of others and the beauty that surrounds us…there is always something new to learn.

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By |2019-04-05T20:04:21+02:00April 5th, 2019|About Ceramic, Working Stories|

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