A Ceramic Lover's Journey Through Italy with Liz Brewster

A Ceramic Lover's Journey Through Italy with Liz Brewster


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Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 1:00 PM EDT
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Take a trip down the Italian peninsula with an expert in decorative arts and architecture to discover lesser-known medieval towns and hamlets where the art of making ceramics has been going strong for centuries.

Italy is world-famous for its maiolica, a brilliantly colored, hand-painted earthenware ceramic that has been produced there since the 1400s. Gorgeous maiolica tableware which once graced renaissance banquets of European nobility can be seen today in top museums such as the Louvre, the Victoria and Albert, the Ashmolean, the Met, the Getty, and the Hermitage. Today hundreds of artist and artisan workshops throughout Italy continue this tradition, handcrafting new pieces in traditional, regional, and contemporary styles.

In this talk, we'll briefly trace the history of Italian maiolica to see how designs, styles, color, and techniques developed. We'll examine some of the exquisite pieces produced by renaissance master craftsmen, in order to comprehend long-lasting traditional influences found in much modern maiolica made today. 

Next, we'll explore 5 important ceramic-producing towns, each from a different region: Faenza (Emilia Romagna), Deruta (Umbria), Vietri (Campania), Grottaglie (Apulia), and Caltagirone (Sicily). In each town we'll seek out the local maiolica traditions, looking for the unique colors, patterns, designs, and specialty pieces that are produced and sold there. We'll see historical maiolica proudly decoration each town's public spaces: in the streets and piazzas, on the building facades, and inside the courtyards and churches.

Led by architect and independent design researcher Liz Brewster, this interactive seminar will examine the art of Italian maiolica, past and present. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants might be inspired to visit some of these medieval towns, bringing with them a new understanding and appreciation of the ages-old local craftsmanship.

Liz Brewster, a native of San Francisco, California holds degrees in architecture from the University of California at Berkeley and Università degli studi "La Sapienza", Rome. She specialized in restoration and urban design. Her restoration projects have brought her to work in direct contact with the rich historical layers of Rome and Italy. She has been leading study walks for Context Rome since its beginning and has lived in Rome since 1988 practicing architecture, researching design, and lecturing at university study abroad programs.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 14 reviews
71%
(10)
29%
(4)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
C
C.M.
In Depth Overview of some Italian Ceramics

What impressed me was the depth of her knowledge and the history of the craft in each of the places she mentioned. I learned a lot, which for me is what I hope to do taking such a class.

C
C.M.
Ceramics are another art form

I learned a great deal about the process of making ceramics and the influence of the Arabs in Spain and then in Italy.

M
M.M.
Beautiful Ceramics, Fabulous History

Liz weaves centuries of Italian art and history into the lively story of Italian ceramics. Her photos are stunning. Her tour of several regions opens the door to a vast world of intriguing art and human stories of centuries of Italian artisans.

J
J.G.
Liz Brester's ceramic tour of Italy

I loved this class; it was a pleasure. And I learned about the origins and history of the ceramics none of which I knew. I thought Liz was wonderful at explaining the different styles and her slides were beautiful

L
L.L.
Really a great presentation!

This was really a wonderful presentation, lots of details, incredible number and quality of illustrations, photographs, maps, etc. Nice combinations of scenes from the 5 ceramic towns plus photographs of typical ceramic works from each, through history. Liz certainly brought great knowledge and enthusiasm to her program! Lots of detail, this one I am really going to watch a second time!

Customer Reviews

Based on 14 reviews
71%
(10)
29%
(4)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
C
C.M.
In Depth Overview of some Italian Ceramics

What impressed me was the depth of her knowledge and the history of the craft in each of the places she mentioned. I learned a lot, which for me is what I hope to do taking such a class.

C
C.M.
Ceramics are another art form

I learned a great deal about the process of making ceramics and the influence of the Arabs in Spain and then in Italy.

M
M.M.
Beautiful Ceramics, Fabulous History

Liz weaves centuries of Italian art and history into the lively story of Italian ceramics. Her photos are stunning. Her tour of several regions opens the door to a vast world of intriguing art and human stories of centuries of Italian artisans.

J
J.G.
Liz Brester's ceramic tour of Italy

I loved this class; it was a pleasure. And I learned about the origins and history of the ceramics none of which I knew. I thought Liz was wonderful at explaining the different styles and her slides were beautiful

L
L.L.
Really a great presentation!

This was really a wonderful presentation, lots of details, incredible number and quality of illustrations, photographs, maps, etc. Nice combinations of scenes from the 5 ceramic towns plus photographs of typical ceramic works from each, through history. Liz certainly brought great knowledge and enthusiasm to her program! Lots of detail, this one I am really going to watch a second time!