A Ceramic Lover's Journey Through Italy with Liz Brewster

A Ceramic Lover's Journey Through Italy with Liz Brewster


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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)
K
K.
Italian Ceramics

A very interesting history of Italian ceramics. Learned a lot about how they were made, different styles and what comes from varying regions.

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.

E
E.K.
Armchair Travel - Interesting

Liz Brewster took the group through a virtual tour of the history of ceramics beginning in Faenza, on to Deruta, Vietri Grottoglie and Caltagirone in Sicily. Liz was very knowledgeable and I learned a great deal about maiolica and how this kind of pottery evolved; Liz was a competent lecturer: knowledgeable on the subject and pleasant. I wish there had, however, been, videos of the towns and workshops so that the tour felt more like being there!

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.

Customer Reviews

Based on 14 reviews
71%
(10)
29%
(4)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
K
K.
Italian Ceramics

A very interesting history of Italian ceramics. Learned a lot about how they were made, different styles and what comes from varying regions.

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.

E
E.K.
Armchair Travel - Interesting

Liz Brewster took the group through a virtual tour of the history of ceramics beginning in Faenza, on to Deruta, Vietri Grottoglie and Caltagirone in Sicily. Liz was very knowledgeable and I learned a great deal about maiolica and how this kind of pottery evolved; Liz was a competent lecturer: knowledgeable on the subject and pleasant. I wish there had, however, been, videos of the towns and workshops so that the tour felt more like being there!

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.