If there is one person who needs more ceramics in her life even less than I do, it’s my friend Jane. Yet…there we were, last week, in Deruta ‘just looking.’ Yes, I admit, we fully enable each other. But this time around we were actually on a mission. Jane had to find a wedding gift, so there was that.
Entering Sberna, we got that part out of the way in about 4 minutes. Pair of candle sticks. Bought and paid for in a record 10 minutes flat (Jane and I have gotten really good at this ceramic shopping stuff)
The problem was that we had time to kill. Bad things (or good things depending on how you look at it) happen with time on your hands. So we decided to visit some of the workshops in Deruta that we hadn’t been to for a while. We visited Geribi, which has a signature pattern made up of deep yellow scales that we both love. And we decided to head to Cama, one of the major producers in town that I hadn’t been to in years.
Sadly, Cama had gone out of business over three years ago. There was just a dusty, boarded up window where their glistening store used to stand. Gone bankrupt, like so many of the others in town, unable to compete with global marketing and cheap knockoffs from Asia.
Another boarded up window actually brought tears to my eyes. Antonio Margaritelli was perhaps one of the best known artisans in Deruta. He was part of an older generation who not only ground his own pigments to recreate the tones and colors of ancient works of art, but rediscovered and practiced many lost techniques including lustre. He had passed away the previous week, working right up until the end of his life.
Amid all this change we were thrilled to find FIMA very much open for business. I’m sure I will get lots of comments on this post, since FIMA is rightly many people’s go to choice for high quality ceramics in Deruta. It is one of the few places that still works every single stage of creation on site – from processing the clay to the finished glazing. Their standard of decoration is extremely high, with exquisite brush work on everything from the smallest cup to the large decorative platters.
But what I love about FIMA? That they continue to produce new and wonderful designs not found anywhere else. I love the fact that they have taken their very traditional “Fondo” design and transformed it using bright new colors like orange, mint green and turquoise. And their jewel colored “Vario” which they apply to the surface of everything from canisters to platters always tempts me. And then there are their artfully painted display pieces like urns and platters meant to hang on walls. I mean really, do I need an urn? At FIMA I start to think I do.
But what I really loved seeing this time around was that FIMA has gladly taken over some of Cama’s old patterns. My favorite “Siena”, with the white deers displayed on a deep black background was there. And yes, I’m seriously thinking of ordering an entire 12 piece place setting of that pattern because I had always wanted to do so from Cama, but now that’s no longer a possibility. I don’t want to make the same mistake twice.
PS: In case you were wondering, in addition to that wedding present Jane ‘had’ to get, she also came away with a set of bowls, a plate or two and I came home with 8 mugs.
Via Tiberina Sud 111
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