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Chuffed About Ceramics (II)

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My ceramics have arrived from Umbria and I'm very, very happy with them!

I bought these dishes in Deruta about two months ago, at a wonderful shop that I visited with fellow blogger and art expert Mary T. (Reflections on My 39 Years in Umbria.)

I chose the patterns that I liked, placed my order and waited. Each piece had to be specially made because, of course, I had fallen for patterns that I found in large bowls and chargers, but that were not available in the shapes and sizes I wanted. But no matter -- Gialletti Giulio Ceramiche custom makes what you want and ships it.

Mary very, very kindly kept me informed as to their progress, checking in with the workshop often. She even helped me expand my order, because as soon as I returned to Canada, I realized that it really was silly to order four plates and only two bowls (how awkward!) Shipping is almost a flat rate, so extra dishes wouldn't cost any more to ship in the same order, but certainly would if I ordered them later. There were a few delays, apparently some items had broken coming out of the kiln and so on. But I didn't mind; I had fully expected even longer delays.

And they were worth the wait! These pieces -- and other ceramics that I've admired -- are so beautiful, so evocative of Umbria.

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I'm a bit surprised at my newfound interest in owning these -- and more --ceramics. I'm not that much of a shopper, I'm not really acquisitive. I hoard my books and DVDs, but am still eating off ironware dishes that I'm sure I bought at a Hudson's Bay Store in the early 1980s (you can't break those damned things.)

In fact, that's what first made me think about buying some Italian ceramic dishware. I had come to realize just how old and ugly my dishes are, and further realized that rather than buying something domestic, I would get far, far more enjoyment from eating my breakfast cereal or weekend bagel from a beautiful, hand-painted work of art I had selected in Italy. Indeed, THAT would really be bringing a bit of Italy into my home and day-to-day life!

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Initially, I was a bit shocked at the prices -- especially once shipping is added in -- but once I bought these pieces, I didn't look back. In fact, I'm looking ahead to buying more!

And I have such warm memories of the lovely day I spent shopping in Deruta with Mary, who owns the gorgeous agriturismo Genius Loci near Bevagna. Having lived in the area for almost 40 years, Mary knows what she's doing and has a wonderful eye for art and beauty. Mary drove me around Deruta, which is one of the great centres of ceramics production in Italy, and we visited several shops. I fell in love with the colours and patterns in the lovely family-owned Gialletti Giulio.

After a tour of their family's workshop to see just how these pieces are carefully hand-crafted and painted, I bought four plates and two bowls as well as some smaller pieces including 3 small bowls for kitchen prep or appetizers and some lovely utensils with hand-painted ceramic handles. (One set of serving spoons I parted with as a gift for a friend who loves to cook.)

The smaller pieces I chose are painted with the lemons and fruit decorations which I love, and that I thought I would also want in my tableware. Yet the two patterns I ultimately chose are very different from that, very geometric with an emphasis on blue and yellow colours and a bit of a red accent. As complex as these patterns are, I sense that they will actually make it easier to mix and match with other tableware in future, so long as new pieces have similar styles of design and colour.

I felt so drawn to these geometric patterns, but I haven't really researched their origins. I believe the fruit patterns are more traditional in Tuscany, but I definitely need to learn more.

After shopping, Mary took me to a great restaurant a few miles from Deruta, L'Antico forziere, where we had a fantastic lunch. It really was a memorable day. My only regret is that I didn't buy a really beautiful, hand-painted Renaissance display plate, a real work of art, which are produced at the final shop we visited in Deruta. I may yet prevail upon Mary's kindness (she has been so generous with her time) and ask for her help in ordering one.

I don't want to be greedy. But these pieces are so beautiful, I guess this means I must return to Umbria, and soon!

Comments (17)

I've been looking forward to this post and Wow! They are absolutely gorgeous. I love them all (and esp. love that they are mix and match rather than just one design). You did great!

I think that seeing these everyday will be so wonderful - a perfect way to get in the Italy frame of mind on a dreary winter day!

nim:

Hey Sandra,

Those are gorgeous. It's like bringing rays of sunshine into your home. I feel happy just looking at them. Personally, I think these designs trump the fruity ones any day.

BTW, the person who received the gift of such lovely utensils is so lucky. I'm envious!

sandrac:

Thanks so much, Annie! I think they really are so cheerful to look at, they'll make me smile every day.

Nirmala, they really are fun. Maybe on your next trip to Italy, you could buy some ceramics -- at least a nice bowl for your cats to share!

Wow, they are gorgeous!! The lemons are my favorite but I really do love all of them. I am thinking it is probably time for me to replace my old dishware, especially after drooling over your new dishes. Thanks so much for sharing!!

Beautiful pieces! I am sure that everytime you use them you will think of Italy and the wonderful time you had there.

Brad'll Do It:

We've got a LOT of Italian ceramics, from a lot of places: Deruta, Tuscany (esp. San Gimignano), Vietri (southern entrance to the Amalfi coast). In Deruta, we actually selected 11 or 12 DIFFERENT plates to mix and match, laying them out on the floor. I wouldn't be surprised if we captured some of the patterns you now have. Don't we have great taste?

VickyP:

Sandra, great choices! The small bowls with the lemons are really lovely.

Nice Star of David design on the large bowls :)

Congratulations on your first ceramics purchase and may there be many more!

sandrac:

Thanks everyone!

Girasoli, the lemons are lovely...I'm thinking my next piece should maybe be a nice serving bowl, maybe with a lemon motif!

Jerry, I'm sure your ceramics are also a wonderful, useful souvenir of your Italian travels as well.

Brad, I've seen just a few your ceramic pieces in various posts on Palma's blog and they're all lovely. But I had no idea you had so many -- and from so many cool places!

Vicky, thanks so much. I'm saving already for the next pieces.

Amy:

Those are really stunning. Enjoy!

Mindy :

Gorgeous!!!! Way better than shoes!! **wink wink**
I may have to seriously consider investing in a few pieces myself on my trip in the spring. You've inspired me! It really is an investment; you'll have them forever and each time you use them you will be reminded of the fun time you had purchasing each bowl and plate.

Use them in good health!!
Mindy

sandrac:

Thanks Amy!

Mindy, there is always room for more shoes!

I do look at these ceramics as being practical as well as beautiful pieces of art. But picking them up a few pieces at a time is certainly easier on the budget.

Chiocciola:

So pretty! I am happy that they arrived safely and are now brightening up week days as well as special events!

Anne:

Sandra, I LOVE these pieces!! The colours and patterns are absolutely gorgeous. Seeing these photos almost makes me wish I'd bought ceramics instead of a leather jacket...ok, not really but I do love your ceramics! :)

Brenda English:

Oh, luscious, Sandra!!!
These are so beautiful. I can imagine the joy of taking them out of the cupboard, setting your table with them and enjoying a meal with them as the underpainting to the food. It would be a beautiful reminder every time you touch them.

This is one of those "I'm going to buy some, someday" things that I have thought about and never done. Now, I think you've convinced me to just DO it!
Niiiice!
Ciao,
Brenda

sandrac:

Thanks, Anne. I'm sure your leather coat is fantastic, and a perfect souvenir of Florence!

Brenda, I'm so happy with these dishes. I needed new tableware, my bits and pieces were really showing their age. So I felt I could justify new pieces, and I thought if I'm going to buy tableware (I hesitate to say place settings, since that's not what I have) I might as well get something really great!

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Sandra, these are so beautiful and I think they would make me happy too seeing them everyday. Great choice!

sandrac:

Thanks Kathy! Hope you're trip is going well (I'm loving your blog posts)

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