Each piece from Touch of Sicily is hand painted and hand made.
Our selection includes unique pieces from many Sicilian regions, where Majolica is produced the old fashioned way.
Each piece of pottery is individually hand painted and hand crafted. This means that there are never two pieces exactly the same - each one is a one of a kind and very unique piece.
This shows the hand of the artist and does not deflect from the value of the piece. It actually adds to its charm. Scan a piece of hand painted pottery and you might find a partial fingerprint, a small speck of paint out of place, a slight smudge in the glaze, or a loose fitting lid - evidence of handcrafted work and part of what makes it unique.
Making Sicilian majolica Step-by-step
In order to be a true Sicilian ceramic, everything must be produced by Sicilian artists working in Sicily.This naturally includes everything from the clay, the kiln that bakes it and the paints that are used to create the ceramic. Different types of clay, combined with natural ingredients such as sodium, potassium and feldspar, are necessary first steps to obtain specific earthenware products. Each masterpiece goes through the following steps:
The clay is thrown and hand made into an actual piece. There is no vendor that we deal with that doesn't make their own actual pieces. They are all hand done and depending on their particular shape hand molded on the pottery wheel.
The piece is then air-dried under the supervision of a master potter.
During the first firing in the kiln, pieces are transformed into a hard porous material called “bisque”, most suitable to be painted by hand. The ceramic bakes for six hours at 1700°F and then cools another six hours.
The artists’ hand
All pieces are hand painted by experts allowing the personal style of each artist to stand-out, without using any guidelines or transfers, therefore ensuring that each piece is unique.The paints are made from natural minerals and by mixing them in their studios obtaining a broad range of tonalities, which distinguishes our work from other ceramics.
Each piece is dipped into liquid glaze and then left to dry for a day or two. The most remarkable thing to notice at this stage is the flat, opaque nature of the color before firing.
…Once again into the kiln
The glaze melts and the colors develop their own tones. After this second firing the colors, together with the glaze, become a solid shiny surface that will last for many years to come.
It is a laborious process, where each piece gets manipulated more than 30 times. A time and physical effort which is priceless.
How to handle Majolica
With repeated use, majolica has a tendency to “craze”, tiny lines in the glaze. This has no effect on the durability of the item. There are ways to help minimize crazing. Always avoid drastic temperature change. Ceramic has a tendency to absorb cold. If you place hot food on a cold platter it may craze or even break. Running warm water over the piece before filling it with food will protect it from breaking. You can also place a metal spoon in your mug or teapot when pouring in hot liquid. The metal will absorb the heat, thus protecting your ceramics.
Majolica can go in the dishwasher, but we recommend hand washing. If you want to use your dishwasher, use the “fine china” setting or low energy. Be sure to load the items with enough space between them so that they won't hit together.
Our ceramics is food safe. They have met FDA standards and are approved for use with food.
Majolica should not be used in a conventional or microwave oven. The microwave oven tends to heat up the ceramic and not the food or liquid.
The History of Majolica
Sicily because of its geographical position has always been the subject of conquer by the most important civilizations, which have left their imprint.
Notwithstanding having been influenced by the various dominant forces, the Sicilian ceramic artists have always shown their Sicilian-ness in the ceramic art form, because the elements used for creating this type of art form, that is to say, earth, water and fire are the same elements present in the history and culture of every Sicilian. A language is not the result of a set of grammar rules. A language is the result of a culture and its traditions, its history, its life style and its places. With this in mind, if you want a full connection with this special product from the Sicilian heart, and not just be a simple buyer, enjoy our product daily as our ancestors used to do!
Majolica (pronounced “my-o-lica”) is low-fired earthenware coated with an opaque tin-oxide glaze. The firing temperatures allow for the vivid colors and beautiful designs.
The name is thought to come from the medieval Italian word for Majorca, an island on the route for ships bringing Hispano-Moresque wares from Valencia to Italy. Moorish potters from Majorca are reputed to have worked in Sicily and it has been suggested that their wares reached the Italian mainland from Caltagirone.
From the beginning, the art of creating Majolica was a family enterprise. From digging and pouring the clay into molds to selling individual pieces, families have cultivated and developed their art and signature patterns for centuries. For generations, Italian Majolica has captivated and delighted the world with its combination of lush color and intricate patterns on pottery for all kinds of use. Today, Touch Of Sicily is proud to bring such delight and lush to you thanks to a carefully selected number of artists and a state of the art ordering, custom production and careful shipment worldwide.