Hand Made Dinnerware. Italian Visit by la Terrine.
Hi, this is Deborah Friedman, I am the president of la Terrine. la Terrine has been in business for over 36 years, selling hand-painted ceramics and dinnerware from Italy, France and Portugal.
In the next several minutes you will see a video of a recent buying trip that I took to Italy. Typically I will travel to Italy once a year, and I like going to Italy to visit the factories here because they have a reputation for producing the finest hand-painted ceramics dating back to the 15th century. One of the regions that I enjoy visiting the most is the Campagna region. Most of the hand-painted ceramics that I purchase are from Umbria, Tuscany or the Campagna region. Each of these regions dates back to the 15th century of the ancient ceramicists who still do everything by hand.
One of my favorite factories is Ceramica Solimene. Solimene is a family owned business that was started in 1947 by Vincenzo Solimene. It is in Vietri sul Mare which is in the Campagna region of Italy. Solimene is known for the best hand-painting techniques still to this day using the same process that they've used since they opened in 1947.
Solimene is famous for the pattern called Campagna which is a very whimsical, happy pattern, a mix and match of eight different animals that many American tourists see when they go to see the factory in Vietri sul Mare. What's special about Solimene is that they have a wide variety of patterns, their colors are brilliant, and it's just a really fun place to visit. You can see all of the ceramics piled up along the corridors and the shelves, you can pick and choose which patterns you want to put together, for me it's just a great place to see color and the vivid style of Italian ceramics and the way that they're produced by hand still today.
Here again you see piles of . . . this is just sitting along the corridors, it's hard to even walk through the aisles, and some of these patterns they've been making for the past 25 years that la Terrine has been doing business with them. So if a client says to me they want to find a pattern that they've had for 20 years and they need to replace it I'll go through stacks and stacks of dishes to try and find the pattern so I can show them to the artist and ask them to recreate them again for the client.
This gentleman has been working at Solimene for over 30 years. He is using an ancient technique of the potter's wheel to mold each dinner plate by hand. The process is that the molds are then painted with a glaze. The glazed mold is put into an oven, and then when it comes out. Each piece is hand-painted, so you can see here the platters in the Campagna pattern that are hand-painted and are then re-glazed and ready to go into the kiln.
This is the kiln that will hold hundreds of pieces of pottery at one time that will go in for firing at temperatures that are over 500 degrees. Each mold that Solimene makes is unique to them so one of my favorite pieces is this teapot, and I will find its shape in their library or one of their shelves, piled up with dust and dirt on it and then clean it off and say I want this teapot but I want it in 17 different colors and I want it to be specifically made for la Terrine in a different color or different design. What I love about this is this gift can go for anyone. I've had young customers who are really excited about owning something that reminds them of their grandmother or their mother and it's just a great gift for a person who enjoys drinking tea or just enjoys the shapes and the colors of it.
Solimene is a unique factory, obviously over the history of the company they've produced so many different styles, but what I think is so unique about them is that the colorations are so vibrant and so happy and you can set a table with a mix and match of all of their patterns and it's a cheerful way to start your day at breakfast or to end the day at dinner.
We've been carrying this particular item from this factory of the Campagna collection for over 25 years and it's still a number one seller in the store today. Many young brides are using it for their bridal registry and we're happy to be the only store in New York to carry this from Solimene.
As the owner of la Terrine I continue to search throughout Italy, France and Portugal to look for products that are different from anything else that you'll see in New York City. It is important to me that the people that I work with are family owned businesses who have been carrying through the tradition of hand-painted, molded pottery that is unique to New York City and it is unique because it is created with the love and the pride of the families that have been doing it for hundreds of years.