I recently had the opportunity to take my first-ever trip to the lovely country of Italy. My weeklong trip was to Sansepolcro, with day trips to several nearby cities and attractions.
One of these day trips was to Deruta, a medieval hill town in the Province of Perugia, located in the Umbria region of Italy.
Deruta is known for majolica, the specific type of pottery produced there. Majolica, which is thought to have originated in Majorca, Spain, is distinguished by its white opaque tin-glazed surface.
Our travel group visited Old Town Deruta, where we dined and shopped. We also had the opportunity to go on an unofficial, behind-the-scenes tour of one of the hundreds of workshops where the ceramicware is handcrafted and painted.
In this family-owned workshop, we saw a ceramicist demonstrate how to craft a piece on a pottery wheel, while other artists sat nearby, using vibrant colors to hand paint traditional and modern designs on vases and tableware.
Our time in the humble workshop provided a fascinating look at a centuries-old artistic process. The powdery colors that form the glazes, the gentle terra cotta curves of the raw pottery, and the contrast between the dusty, paint-covered surroundings and the finely detailed finished pieces all left a lasting impression on me as an artist.
Like landscape photography, the visit to the ceramics workshop reminded me that with a little patience, an openness to a new perspective, and attention to detail, something beautiful can arise from the most ordinary surroundings.