About Ceramiche Borgioli
Piero Borgioli and his team are based in the heart of Tuscany, just a few kilometres from Florence, an essential hub of ceramic art.
With a deep respect for the traditions of the Florentine Renaissance, they produce pottery using techniques perfected hundreds of years ago. No two pieces are ever the same; Piero’s master craftspeople add their personality and style to each pottery piece they create, giving each a modern look yet respecting the traditional old art.
Every single piece made by Piero Borgioli and his team is hand-thrown and hand-painted.
Borgioli Pottery is imported from Italy by Finch & Lane.
Ceramics begins with a simple piece of clay brought to life by a master craftsman: “the Torniante”. Masterfully modelled by hand on a lathe, the clay is transformed into a plate, an umbrella stand, a jar, a vase holder, etc. The modelled piece of clay is said to be “in the earth”.
By hand or with a plaster mold, the Attacchino shapes handles, spouts and any other type of application. These will be affixed to the turned object, but only when it has lost some moisture and will therefore be easy to handle. Once fixed, the piece must dry to proceed to the next step.
The piece is immersed in a mixture of white liquid earth. This process allows to cover the natural red colour of the terra cotta, and the item can be better decorated. Now, the object is placed in the open air to dry naturally. When it is dry, it takes on a white/greyish colour and is therefore ready for the first firing in the furnace. During this process, the piece loses 10% of its initial measurements.
The dried piece is placed in the oven for the first firing. The earthen object that comes out of the oven after being cooked at 980° is called Biscuit and has a white or the typical red colour if it has not undergone the buckling process.
Once cooled, the Biscuit is immersed in the “Enamel”, a chalky liquid that dries quickly. Despite the ease of the description, this step is an essential part of the whole process because, in the subsequent firing, the glaze will merge with the colours, determining colour tones, the glaze’s structure, and the piece’s quality. The chemical composition of the “glaze” is complex, and each company has its formula, which it keeps secret! The Biscuit, now entirely covered with an enamel powder, is ready to be painted.
The Painter can paint the entire piece freehand or use a kind of stencil called Spolvero. The Painter must know well the intricacies of the colours since all the colours used have an opaque tone. The true and bright colours will appear only after the final firing.
The decorated piece is put back into the furnace for the second firing at 950 °. Placing items in the furnace is a delicate process that requires great care and attention to avoid scratching or touching the pieces before cooking. When the object is painted on the enamel surface, the decoration can easily be removed by simply rubbing the fingers. The final cooking can take more than 36 hours; this depends on the size of the objects. The cooling period must be natural cooling. The furnace door must never be opened until the internal temperature has dropped enough to avoid thermal shocks that would destroy the entire job. The finished product that comes out of the oven has bright colours and is protected by a strong and uniform glass layer.
The final stage but as crucial as the first and is done only on traditional and classic works to give them an antique aspect; this process is “antiquing”. The piece is covered with a dark chemical compound (this composition is also a secret that varies from laboratory to laboratory!) And once dried, it is masterfully removed in the right places giving life to an antique look.