Famous for blending her eccentric style with centuries-old Puglian techniques, Grottaglie’s esteemed ceramic artist Enza Fasano has inherited a longstanding passion for pottery from several generations of masters of the craft. From artichokes to prickly pears, her striking artworks depict all kinds of experimental shapes and have earnt her international fame. Here, we speak to Enza Fasano on the birth of ceramics in her hometown, and her creative partnership with Masseria Torre Maizza resort.
What role does ceramics play in Puglia? Can you tell us a little about its history and its significance in the region?
“Ceramics in Puglia, as in all historical centres of handicraft production, exist because in ancient times the clay quarries (and therefore the raw material) were located on site. For this reason, since the Middle Ages, Grottaglie has become a very important centre for the production of household items and large containers. The importance and particularity of Grottaglie ceramics is precisely this: a multitude of traditional forms and production techniques that carry a millennium of history with them.”
Growing up among your father's masterpieces in Grottaglie, what inspired you to follow in his footsteps?
“During my adolescence, I wandered around my father's company and got lost in the production process, absorbing the mastery of the many potters at work. I fell in love with that fantastic energy blending effort and wisdom, and I began to feel within me the desire to create my own ceramics.”
What was your first experience of working with clay?
“I created my first piece of artwork at the age of eleven, where I took a panel and painted flowers that went upwards. I loved painting figures, flowers and objects that went upwards.”
Can you tell us a little about the techniques used today and which elements remain faithful to tradition?
“The production techniques have generally remained the same as in the past, but have been improved with the help of new technologies. In ancient times, the lathe was pedal operated, whereas today we use electric lathes. The ovens were wood fired, whereas today they are electric. The clay was impure, and today it is purified. The glazes were lead, and now they are certified and non-toxic. This progress has made the profession of the potter much ‘lighter’, where previously they were subjected to gruelling shifts made up of whole days and nights of hard work. In addition to these changes, there are new materials available now such as metallic luster, which we love to use to decorate objects.”
How would you describe your unique style?
“I would say that my style is unique because it is mine and corresponds to my personality; clear, sometimes whimsical and eclectic.”
Can you tell us how you got involved in the design of Masseria Torre Maizza?
“One day we had a surprise visit from the Torre Maizza team. After a while a request for a quote arrived for some items destined for this exciting new project of restructuring. From there we began an exciting collaboration together with the talented Director of Design at Rocco Forte Hotels, Olga Polizzi, and her team, with whom we brainstormed shapes and decorations.”
Where did you get the inspiration for the pieces you created?
“My inspiration always comes from the history of our production or from nature, influenced by contemporary taste.”
Do you have a favourite area of the resort and if so, can you explain why?
“The reception hall. The wall of the desk is simply wonderful and I know that many guests comment on this.”
To book your spring escape or an Easter getaway at Masseria Torre Maizza, which opens 1st April 2021, please contact our team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call +39 080 482 7838.