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Test your knowledge of Italy.
How to Spot Fake Hand Made Italian Pottery
by Tiziana Manzetti
Some stores are full of rubbish, believe me. Lots of nice looking ceramic pieces which are machine stamped and sold as original hand made Italian Ceramics. Possibly from reputable regions, like Sicily or Tuscany.
Spotting a counterfeit is possible and quite easy. Follow these simple steps.
1 - Turn the Italian pottery piece you're interested in upside down and make sure there is an unglazed area.
This area, usually a circle, shows the natural brownish orange color of the terracotta (bisque). The bisque is sometimes made of white grayish clay, often used for small pieces, but it's still clearly visible.
Now you'll be wondering why this detail is so important. Let me remind you how the humble terracotta changes into a priceless Italian pottery. Before the actual hand painting the artisan dips the terracotta deeply into a sieve containing fast drying liquid glaze. This fine powder will prevent the colors from spreading and blurring into each other during the painting and will bond with the subsequent colored glazes during the final firing.
The glaze however gets quite sticky during the firing. That is why the clever artist makes sure that his or her fine Italian pottery pieces are not in touch during the firing and carefully removes the glaze from their base. The damage would be otherwise irreversible.
2 - Touch the unglazed area. It must be rough. If it is white and smooth then its not an original Italian pottery piece, made with traditional materials and techniques.
Sometimes it is still possible to detect the marks of the long pincer the artisans use to glaze their pottery: it's two tiny dots usually positioned near the rim of the pieces.
3 - Brush strokes must be visible. Italian ceramics are always hand painted and if you look at them closely you will be able to see the single stokes that contribute to the beauty and artistry of your piece.
You will never forget the emotion of a close look to a Renaissance portrait and will find it hard to believe that those colorful, lively characters are painted with no more than 4 or 5 colors.
Now you own the key tools to spot a fake.
If you are passionate about Italian pottery, though, I have a suggestion for you which goes beyond technicalities.
My suggestion is: look at as many Italian pottery pieces as possible. Browse Internet, read books, visit museums, go to exhibitions, visit the stores of your city and touch them. Your senses will grow accustomed to their patterns, their shapes, their look and feel. And in a few years your expertise will match your passion.
In the meantime if you wish to start your own collection of fine Italian pottery, buy from a reputable dealer. Someone who is willing to tell you more about the piece than just its price, who is happy to spend some time to educate you, who knows the name of the artist and offers a clear return policy.
An investment in Italian pottery is an investment in art and beauty. Buy quality - you'll never regret it.
About the author:
Tiziana is an Italian Mktg manager with a lifelong passion for Italian Ceramics. Visit her new webstore http://www.thatsArte.com to view her 4,000 piece collection of fine Italian pottery by the most talented Italian artists. Special orders welcome.
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