Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cooler Master Scout And Motherboard Evga

Le Botteghe della Ceramica Sonora - I fischietti di Sciacca (Agrigento) – Giovanni Fisco e Vincenzo Arena

With this post we inaugurate a new column entitled "The Sound of Ceramic Workshops." Unlike the book "Stories and Sounds of Earth" - that blog readers already know and respect traditional craftsmen - this will be a series of interviews with artists who have managed to reinvent and renew this tradition of whistles.

Buona lettura!

Bisogna riconoscere che il momento scelto era stato infelice: è domenica mattina quando Giovanni and Vincenzo Arena Taxes try to ask them to talk about the whistles and ceramics Sciacca. Thus we find their shops closed as much as those of the center. Fortunately, we are meeting the great hospitality and kindness of these craftsmen contacted by telephone, both willingly accept to meet and to open their shop just for us. And there's more: shewn from a lunchtime chat the other, John does not hesitate to invite us to his house to continue to discuss over a plate of pasta with pistachio nuts.

After speaking in the previous post from Calton and his whistling ceramics, there also seems fitting to pause on another important production center of Sicily, as Sciacca (Agrigento). We do it once again gives voice to some of the most talented craftsmen and appreciated by lovers of whistles, as they are precisely Arena and Taxes.

Sciacca and its ancient tradition of working with clay
One of the first things that John Fisco explains is that we are in a land that for centuries his story intersects with that of the working of the clay.
"I am not a scholar, but say the tradition of producing pottery in Sciacca is well above that of Caltagirone. Also because this is the sea and the Arabs first arrived, bringing le loro tecniche e dando nuovo impulso all’attività artigianale.”
Ed in effetti nelle grotte del Monte Cronio – l’odierno Monte San Calogero - sono state ritrovate terrecotte risalenti al periodo di transizione fra l'età della pietra e quella del bronzo.
La città nasce probabilmente nel IV o V secolo a.c. durante la colonizzazione magno-greca della Sicilia. Era nota come Terme Selinuntine, in quanto utilizzata come centro termale dalla vicina Selinunte. Inoltre, già allora il centro era noto e apprezzato anche per le officine di vasai.

Poi nell'840 Sciacca venne occupato dagli Arabi, che dettero alla città il nome attuale e un nuovo impulso alla produzione figulina. E la produzione continued under the Norman rule, from 1087 and in later centuries.
After the second half of the '400 pottery was known in Sciacca Sicily. The product of better quality of ceramic tiles Saccensi were commissioned to decorate their palaces and churches. Vincenzo Arena
says proudly: " Sciacca was famous for up to 700 tiles. We have paved churches everywhere in Italy "

The whistles of traditional Sciacca

course not fail to ask our production of traditional crafts whistles in Sciacca. Arena explains that the whistles were already present in the eighteenth century in Sciacca.
" whistle on traditional Sciacca there are few historical references, because in 150 years of production stoppage much information has been lost . Nor are books and testimonies on the subject, partly because they were poor objects, which were in the hands of children, and then maybe falling to the ground, broke and were thrown. The shepherds of old, however, still are. Why do people do if they kept to the crib. And then maybe handed down from father to son.
Surely you remember that there were the whistles of the rooster and some anthropomorphic forms. Formerly they were in Sciacca also figures of saints, but we do not know for sure if there was a saint to whistle.

Note that unlike Caltagirone and whistles of other places where they traditionally did with the stencil, we are all modeled by hand, the mold was not known. "

Forgetting and rediscovery of ceramic

explains how Arena, this production tradition as old disappeared in the eighteenth century to be resumed only recently .
"A Sciacca ceramic production stops in the late eighteenth century and again in mid-twentieth century, so there was a break of a century and a half.
From what historians say the production has been stopped because of the competition. Despite the valuable products, competition took precedence over other centers equipped or who worked less on quality. "

In 1940 the pottery flourishes thanks to the painter and ceramist Calogero Curreri. And between 60 and 70 years a number of artists who are dedicated both to the ceramics, painting and sculpture to further boost production. Today there are dozens of shops in the old city designs and colors that reflect the ancient majolica sage. There is also Institute of art that form new generations of potters and exposes important finds of the past .

Apprenticeship and stylistic evolution of two craftsmen

ask the two craftsmen to tell of their early days in the field of ceramics and their evolution Art.
Taxes: "We were a family of workers and the only person who brought the pennies in the house was Dad. So I did all the crafts as a child: I helped to carry the cross at home in other words.
I started the job through my brother, who is a painter and ceramist, and he also taught at the Art Institute.
I started doing the classic production, but at some point I said enough. Since the 80s I started to make ceramic art. Everyone was criticized, and even today for many people I'm the crazy situation, but I do not care what type of pottery, and I gave it a clean cut.
Today I think I do something different from what others are doing ".

Arena: "My father worked in the countryside, while I have formed while working at an artisan before opening my shop. I am 1952, and then there was the law on child exploitation: the age of 10-12 years and then I was in the shop .
From the main we had the wood oven, where I learned how the wood system, as it bakes, as the oven is closed, and so on. All things that I have stored and are part of my culture as a craftsman, but maybe now the way people work has changed.
For example, I also learned how to make shiny with smoking, that almost nobody knows what to do. I speak not of metal lustres made with chemicals that can be bought today, but decades of real, those of English-Moorish tiles. These reflections were made using exactly the smoke in the reduction of temperature. It so happens that green copper becomes bronze or yellow turns to gold. It 'a technique they invented the Arabs. Today everyone is talking about doing raku, but I think we have in our tradition of superior techniques, such as this.
today in an old town like this I can not use these techniques. Once I tried it and the fire department arrived, they thought it was going to fire it.

The whistles modern

Turning to the production of whistles, it must be said that Arena Taxes have the merit to have married tradition with innovation in a successful synthesis of plastics.
of exceptional beauty are such that the whistles are in the shop of John the Treasury, who tells us: "Now I'm 20 years that I whistles. I have learned from an old potter, who was old even then and now is dead. How do I create subjects of animali fantastici. Poi mi piace l’arte africana, per cui in alcuni pezzi mi sono ispirato alle maschere africane. Poi ovviamente riproduco dei soggetti classici siciliani come il galletto, gli animali, i santi.

Tutti i pezzi che vedi qui dentro sono fatti a mano. Quelli grandi sono fatti con sfoglie di creta: le accartoccio, compongo separatamente i vari elementi, e poi comincio a montarli. Un fischietto di queste dimensioni non lo puoi fare tutto in un pezzo. E’ la stessa tecnica che usiamo per vestire le statuette di creta: fai uno scheletro e poi lo vesti.
In my large pieces is added to the whistle with a piece of clay in the main part of the figure. In those small but the whistle is modeled directly with the figure.

The colors of my whistles are always very lively because Sicily is this: we just open the window to see these colors !
Using mainly acrylic paints. I did several tests, I also made a glaze with the second firing. In some other use 'of acrylic fixative, which makes the polished pieces as if were made in enamel, but semi-gloss, as if they were made of wax.

Arena instead tells us: "To make the whistles I learned as a child watching them as others were doing. I have not had a true teacher, because basically the craftsman has to "steal the trade" to the teacher, in the sense that often the principal has no interest in teaching his secrets to others.
The subjects were all that I was making animals such as birds, seals, kittens, and so on.
While all achieve a monotone whistle, I was able to make even the ocarina to 5 notes. It was a fig-shaped figure, a little 'round, so get a sounding board and 4 holes.
Another specific Sciacca that I only I had the whistle with water.
leave them in earthenware decorated or painted them with acrylic paints, with no second time.

My whistles were always shaped by hand. D a small working I learned to model in the shop and pull out a piece of clay any . In my opinion then the artisans learned a great gesture, a manual that has now lost . The the type of market leads us to abandon this type of production, today happens at the end that the artisans are all the same things.

crisis Pottery Sciacca

Both craftsmen tell us about a difficult situation for the shops of Sciacca, due to a fierce competition that too often to the detriment of quality.
Fisco nota come ci sia un parallelismo tra la crisi della ceramica attuale e quella vissuta da Sciacca nel tardo ‘700: “La ragione che fece cessare la produzione in quell’epoca è la stessa che rischia farla scomparire ora: la concorrenza!
Oggi si sta facendo una ceramica di cattiva qualità. Se un piatto tu lo dai a 40 o 50 euro, non puoi fare una decorazione come si deve.
Io fortunata mente faccio ceramica artistica, quindi la mia score is different from the mass. I expect more that the tourist is the customer tastes a bit 'special. But for the rest around the shops have almost all the same things, and this is why this competition.
We have an art school where he teaches ceramics, but it must be said that out of the guys who do the same things that make the old ones. The renewal there was short.

Arena is also the same opinion: " With the crisis started a competition ruthless to the detriment of quality. And who makes ceramic and is intended to close .
Many of the items we have in the workshops are designed for the tourist who wants to take away a small object. The pottery is not this, but unfortunately the important part of selling it sometimes happens and sometimes does not happen.
I s ono pledged to make a quality product that we represent, but beginning to wonder: is it worth the effort? Why do people just care about having a refined object, he prefers to save € 5. The same product can be done with less time without people noticing.
The ceramics market is too narrow from Sciacca. The shops can not s osteno travel with 20 days a year. We should find new ways of doing business, to know our product. For example, you should organize the events industry standard, not related to matters of mere folklore.

The decline in the production of Fischer

The crisis and competition on the downside, do not spare even the production of whistles.
Revenue explains: "I do some of whistles for collectors, but they do not sell them a lot."

Arena has even decided to cease production of ceramic sound, so that in his shop are not even a whistle. Fortunately, we trust that he intended to resume production, creating an innovative product.
"15 years ago, the craftsmen who made Sciacca whistles were 3-4 in the most professional manner. But then the collector has pushed many craftsmen to produce them as well. Maybe they were less expensive, lower quality, because obviously something to lower the cost you should remove. At one point it turned out that many tourists seemed too much of that time for 5,000 lire a whistle, and then I realized I was no longer the case to continue to make , and I stopped completely.
There is a quality market for devotees, but it's niche, it makes a difference. Today whistles make them a bit 'all, and if they are of low quality. I think the product should not be so: the souvenir itself has no meaning, we have the full houses and after a while 'we throw them away.

The intention is to go back to the whistles, to make it a different set than I did before. I have made up his mind to do the ocarina to 7 notes. It is said that to succeed, because it is one thing to master. But we would like to try. Will be stained a second time, using special techniques. The intention is there but I have lots of new intentions. Then I often lack the time, however, "

The last question that we turn to the two craftsmen and have a successor ready to take the baton their production. Respond with a hint of bitterness of not having children or apprentices who have undertaken their own profession.

Taxes: "I'm sorry, but the shop is likely to close when I ritire Ro activity. I would love to teach the craft to a boy and carry on this conversation. Only that young people just set foot inside the store you ask me what? Presumptuous these guys, we can not discuss. They do not seek a Master to learn. Seek immediate gain, and have no desire to renew ceramics.
But lately there's a guy who asked me to be able to learn the technique of whistles, and with my help doing something. "

Arena: "I have 2 daughters, none of which deals with ceramics. One is majoring in classical literature and the other has begun engineering. I'm sorry, but the others will do the pottery. "


photos whistles - published with the permission of Paul Loforte - are pieces in the order of G. Revenue (fish), V. Arena (puffer fish) G. Revenue (fantastic animal, asfricana mask, bird), V. Arena (fish-bird), G. Taxes (3 African masks).

texts s ono of Maximilian Trulli ( ). Reproduction.

Le informazioni storiche sono ricavate dal volume “Le città della ceramica – maioliche e porcellane in Italia, Touring Club Italiano in collaborazione con l’Ass. Italiana Città della Ceramica, 2001


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