Umbria unveiled: the workshop museum Antica Fornace in Deruta

antica fornace Baiano Deruta

I come into the shop – workshop – museum “Antica Fornace” in Deruta, immediately greeted by the founder, Mr. Francesco Baiano. He accompanies me, with courtesy and enthusiasm, on a visit through his collection of ceramics, an astounding collection of pottery and ceramic production in Deruta from 1400 to the present.

A journey through the objects. There are apothecary jars, some of which are very curious. In addition to scrolls bearing the inscriptions of the contents, there are also illustrations of the use of the medication, a collection of 200 dishes, each one different from the other, upon which different artists have expressed their genius and their mastery and their signature mark.

I see very special examples of pottery that imitate pewter, silver, or seem entirely covered in gold. There are other examples, like special lusters, of which the great master was Alpinolo Magnini. He used to burn broom (gorse) to achieve a special iridescent result and the recipe for that is in the possession of Mr. Baiano.

There are unique and unexpected items such as the wall plates which have a double bottom to hold liquor, made during the U.S. Prohibition era or the production by an artist of Città di Castello, De Rigu, who created everyday items such as oil bottles, ashtrays, etc., in the form of mechanical gears, both struck me and surprised me at the same time.

There are pieces with reproductions of the Byzantine mosaics of Ravenna, whose difference from those made today, Francesco says, lies in the fact that the incisions were made entirely by hand and not with molds.

Every ceramist or painter brings not only their imagination and art to each piece but also, creates the techniques that change and evolve over the course of history.

“Antica Fornace” is a treasure trove of unexpected treasures… of art, passion, dedication and life… the intersection of so many lives and so many stories related to these masterpieces of Deruta pottery, which the family Baiano, with passion and pride holds, for all those who want to be fascinated.

by Benedetta Tintillini

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