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Kèramos, the passion that becomes art

keramos14“Keramos” is a word dear to the Greeks as to the islanders. It is inextricably tied to the history, art and beauty of this land, as evidenced by the findings of terracotta and the most famous that is the Nestor’s Cup found in the necropolis of San Montano in Lacco Ameno.

“Keramos” is also the name of the workshop by Aniello di Leva, for all known as Nello, and Gaetano de Nigris, who shape as then the clay to create objects by hand, exacting demands of those who want to decorate with flair and originality the interiors and exteriors of commercial and private homes.

Considering the idea of being merchants, the two artists have wanted to recreate a lab “in the streets”, always present in many of the events in the program with plaques and awards and lively participation in the initiatives of associations, institutions and schools.

“Keramos” arises fourteen years ago, thanks to the experience that Nello and Gaetano have shared earlier in another well-known activity craft of Ischia. As the logo that represents them, both are not the implication of the same coin, since they can complement each expressing the clever technique of lathe work, followed by glazes, the other creative decorations.

In Via D’Aloisio, in the high part of Casamicciola, it is possible to follow the work behind the scenes. The exhibition laboratory becomes a natural stage in which to receive clients, friends, without preparing to raise the curtain. And it’s here that come visiting fans from Russia, Germany, and since some time also several from Japan who love handmade products.
The raw material, which comes from Salerno, is ready to be shaped. Looking distractedly some semi-finished products and objects to buy. As bakers, even Nello and Gaetano put in the oven at night, for twelve consecutive hours, and punctual await with renewed excitement and curiosity, even if they are no longer children, what is born, because when they open the oven, they deal with the imperfections and failures of new experiments.
Water, earth and air are the essential elements to be tied to tradition and innovation. The clay is molded and dried, then baked in the oven at 960 degrees, glazed and colored with mineral pigments in the ground, ready for the second batch.
One of the most impressive works that bears the “Keramos” signature can be seen in the Piazzetta in Buonopane. It is a long wall about 29 meters and composed of over 2,000 tiles decorated with scenes of everyday life of the island. ‘A vattut e l’ astec’, ‘the Ndrezzata’ represent the folklore which declines well in the role, in woven baskets, in the presence of the mules and glimpses into the cellars with ‘piennolo tomatoes’ ready for a snack. An image that takes back in time each observer, in a place where the time seems to have stopped.
It often happens that the ceramic material is able to be so light and insubstantial, as was the case for the creation of ten Saracens turbans, unique pieces on display at the Castello Aragonese on the occasion of the “Torri in Festa” which aroused curiosity and disbelief, believing were cloth.
The “Keramos” production is varied, but if it is prosperity and good fortune that you want to donate, then the pomegranates and grapes are the most popular subject choices of still life. Also characteristic landscapes with carusiello vaults, as if they still have a few in Ischia, with the shades of blue, yellow and orange, which correspond to the vibrant nature of the island.
A dip in the marine environment and then darting out the water fish with three-dimensional scales, that are used in fountains or as a decorative element of new space.
Since it was created in collaboration with schools and workshops for children with disabilities, about twelve years ago, the art of “Keramos” has abandoned the classic vision of its background working to evolve into a more naive and modern one. The figures also to demonstrate the art of the sculptor, engraver and ceramist by Aniellantonio Mascolo, now deceased, who Nello wanted to revive in breaking the tradition. He lives in his memories of childhood, when his aunt collected them in the house, Nello has changed them so the warm color of the terracotta contrasts the clothes that have become the canvas on which to give depth to the image of a landscape or on which capture the tradition of Ischia. You have just to dive!

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Info on Ischia island

  • Surface: 46 Kmq
  • Hight: 789 mt
  • Lat.: 40° 44',82 N
  • Long.: 13° 56',58 E
  • Periplus: 18 miglia
  • Coasts: 51.2 Km
  • Cities: 6
  • Inhabitants: 58.029

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