“Ceramica Margherita” (http://www.ceramicamargherita.it/index.html) is a ceramic studio founded by Margharita D’Amato. The studio which was founded in 1996 is located in the town of Vietri sul Mari in the province of Salerno, in the Campania region of Southern Italy. Vietri is known as the gateway to the Amalfi Coast. Ms. D’Amato’s husband Giovanni Stabile manages their ceramic store in Vietri.
Vietri and all of Campania is known for its colorful ceramics. Since the 15th C. ceramicist in Campania have given their creative imagination form, shape and color in ceramics that are innovative, elegant, and often whimsical.
Standing in this long tradition Ms. D’Amato has a natural affinity for working with clay. Her works are unique; they express great joy; and they have a disarming sense of simplicity.
This ceramic nativity evokes the beautiful grotto or stable in which Jesus was born. The grotto is painted azure bleu, reminiscent of the beautiful blue grotto on the nearby island of Capri. The Star of Bethlehem is perched on the grotto. Behind the star is a decorative string of lemons, so typical for the Amalfi Coast. On top of the grotto in a beautifully bucolic setting of a shepherdess offering a baby goat something to drink.
The holy family is piously situated in the grotto. Mary looks beatific as she adores the baby Jesus lying in the manger, draped with a whimsical bleu blanket. Only Jesus has a halo. Joseph stands by leaning on a staff, protectively tending to Mary and Jesus.
A very playful and colorful ox and donkey in the back of the grotto complete the scene, their mouths wide open in acclamation. They fulfill the Biblical prophecies from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 1:3: “The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but my people do not understand.” Also, the Gospel of the Pseudo-Matthew mentions that an ox and donkey were present fulfilling the prophecy of Habakkuk 3:2: “Between two animals you are made manifest.”.
I found this joyful nativity in a ceramic store in Amalfi in 2016.
This exquisite nativity was crafted in the Celadon Ceramic Studios run by Duangkamol Srisukri whose father started the studios. Setting this nativity apart is the Celadon technique as well as the traditional Thai setting featuring Thai garb, the Thai angel known as a deva and the water buffalo.
Celadon is the name given by Europeans to a very specific type of ceramic that was originally developed some 2000 years ago in the Zhejiang province of China. Celadon ceramic is characterized by a specific type of glaze as well as by its jade green color. Today, Celadon is produced in many different Asian countries, including Thailand.
This elegant Nativity is from Chulucanas, a town situated on the side of Mt. Vicús in the northwestern coastal region of Peru. Chulucanas is well known for its rich and ancient tradition of pottery making. The technique used is known as “reverse technique” and has been handed down from the ancient pre-Columbian inhabitants of this region. Their ceramics are displayed today in some museums under the name of Vicus pottery.
Usually monochrome brown or black this stylized Chulucanas Nativity is set apart by it’s complex coloring highlighted by the gold.
This beautiful Holy Family is a stylized version of a traditional Andean Holy Family. Using contemporary lines and traditional color patterns the artists arrives at a wonderful balance between old and new.
This Peruvian nativity presents the Holy Family is very young people. In most nativities this is the case with Mary, however, traditionally Joseph is depicted as an older man who is somewhat removed from Mary and the Christ Child. In this Nativity Mary, Joseph and Jesus as shown lying down in an intimate embrace. The animals are lying down next to the Holy Family.
This nativity, set is a Peruvian village is lit by the glow of the candle on the inside of the candle holder. The glow of a Peruvian village home spills out to surround the Holy Family. This ceramic tea light holder hand-formed and hand-painted.
This touching nativity reveals how the art of Andean highlands artisans is grounded both in their daily life and in their personal faith as they depict the Holy Family in their own traditional Andean image.