About Modra Ceramics
Modra’s pottery tradition in the region is almost 400 years old.
What is really important to mention is that the entire production is hand-made & hand-painted.
First the clay reaches the hands of a master. With the help of the potter’s wheel he breathes life into the ductile clay. The pitched jar or vase then rests and slowly dries. When the raw piece is completely dried, which could take up to one month for larger pieces, it can go for its first firing in a ceramic furnace with a temperature of 980 – 1000°C / 1796 -1832°F for 8 hours.
The fired piece passes into the hands of another master, an artistic ceramist – a painter. The painter immerses the piece into the underlying glaze on which they freely paint decorations.
The painted majolica is fired again in a ceramic furnace at a temperature of 950 / 1150°C / 1742 – 2102°F. And now the ceramic is fully glazed. The glaze doesn’t just have an aesthetic function, but it becomes more resistant and impervious.
1, What are the typical motifs?
Typical motifs are based on nature, depicting roses, flower buds adorned with leaves and painted on a white base glare.
Of course, the masters – painters also depicted other elements of the surrounding nature – vines, animals, but also events from people’s lives, such was festivals, work in the fields.
2, Four types of decor according to the color combination
a, Bright decor uses red, yellow, blue, green, brown and purple color.
b, Blue decor is painted exclusively in blue.
c, Green decor means a dominant green color in combination with brown to draw ornament’s contours.
d, Haban decor contains all colors except red.
3, Who were the Habans?
The formation of Modra painted ceramic was influenced by a religious group known as Habans. They came in the 16th century from the Alpine countries (Germany, Switzerland) to Moravia (nowadays in Czechia) and to Western Slovakia (towns such as Skalica, Gbely, Brodske, Sastin, Borsky Jur, Casta and other). They were especially skilful at jug making and they were familiar with colourfully painted white-based pottery.
The clay’s journey, where the master’s skillful hands created a unique Slovak folk majolica, ends with collectors, but also as a household utility all around the world. The vases come alive with flowers, jugs with wine and plates with food – fulfilling their century-old traditional mission.
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