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Agalis Manessi’s work lies within the tradition of maiolica and celebrates this rich historical medium. Her influences are diverse, ranging from the sophistication of Italian Istoriato dishes through to the simplicity of humble folk wares.
Maiolica is a ceramic process developed over five hundred years ago. The red terracotta clay is dipped in an earthenware glaze into which tin oxide has been added to create a white opaque glossy surface when fired. Before firing, the glaze is painted with a range of metal oxides (copper, cobalt, iron, manganese, vanadium etc.) mixed with a diluted glaze solution.
Successive layers of oxides of different strengths are built up on the chalky surface; at this stage the colour bears little resemblance to the fired result. Knowledge of the way the colour is transformed in the firing process has been acquired over many years of testing. Yet even with this knowledge the unpredictability of the end result is ever present; but as the different oxides interact with each other in this almost alchemical process, the potential for disappointment is often outweighed by a range of wonderful colour surprises.