Slovak folk majolica can still be perceived as a symbol of Slovak ceramics. The year 1883 contributed to the beginning of the history of Slovak folk majolica, when the Ceramic – Industrial School was founded in Modra.
The process of making ceramics from clay is related to the tradition of the pottery craft in Modra. A master potter uses a potter’s wheel to shape a piece of clay into a particular shape. After drying, the potter continues to wrap the clay shape so that uneven drying does not deform it. When the clay shape is dry (which can take up to one month), it can go for its first firing in a ceramic kiln at temperatures of 980 – 1000 °C for 8 hours. After firing, the dried, fragile clay forms a strong, durable and porous ceramic shard, which is further worked with by an artistic ceramic painter who immerses the shard in the underlying glaze, on which he paints decorations with his hand.
Typical motifs of Modra majolica on white glaze are natural and often depict roses, vines, carnations, flowers decorated with leaves, animals, as well as events from people’s lives, such as harvest or field work.
Within the combinations of colours, four types of decoration can be distinguished:
Colourful decor – this decor uses bold colours, namely red, yellow, blue, green, brown and purple.
Haban decor – this decor contains all the colours of the variegated decor except red.
Blue decor – this decor is painted with blue colour only.
Green decor – this decor is dominated by green in combination with brown.
Objects with painted majolica are fired again in a ceramic kiln at a temperature of 950 – 1150 °C. The glaze not only serves an aesthetic function, but also makes the ceramic object more impermeable and resistant after firing. The originality of Slovak folk majolica is appreciated not only by collectors, but the ceramics also serve as a utilitarian object in the home. Vases serve for fresh flowers, jugs for wine and plates and cups for food and drinks.
Slovak majolica can be regularly seen at traditional events such as the Clay Festival – Ceramic Modra in Modra, the Ceramic Fair in Pezinok, ÚĽUV Masters Days, as well as on the motifs of several folklore ensembles, graphic designers and folk events. All Modra products are handmade and painted. Modra majolica and its ornamental decorations are included in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Slovakia.
The town of Modra is a place of traditional ornamentation, and in 2019 new, utilitarian and design patterns (blue feather, purple ear) were added to bring traditional Modra majolica ornamentation into the 21st century for modern users as well.
In the past, ceramics was used only in the form of household objects, but the new collections of Slovak Folk Majolica return to its most important function. Majolica holds a certificate of health safety and is protected by a trademark. It is dishwasher and microwave safe.
Visitors can see or try making pottery during an educational excursion or at a workshop, which is often combined with a wine degustation in the production facility.
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