Duca di Camastra
from clay to art
It all starts with clay. Without it our ideas could not be realised, our work could not exist. Clay is a mixture of minerals and water that is modeled by hand, then dried and baked in the oven. The Terracotta thus obtained is glazed and decorated by hand. Resistant and colorful objects are obtained from a clay and malleable material. It seems almost like magic, but it is only art.
The history of the Duca di Camastra company is comparable to that of a tree. The first seed was planted in 1960 by Salvatore Esposito, brother of Ciro Michele Esposito, who for forty years directed the Istituto d’Arte per la Ceramica. Salvatore and Ciro Michele were originally from Grottaglie, where the family’s ceramic business dates back to the 1920s.
With each succeeding generation, a new branch sprouts up and the small artisan workshop grows and bears new fruits. At the end of the 1980s it took the name of Duca di Camastra and the production was further expanded: from tiles to garden furniture, up to lava stone tables.
Now in its fourth generation, Duca di Camastra is a sturdy tree, with branches stretching towards the future and roots firmly planted in its land.
The art of ceramics in Santo Stefano
In 1682 the city of Santo Stefano was completely destroyed by a landslide. About ten years later it was rebuilt by Giuseppe Lanza, Duke of Camastra, from which it will later take its name. In this second life, the town has centered its economy and cultural identity on handcrafted artistic ceramics, becoming the most important production center in northern Sicily.
From the inspiration with various ceramic traditions, such as Neapolitan and Marseillaise, over time the local artisans have been able to derive and make their own style easily recognizable. The colors and decorative motifs typical of Santo Stefano di Camastra ceramics can be found everywhere: on the facades of the houses, inside the historic buildings, along the streets of the town, making it a real open-air museum. Starting from here, the Esposito family exported the beauty of Santo Stefano ceramics from one end of the world to the other, from Dubai to New York.
In our way since 1962,
Heart, Passion and People.
How is made
All our creations are made following the artisan techniques of the Santo Stefano di Camastra ceramic tradition.
The clay in the soft state is modeled by hand. The pieces thus obtained are dried in their natural state, in order to allow the water to evaporate slowly. The dried product is baked and the so-called biscuit is obtained. We then move on to the coloring phase. Terracotta is first glazed and then decorated with a brush. The traditional stamping technique is used for the decoration of the tiles: the color is applied with a brush on perforated masks that reproduce the design to be created.
The enameled and decorated pieces are put in the oven again. During the last firing, the enamel and color powders melt and harden, giving the shine, impermeability and resistance typical of Majolica.
The art and craft for future, expression and identity of Sicily
Preserving the future of the ceramist is one of the goals that our company has pursued since its foundation. Particular attention was given in the past to the training of new generations, just think of the work of Ciro Michele Esposito. The local School of Drawing, transformed into an Istituto d’Arte per la Ceramica, under his direction has become the most important technical school for ceramics together with the Accademia di Belle Arti in Palermo.
We want to use the same commitment for the future. It is our intention to continue to pass on the profession of the ceramist, to ensure that the tradition that has been the economic and social glue and which has been so important in the history of our land, can continue to exist as a source of pride and cultural identity for the generations that will come after us.
Nel rispetto delle nostre origini, guardiamo al futuro come alla possibilità di muoversi verso nuovi orizzonti da esplorare. Dalla commistione tra motivi tradizionali e design contemporaneo, nasce Desuir.