Enza Fasano: a triumph of colour, between history and modernity.

Enza Fasano‘s workshop is the true spearhead of Grottaglie ceramic art.
The master in fact grew up among terracottas, and having practiced this art all her life has allowed her to develop a refined and recognizable taste.
Today, in her historic atelier, she creates artefacts inspired by local tradition, but also reinvented with originality and enriched by shapes and chromatic plays; pieces that know how to surprise, the result of years in the workshop, family school and improvement, and suitable to satisfy a cosmopolitan and demanding clientele.
The large showroom presents hundreds of objects of great beauty: from the typical Apulian tradition to the more functional elements for the table and for the home.
In 2020, Enza Fasano gained the title “MAM – Master of Art and Craft”, bestowed by the Cologni Foundation.

Tell us your story and how was the Enza Fasano workshop born?
My story starts with my grandparents, who have always worked with clay.
My family and I have continued the tradition: my daughter, a designer, creates the collections for the company and my husband is the production manager. We continue to do it with the same passion of my ancestors, but with an eye to innovation, by studying new shapes, colours and decorations.
I still remember the emotion I felt as a young girl in seeing a potter shaping a “capasone”, an ancient wine container, 180 centimeters high, starting from a piece of clay, and thus composing the three pieces and assembling them together.
In this path, there has been no shortage of difficulties, mostly of a family nature, but the passion for this job made me overcome any obstacle.
I also remember with emotion my first sale: an object made with very little tools and materials available.
Today, after these difficulties, I am proud to have realised my dream of being appreciated by connoisseurs and a discerning public, and proud to adorn enchanting homes and hotels with our objects.
We have been able to expand our workshop.

What ceramic collections do you create?
There are many but I can summarise by saying that we produce table collections, lamps, garden vases and various objects. My favourite ones are lamps and ornamental objects.

How important is tradition in your work and how do you manage to combine it with the ability to innovate?
Everything we do comes from tradition, whether it is the shape, the decoration or the production technique. We have been making ceramics for five generations, the tools have changed but the techniques are the same as they used to be. We have a historical repertoire to which I spontaneously refer.
I like to interpret history and bring it into modern environments.

We also have some emblematic collections in this respect. For example, the slim vases: ‘slim’ is the elongated shape of the objects, borrowed from Grottaglie tradition, that were once used for pouring water, wine and oil, the so-called vummile, trufolo and oliera. This collection is very popular, and combines the custom of the past with the style of the present, giving new life to ancient forms and creating a renewed way of conceiving the home.

Another collection that combines tradition and innovation is the ‘pupa’ (doll) and the cavalier: from the feudal period we remember the legend of the ‘Pupe with moustaches’. It is said that the iniquitous ‘jus primae noctis’ unleashed the jealousy of a future husband who, in order not to have his consort owned by the feudal lord on duty, disguised himself as a bride by presenting himself before the nobleman, but because he had forgotten to shave off his moustaches, he was soon discovered. As punishment, he was ordered to provide the best of his wine in anthropomorphic ceramic flasks in memory of the betrayal, later called ‘Pupe’. Today, Pupas with and without moustaches are reproduced, also in the ‘horse’ version to commemorate the groom’s escape from the castle, also used as candlesticks or as lamp bases.

Or the pizzolato table service, a collection that originated between the 14th and 15th centuries, originally enamelled in typical colours such as ivory or green. A highlight of our production for its particular hammered edge, obtained by turning a serrated tool on the edge of the dish while still soft. We offer this collection in the 37 colours in our palette, the infinite possible combinations that make the mood of this table unique and unexpected every time.

Where does the inspiration for your works come from?
From tradition, as I explained before, and from nature, from which the collection of artichokes, agave leaves, octopuses and fish was born.

How important is the connection with the city of Grottaglie for your work?
This is where it all starts. In the past, there were many clay quarries in Grottaglie and this is why the art of ceramics spread. In ancient times, mainly tableware and large containers for food were produced, as well as traditional ornamental objects representing myths and legends, such as the doll with a moustache, and decorations such as the “smammriato” which we still use today, always re-designed in a modern way. The stylistic bond with Grottaglie is therefore very strong.

Do you also carry out educational activities? Are you available to welcome young people for training internships?
We currently only host one artist residency per year. Our dream is to pass on our knowledge through educational activities, but at the moment we are unable to for reasons of time and space.
The artist residency held annually is curated by Terraterra, an invitation-only art residency programme dedicated to tableware. Terraterra selects the artists, while my daughter Giovanna is mainly in charge of this project. The objects created during the residency are tableware: in past years the artists have worked on the lines of our flat plates and jugs, while this year they worked on the glasses, designing and modifying our shapes, and entrusting the production to us.

What are your plans for the future of your business?
We dream of a cultural and educational place that complements our production.
We would like to expand the residency experience, adding even longer classes for professionals, in which they can complete their projects themselves.
Another dream is to organize an immersive experience in the world of ceramics. Our company preserves ancient production spaces and tools, such as ancient wood-fired ovens and pedal lathes. We have the desire to open these places to show them to those interested in our work, showing both the modern and ancient workshops.

Enza Fasano
Via Caravaggio, 31 – Grottaglie (Taranto)
Ph. +39 3483573110