By Caroline Biggs

Published on October 1, 2015

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Photography by Brittany Ambridge

The brand’s peerless craftsmen school us in the fine art of ceramic sculpting inside their Italian studio.

For more than 30 years, the name VIETRI has been synonymous with fine Italian tableware. In 1983, after founder Lee Gravely and her two daughters visited Italy, they launched a brand of ceramic pieces that pays loving tribute to the country’s traditional earthenware staples. Today, VIETRI preserves this time-honored craft with its collections of dinnerware, drinkware, and bakeware, all handmade according to time-tested methods. Employing centuries-old techniques, VIETRI’s artists design, sculpt, and glaze, ensuring that each piece is truly one of a kind. “Our creations are labors of love,” CEO Susan Gravely explains. “They’re all the product of loving hands working together to bring the beauty and passion of Italy into our consumers’ homes.” 

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1. Each piece of VIETRI’s Forma dinnerware is crafted by hand, starting with a slab of stoneware clay.

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2. Clay is carefully divided in preparation of shaping.

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3. Hand-wielded tools are used to shape and etch the clay into unique designs. 

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4. Liquefied clay, or slip, is poured into molds and left to set.

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5. The biscuit (the clay object in its pre-glazed state) is removed from the mold in preparation for cleaning and refining. 

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6. After air-drying for several hours, pieces are placed into the kiln for their first firing.

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7. A color chemist perfects each hue by blending natural powder pigments. 

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8. To prevent streaking, biscuits are dipped into glaze in a smooth, controlled motion.

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9. Once the dipping process is complete, each piece is left to dry before final, quality-controlled inspections are performed.

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Photography by Brittany Ambridge

The Final Product:

Forma Leaf small pitcher by VIETRI

$89 domino.com/fall15