Bringing a touch of Italy to Crookwell | PHOTOS

Deruta is small town in Umbria in central Italy, south of the capital Perugia.

Deruta is the biggest producer of the glazed Italian ceramic ware known as majolica.

Artisans in Deruta still apply centuries-old techniques to produce the ceramics, from moulding the clay by hand or press, fired at 1000 degrees, dipped in white mineral solution, the design painted free-hand or 'drawn' with a charcoal pad through pinholes in tracing paper, then hand painted, sprayed with a liquid glaze, then fired again.

Most pieces take about two-weeks from start to finish.

Jan and Marg’s love of Deruta ceramics began in 2006 during a holiday.

“Over the course of five return visits, we bought many pieces for our home, including a colourful dinner set, lamps, bowls and jugs.” explained Ms Anderson.

Mike and Marguerite Walsh from Binda joined Them during their 2014 trip to the region.

“In 2016 they approached us about starting a business selling Deruta ceramics.

“In September we spent two weeks visiting shops and factories in Deruta, selecting ceramics that we thought would convey the hand-crafted element in the shapes, textures, and colours of the finished works.”  

There are about 300 workshops in Deruta.

Over the years, whilst traveling, they have come to know a number of artists and factory owners in Deruta.

“Tourism is being affected by changing economies and global instability, and there are less visitors to their town.

“Workshops that have been going strong for generations are closing.

“Young people are unwilling to learn an ancient craft that has no potential for making a living.

“Another motivation to starting our business is that we are passionate about helping artists in this small Umbrian town survive and continue to ply their ancient craft.  

The friends launched their business and opened their 'shop' in Arcadia Crookwell on November 30 and are currently working on a website to sell items online.

“We will be expanding our range over time.” Ms Anderson said.

Most items on display in Arcadia can be purchased, including tableware, lamps, platters, jugs, and jewellery.

Some can be ordered and personalised (with your family name).

Watch the video here.