Giovanni D’Angelo was eleven years old when he first picked up a piece of clay, made his first ceramic work and understood that from that moment onwards, he would never stop. He would carry on the old tradition of potters and ceramists that had been passed down in his family. It is for this reason that pottery is his life.
Pottery is one of the greatest inventions of history where, despite the influence of digital technology in today’s world, it is still the human presence that make a difference.
In the Madonie, it is an art that has its roots in the fifteenth century, in particular in Polizzi Generosa and Collesano, albeit in a more subdued way than anywhere else. And yet, the fact that they are more isolated has not just disadvantaged it, but has also allowed them to remain and consolidate themselves throughout time with their own style: more popular, archaic, unique. A style that throughout the years has been anything else but dim, even coming to be adorned by Dolce&Gabbana’s brand Domenico Dolce, starting with Polizzi, who has commissioned various creations from the D’Angelo family, both personal and public.
But the magic of the ancient know-how that goes back centuries cannot be understood unless you try it for yourselves: it is for this reason that you should go and see Giovanni, because only then can traditions keep on surviving people, time, and space. In reality, it is not just about tradition, as Giovanni, like any true artist, has not limited himself to faithfully handing down what he knows with dedication, but throughout the years, he has experimented with passion with new creations, the fruit of careful research, in a continuous tension towards a satisfaction which he never feels he has reached. And his works have ended up answering the requirements of more modern architecture and contemporary furniture fitting, as Dolce’s choices show.
Therefore, if you decide to spend two days in this Madonite workshop, you can experience all the phases, starting from working with clay as its found all the way through to putting your creation in the old kilns and glazing it with the classic colours of majolica, which smell of true history, Sicily and life, because trying to do something for a day is always better than having never tried it.
Alternatively, if you’re in more of a rush, you can create a raku pottery dish in just a couple of hours: a particular type of clay, worked with a Japanese technique allows you to gain a quicker result. And then comes the shop with all Giovanni’s creations: here, his mother, with few but vivid words, will carry you off to another world, far away, where pottery was anything but an exception. Polizzi’s pottery goes well beyond the D’Angelo family’s personal history: it is part of the everyday life and history of all the Madonites, whose pottery can be found in several towns, on the corner of the streets, on its front doors, in the streets, as signs of the businesses: there to declare its belonging.
A belonging that seems untouchable, at least until you get your hands dirty.