Salvino De Donatis Ceramiche Artistiche dal 1650
Cutrofiano - Lecce
"To me making pottery is living on art: feeding your life with something beautiful and positive for yourself."
Salvino De Donatis
History: The workshop of Salvino De Donatis has long roots in the past, linked to the territory and to the history of Cutrofiano, a small town in the province of Lecce. The De Donatis lineage has been working with clay for centuries, since 1650: since then the pottery art has been handed down from father to son (and daughter) at the De Donatis’ house, until today in the strong and skilled hands of maestro Salvino (Salvatore) , born in '56, and his kids Claudia and Vito, young and proud artisans.
Distinguishing features: The peculiarity of the De Donatis productions was firstly introduced by the ceramic artist Vito De Donatis (1923-1999), the father of Salvino, who had to reinvent his job at the end of the 50s, upon the arrival of plastic and consequent crisis of terracotta for domestic use: therefore began to produce whistles, kids’ toys back to that time, other small objects such as bells, lamps, amphorae, birds, and even decorative objects such as artistic and floral miniatures. Nonno Vito (also called "Vitucciu Riti") is also appreciated for his clay sculptures, produced in the last period of his artistic life. So spontaneous, so necessary, the figures of Vito De Donatis are unconscious characters of a community shaped in clay.
Current production: Today the De Donatis continue to produce small and medium-sized artistic ceramics (their "pumi", i.e. ceramic blossoms) and everyday terracotta objects, revisited in an artistic and modern key as well.
What is the most extravagant object you have ever made?
I started doing "strange things" to have my artistic and personal emancipation: the professional "splitting" from my father stems from the need to get away from perfection, to experiment with clay and its forms. I have always followed the rigor of tradition, of the method handed down by my teacher, but I wanted to leave my mark in the history of the family shop, where I was born and raised. And so, once I created the perfect object (I started with bottles), I decided to deform it, letting my hands go, going beyond those well-marked canons that I studied, learned and repeated many times, creating objects without a name or a generic connotation, but unique and personal, made by responding to my own genuine creative need, bringing into the physical world what I was feeling inside, playing with shapes, doughs, colors and glazes. There is a dichotomy between the ceramic art market and the ceramic art culture: the first is for few, for those who do the job, the second is for everyone, it belongs to the community. It is up to each of us to make our own joint.
You've been doing this job for decades, yet your passion for clay, pottery and terracotta does not seem to fade: aren't you tired of making ceramics and talking about ceramics?
No, I'm not tired, because I've always nurtured this work with new incentives and new interpretations.
And I think I will never get tired.
What I hope is that, when my time comes, I'll have a piece of clay in my hands and I'll be working on it ...