On our last Thursday’s Virtual tour we visited a wonderful traditional ceramic workshop Majolika in a little town Modra. It is located in Small Carpathian Hills, less than 20 miles from the capital Bratislava.
Modra’s pottery tradition in this region is almost 400 years old (Modra town is also famous for wine making, but that’s not today’s subject:)
We were welcomed by the owner Mrs. Fuňová and Filip who was our spectacular guide.
What is really important to mention is that the entire production is hand-made & hand-painted.
First the clay reaches the hands of a master. With the help of the potter’s wheel he breathes life into the ductile clay. The pitched jar or vase then rests and slowly dries. When the raw piece is completely dried, which could take up to one month for larger pieces, it can go for its first firing in a ceramic furnace with a temperature of 980 – 1000°C / 1796 -1832°F for 8 hours.
The fired piece passes into the hands of another master, an artistic ceramist – a painter. The painter immerses the piece into the underlying glaze on which they freely paint decorations.
The painted majolica is fired again in a ceramic furnace at a temperature of 950 / 1150°C / 1742 – 2102°F. And now the ceramic is fully glazed. The glaze doesn’t just have an aesthetic function, but it becomes more resistant and impervious.
Working on the pottery wheel
Modra ceramic is hand-painted
The sequence of production
What are the typical motifs?
Typical motifs are based on nature, depicting roses, flower buds adorned with leaves and painted on a white base glare.
Of course, the masters – painters also depicted other elements of the surrounding nature – vines, animals, but also events from people’s lives, such was festivals, work in the fields.
Four types of decor according to the color combinations
1, Bright decor uses red, yellow, blue, green, brown and purple color.
2, Blue decor is painted exclusively in blue.
3, Green decor means a dominant green color in combination with brown to draw ornament’s contours.
4, Haban decor contains all colors except red.
The formation of Modra painted ceramic was influenced by a religious group known as Habans. They came in the 16th century from the Alpine countries (Germany, Switzerland) to Moravia (nowadays in Czechia) and to Western Slovakia (towns such as Skalica, Gbely, Brodske, Sastin, Borsky Jur, Casta and other). They were especially skilful at jug making and they were familiar with colourfully painted white-based pottery.
Four typical motifs of Modra majolica
The clay’s journey, where the master’s skillful hands created a unique Slovak folk majolica, ends with collectors, but also as a household utility all around the world. The vases come alive with flowers, jugs with wine and plates with food – fulfilling their century-old traditional mission.
In our last 12 years, we have been visiting Modra Majolica numerous times with our tourists from all around the world. They all loved to see the step by step hand-production and they loved to buy little souvenirs from the shop.
However, this year due to world-wide pandemic restrictions, as it is not possible to travel and visit the workshop with tourists (at the moment only tourists coming from EU countries can enter Slovakia), we have decided to go to Modra majolika personally and to bring you our Slovak traditions closer to you through our Thursday LIVE Virtual Tour on Facebook Best Slovakia Tours (you can find it here) and also this helpful travel blog.
Shop inside Modra majolika
Are you interested in buying Majolika original products?
If you like these traditional, hand-made, hand-painted ceramic pieces and you would like to purchase them, here’s the fastest way how to do it.
Visit our website BestSlovakiaTours.com and click on Eshop on the top of the homepage, or visit directly our new online store on eshop-bestslovakiatours.com.
The website is super easy to navigate, it is in English and of course, we are ready to assist you.
After you have finished your purchase, we will be back to you with the confirmation and detailed information about the total price with shipping costs and delivery time.
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Slovak Folk Pottery / Slovenská ľudová majolica became a part of the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Slovakia in November 2017.
We would like to thank you to Modra Majolika workshop for making our virtual tour possible. Special thanks for provided photographs.
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Peter, founder & CEO of Best Slovakia Tours