|In 1994, Katrina Steel was on vacation in Italy where she toured the small artisan town of Deruta with the intention of gathering information to start her own business. A chance encounter with one of the “factory” heads led to an offer to “come anytime and paint your own ceramics” along with the promise to produce them for her exclusively. Within weeks, she returned to design the line that started Vespucci Ltd.
Each year, Katrina returns to Italy for several weeks to create the original new pieces and to work with the painters to ensure quality and integrity of design. It is a labor of love for the artisans and respect for the time-honored traditions of Deruta.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Maioliche pottery was revered as the quintessential art form of the Renaissance period. Today, the Italians who produce the Vespucci Ltd. line use the same hand constructed techniques though using lead-free glazes and modern electric kilns.
Fine Umbrian clay is hand-mixed and molded into a variety of shapes before being fired to bisque stage in a kiln set at 1922 degrees Fahrenheit. The bisque is then dipped into a glaze of mineral oxides which dries to a powdery white finish. The designs of Katrina Steel are transferred through a stencil by a graphite-filled pounce bag onto this surface. The design is then carefully painted by hand with lead free glazes – each stroke evident in the finished piece. Various hues are determined by the amount of water in the glaze at any given moment. Finally, the piece is sprayed with a clear crystalline glaze and then fired for the second time at 1688 degrees Fahrenheit.
Each piece will have slight variations in form and painting. These are not flaws, but the evidence that a team of artisans has created each piece uniquely for you.
All Vespucci Ltd. products are free of lead and cadmium, safe by all FDA standards. Our products are safe in dishwashers or ovens at low heat settings when handled with care. They are not microwaveable.