L’Arte della Bottega

December 6, 2011 / Art & Archaeology
Montottone, La Marche
There are moments when traveling that are so rare I hesitate to breathe in too deeply for fear of breaking the spell. My day with Annamaria in her pottery studio was one of those times.

Located in this lesser known region of Le Marche, La Bottega dei Vasai has been using traditional techniques here since 1851. By following in the footsteps of her father and the family before him, Annamaria Bozzi became the first female master potter. She and her brother passionately carry on the age-old traditions giving new life to a trade that was once slowly dying.

We found the unassuming entrance of bottega just outside the town walls along a narrow road. Chickens scattered as I stepped out of the car and I hesitated momentarily, not sure I was even in the right spot. As we entered, Annamaria greeted us warmly and immediately began to show us around. This was like no other place I had seen before. The studio was cool from the thick stone walls and it smelled of time. Vases, bowls and plates were tucked into every corner; wooden steps lead us up and down to each room. We were able to crawl around the kilns, watch her brother glazing pots and see all the finished works in the modest showroom.

Then Annamaria lead us up to the corner of the studio where she sat at her pottery wheel and gave us a first hand demonstration. Watching her so effortlessly create a delicate bowl from a mound of clay was hypnotizing. Unexpectedly she invited us to try our hand on the wheel. Unfortunately my efforts were neither effortless nor hypnotizing. But there was something magical about sitting there, my hands wet with clay, creating at the same seat as Annamaria, her father and his father had done for decades before me. Patiently she guided each one of us, even teaching my young daughter.

This became more than a pottery studio; this became a tactile look into a way of life that has been virtually unchanged for centuries. As we left the bottega the experience clung to me, just like the clay that stuck under my fingernails.

L’Arte della Bottega di Bozzi Anna Maria. (The video, in Italian, is well worth watching. Best Annamaria quote? “We must not loose the memory contained in our hands..” -ed.)

bottega-vasai

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– Kindly contributed by Andi Brown, self-styled “travel junkie and Italy addict”. Andi has created a great Italian travel planning business where she helps design custom vacations for her clients, and blogs about it all here.

7 Responses to “L’Arte della Bottega”

  1. giuseppe spano (jojo)
    giuseppe spano (jojo)

    and what an excellent potter she is…ah but that is what happens when they get bored with making Olive all’Ascolana .

    Reply
  2. Anne Robichaud

    Giuseppe, ha!~ loved your comment above…and Andi, thanks for a good note, ending with such a touching (and true) quote from Anna Maria. Long live the artisans.

    Reply
  3. Julie Anna

    We were just in Le Marche for 5 weeks visiting family. Where is Le Marche is she located? We scoured the area. Oh and by the way the olive Ascolana are to die for!!! Hve been eating them since childhood!

    Reply
  4. We stayed in Monterubbiano when we found her not to far from us. Pedaso is the larger town on the coast, then head west. Her studio is literally against the outside of the towns walls.
    Here is a link to her site and includes directions for those close or an online option, its in Italian.
    I’m so glad you enjoyed the note!
    Andi

    Reply
  5. Marcia Vitton

    We will be in your area in June about the June 16,17,18. Is it possible to visit?
    Thank you!

    Reply

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