Thursday, April 10, 2014


One of the materials we use in painting is turpentine, in Italian it is called Trementina, with the stress on tina. Although Elizabeth and I bring some supplies from our studios, we thought that the airlines and T.S.A. would have a dim view of carrying flammable liquids on board an aircraft. So, we only packed a few panels, paper , pencils and brushes, and the rest we would purchase in Italy. We thought we would be able to buy turpentine in any hardware store......not so easy! After asking around and being told we would have to go to Perugia, again, not so easy, Johnny Apodaca, a fellow artist, said that there exists
 an art store in Deruta, and they they probably sold turpentine.

Grazie Johnny ( and Janelle) per l' informazione!

That was good news since Deruta was on our list of towns that we had never visited and it is the leading ceramic center of Umbria, and that there is a very interesting church just south of town. Monday was a sunny day with warm breezes coming up from Northern Africa, we decided to take a day trip to Deruta.

There is Janelle .....up there in the window!

The Business Trip ( per gita affari)

Usually we try to avoid driving on the large highways due to congestion, trucks and crazy high speed drivers. Instead, we studied our map and decided to take back roads. 

It was a beautiful drive  through the Umbrian countryside, and after getting lost a few times we arrived in Deruta and after finding the wrong place after a couple of times, finally ended up at what looked like an abandoned factory....but there it was Mondo Ceramica, and they carried trementina, "Hooray!"
plus a whole bunch of other stuff. Artists turn into children in candy store when let loose in an art 
supply store.

The Shopping Trip ( fare la spesa)

Elizabeth and I are big fans of Italian maiolica and own a small collection of vases and a variety of plates. We decided that  on this trip we were going to start building a dinner service.
We saw Elizabeth Minchilli's book on Deruta ceramics, and then her blog post on Deruta and went directly to Sberna, one of her favorite shops.


After wanting to buy everything we calmed down and zeroed in on a pattern we both loved.

The woman that assisted us was very helpful. She showed examples of how to 'Mix and Match' these plates with pasta bowls etc. Sounded like a fun idea for table setting.

We are very excited about our purchase.
Little by little we will build a set.

The Pilgrimage (il pellegrini)

Chiesa Madonna Dei Bagni (Our Lady of The Baths)  or in one translation it is , Our Lady of The Small Bathroom, is a few kilometers south of Deruta. The story, in short, is that in the 1600's a farmer , Christofono,was going to town to buy medicine for his gravely ill wife. On the way he found a ceramic voto of the Madonna with Baby Jesus and picked it up and placed it in the crotch of an oak tree. When he returned home to his wife, guess what? she was well again. Your standard Italian miracle.

Behind the glass a plaque to Christofono and his wife, along with the oak tree.

A church was built on the site with the oak tree still in the ground inside the alter. The sick and injured have been making a pilgrimage to this church seeking and finding a cure . As thanks, they had commemorative ceramic votive plaques made in Deruta and put on the walls of the Church .

This has been going on for three hundred years. And what a story they tell.

injured in a fall

shot by highway bandits

 gored by bull

lightning stike

injured in battle

afflicted by demons

injured in a fall from a tree


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