The Moriga Bottega is in its 37th year of existence. Mirta Morigi was born in Faenza ( Italy ) where she lives and works today. After attending the Istituto D’Arte G.Ballardini in 1973 she opened her “Bottega Di Ceramica (Studio of Ceramics)”. Her masterpieces reflect both the traditonal and the contemporary. She employs the ancient techniques of producing and painting the ceramic pieces and injecting modern style and meaning into traditional designs. Her more “traditional” designs reflect her intense, passionate understanding and appreciation of the historic roots of maiolica design. Her less traditional designs reflect her love of animals and their inherently whimsical and spontaneous nature.
Her shop is in the historic center of the city, and over the years has become, in keeping with the renaissance style, a place of encounter and exchange between people and cultures, artists and designers of renown, and her ceramics, even today, is the successful synthesis of the noble past of Faience majolica with the future. Not only is it a unique ceramic workshop, it is also made up and conducted mainly by women, Mirta and her girls- containers of ideas, crossing genres and technique, it is a place of ‘”intelligent hands”, a treasure trove of that genius loci that made Faience known to all the world.
Row of Mirta Morigi red glaze vases
The art critic Sandro Bassi described her style: Like a jazz piece, Morigi mixes classical style with improvisation, dissonance with poetry, elegant tradition with sentimental pottery. It has been more instinctive than meditated, resulting from a stream of consciousness, not academia, that has defined her ceramics as ‘currently traditional’: this paradox is one that recurs when one wants to express a little of the charm that, often, contradicts itself. Then, Morigi, after having played for years with tradition, has abandoned it to follow new paths always closer to fun and desecration than the restrictions of the classic Faenza maiolica. The capacity to combine such diverse elements appears to be a constant route for Morigi, as her workshop maintains its roots in tradition, while the investigation and purposes of her work are contemporary; the figure of ‘maestro’ is intertwined with the style of the apprentice, not unlike those of the medieval and renaissance studios. The nature of the objects doesn’t respond to a precise market demand, but rather to messages that, from time to time, often profoundly come from the heart, from pride and rationality that translate themselves in the execution. Morigi continues in her diverse method of working with ceramics – using all that goes through her mind beyond that which is requested (from fittings and furnishings to architecture: whether for a house or an inn, for a cruise ship or a public building, or for a town square or a simple shop).
Lizard handled vase – Mirta Morigi
Mirta Morigi decorating a pot
Mirta Morigi – 2011
Ceramic ‘Burdela’ figurines – Mirta Morigi
Mirti Morigi ceramic figurines 2011
The pop references in her work came to fruition this year in the “Burdela” collection (Romagnole dialect for ‘little girl’)- small ceramic dolls, characterized by few decorative or formal elements – and in the ”Baubo vulve mystique” collection, where she explores and interprets, with her own personal ceramic language, old myths of prehistoric “Venuses”, sorts of bizarre figures referring to the iconography of the Goddess Mother.
Studio visit :
Tiziana visited Mirta Morigi’s studio in 2010 and described her experience in thatsArte.com. .. When I stepped through the old door into Mirta’s bottega it felt like I was traveling back in time, when technology did not own our lives and working meant “laboring”. Biscotto piled up on every shelf, sketches pinned all around, brushes, easels, pieces at different production stages, busy people sitting at small desks, the perennial grayish dust of clay everywhere. Nobody seemed to pay any attention to me and I was really wondering if I had misinterpreted the indications I’d found on Mirta’s showroom window in the main street of Faenza. Then a nice girl looked up from her half painted plate and asked me if I was looking for Mirta.
A hesitant “yes, I am” and I was told “She’s in the back room”. Impossible not to feel at home! Mirta is a force of nature. For the hour or so I stayed in her bottega, she was everywhere and with everyone at the same time, molding clay owls, teaching her daughter to do the same, helping Customers in their choice, eating watermelon, chatting with me, making arrangements for lunch with a friend of hers… Strongly opinionated, full of energy, authoritative yet motherly, she runs her studio with passion and resolution. She founded her bottega more than 35 years ago, when making pottery in Faenza seemed to beat a dead horse. Many ceramicists were closing down and many others were downgrading their production. She bet on her talents, her ability to innovate and her common sense and she succeeded.
Green ceramic lizard
Black dragon figurine – Mirta Morigi
Her bottega is still there, in the court of the Barbavara House, a charming old building in the historical district of Faenza. Mirta proudly refuses the distinction between artistic ceramics and art ceramics. To her, pottery making is first of all a “mestiere”, a craft, to be lived with discipline and passion. Its aim is to provide the Customer with functional objects, that’s why she is so hugely proud of her recently launched and very successful dinnerware. However, functionality has a very broad meaning in Mirta’s opinion. She shot me a cute, rascal-ish glance, showing me some small, irregular bowls and she told me they were “smile holders” …”you know, before going out in the morning or whenever you need it you can always find a smile in here”. Those bowls… aren’t they the most functional objects you can think of?
Mirta Morigi frog pot
If I were to describe a bottega from the Renaissance I’d get my inspiration from Mirta’s. As announced by a cardboard on her door -”Mirta and her girls”, five or more young and talented pottery makers and a wheel thrower work together the artist. They are there to work and learn and they actively contribute to the success of Mirta’s production. I was truly impressed by the harmony and the cohesion of the organization. In a beautiful text that I found in the catalogue of an exhibition of Mirta’s work in Naples, she writes: “Special thanks to my girls, Edda, Serena, Francesca, Mi Hee, Erica and my daughter Gaia, because together we make “Bottega Morigi”. I share with them my ideas, my projects, my emotions and problems, with their help I can face and solve them … it’s also thanks to their patience and love that I did the trick! The old fashioned organization of Mirta’s bottega can be easily labeled as a contradiction in the attitude of an artist who is very innovative. Indeed, it is not. Mirta has always taken from the past whatever she liked or thought useful to her art, cleverly turning it into something new, unheard of, often with an abundant dose of irony.
Red Lizard vase- Mirta Morigi
The perfection of a classic shape often is broken by protrusions and warps. Flippant chameleons, long lizards, buoyant frogs complement the elegant design of tall vases, contorted platters and large bowls. Wrinkles and folds shatter her collection of “vasi sconvolti” – shattered vases – sculptural pieces that refuse to oblige the rules of symmetry. Mirta’s colors are always uncompromised. No shades soften the surfaces, with the exception of her hyper-detailed fabulous animals. If it must be green, then it’s a pure, bright green. Her favorite? Right now she’s working a lot with red: a compact, imposing red. Her friend and great artist herself, Elisabetta Bovina, commented: “Mirta imposes pottery as a popular and illustrative language. Her genre is border-line, between sophisticated tradition and unconventional innovation”. What more can we add? Mirta Morigi Via Barbavara 19/4 Faenza firstname.lastname@example.org
Blue teapot with red fishes
Moriga Bottega team
Ceramic red snake on teapot – Mirta Morigi
Tall green vase with blue frog figurine on the rim – Mirta Morigi
Red vase with frog figures on the rim – Mirta Morigi
Potters of Morigi Bottega
Mirta Morigi in her busy bottega
Mirta Morigi Shop and Studio
Mirta Morigi vases
Large green bowl with seven green lizards on the rim – Mirta Morigi
Image by Alfredo Liverani
Twin lizard motif bowl – Mirta Morigi
Image by Alfredo Liverani
Green pot with three frog figurines on the rim – Mirta Morigi
Red vase with three frogs by Mirta Morigi
Red lizard vase – Mirta Morigi
Mirta Morigi blue ceramic pitchers
Mirta Morigi website – http://www.mirtamorigiceramista.it