More than 100 artisans are brought together in a directory of Valencia’s historic ceramic community, which was compiled by potter Ana Illueca to make the region’s artisan skills more “internationally visible and locally accessible”.
Funded as part of Valencia’s designation as World Design Capital for 2022, the Ceramic DNA search engine allows prospects and collaborators to find ceramists in their region according to their location and specialization.
According to Illuecathe project represents the first attempt to map the enduring expertise of the local ceramic community, which has existed for centuries.
“The oldest ceramic fragments found in the area date from 7,000 years ago,” she told Dezeen.
“Valencia has four ceramic schools and seven ceramic museums. We have the know-how, the suppliers, the raw materials, the industry, the craftsmanship and we have the talent for ceramics,” she said. added.
“The map will help make professionals visible internationally and accessible locally. It will contribute to the sharing of knowledge between ceramicists and with society in general.”
The 106 potters highlighted in the directory come from the three provinces of Valencia and were chosen from 153 applicants by a committee of experts led by Jaume Coll Conesa, the director of Spain National Ceramics Museum.
The objective is to highlight ceramists who preserve the local cultural heritage and, ultimately, to facilitate their collaboration with manufacturers, creators and brands.
This is particularly important, explained Illueca, because crafts and ceramics are rarely recognized as drivers of social and economic value, and therefore often lack institutional support and funding within the EU.
“According to a report by the School of Economics of the University of Valencia, ceramic craftsmanship is one of the sectors that, on a small scale, can be part of the long-awaited transition from the Valencian production model to activities based on culture and creativity,” she explained.
“This can help improve our levels of productivity and have positive impacts not only on economic regeneration but also on levels of health and well-being of the population and on social cohesion and community participation.”
As a member of Design capital of the world programme, Ceramic DNA will organize a collective exhibition in Valence in 2022, as well as works at Maison&Objet in Paris.
Ahead of the year-long initiative, a modular MUT Design pavilion clad in thousands of reclaimed wooden scales traveled across Spain to showcase the work of 50 Valencian designers.