Ceramic horseshoes with ceramic bell are always in demand, as by tradition the horseshoe brings prosperity in our homes.
Vitalie Parlui combines his teaching job at the Art Institute with his wok as a national master ceramist. He started to work with ceramics approximately 10 years ago, relegating a studio on the first floor of his house in the village Cruzesti, Chisinau.
Ceramics begins with clay
The clay can be obtained (extracted) or you can buy it ready-made. With ready-made clay things are much more simpler – one should add water and create various figures or pitchers. It is much more difficult to choose and extract your own clay.
Typically, Vitalie goes to extract clay together with a few friends-ceramists. "The most popular clays are in career Iurceni, Cojusnesti and Tsiganesti" – explains the master. Clay is placed on the geological layers. It is important to choose the right one. In a layer once can find clay perfect for ceramic works, while two meters away it is already worthless.
Clay processing is a very important step
Self-mined clay must be carefully cleaned. Afterwards it is diluted with water until it reaches a liquid, creamy state and is filtered through a fine sieve. It is necessary to remove the stones, pieces of wood, roots of plants. Further purification removes lime pieces of clay. Lime is the enemy of a ceramist. When this product is heated, the lime remaining in the clay "shoots" and destroys the product.
Then the excess moisture is removed from the clay. When it becomes like plasticine, the raw material is ready to work and once can give it a desired shape and leave it to dry naturally. On average, the drying takes a week.
The raw material is covered with a pattern - special inks that dry with it. Then comes the first heating. It is necessary to place the drawing on the product. "Glazes patterns are of all sorts - says the ceramist - The most simple one is transparent. There are also colored or even iridescent glazes patterns ". Then the product is submitted to second heating, and after that it is completely ready.
"I work as a potter, - says Vitalie Parlui – using a pottery wheel." In this way the master creates jugs, bowls, plates, which are then covered with either geometric patterns or national Moldovan drawings.
In earlier times, the potter was one of the most appreciated professions. Pottery workshop could serve several villages. Now, in the era of single-use packaging, no one pours milk or sunflower oil from plastic bottles to clay jugs. Therefore, the current pottery objects are usually made for decorative purposes.
Not only dishes
Vitalie creates flat beautiful figures of peasant girls and boys in national costumes by stamping. It is a tribute to the modern tradition and it uses the same technology as in the production of refrigerator magnets. The girls hairstyles contain tiny ribbons with Moldovan flag colors.
"Foreigners are quite fond of these magnets. - says Vitalie - They are small and light and represent a colorful and beautiful souvenir from Moldova.
"For winter holidays, every year I make small ceramic figures of animals - symbols and signs of the Chinese zodiac"- says Vitalie Parlui. This year, the master has made several dozens, if not hundreds, of glazed ceramic roosters in national style - for the upcoming year of the rooster. Inexpensive, but attractive figures are very popular gifts on the eve of New Year Holiday. And, of course, roosters-magnets, which are in high demand even after the New Year.
Ceramic horseshoes with ceramic bell are also in demand, as by tradition the horseshoe brings prosperity in our homes.
Fairs and Yardsales - the main selling points
Among other ceramic products, created by the master, we can name ceramic panels and larger pottery objects. Normally, like other potters, Vitalie sells them on various fairs and yardsales. Some works are sold in stores. However the stores set their margin, explains the master, and therefore a large expensive product is not profitable to be sold here. It is too expensive and the demand is low. In stores, Vitalie sell magnets, small figurines and sometimes, small pottery dishes.