Over 100 artisans are brought together in a Directory of the Historical Valencian Ceramics Community, which has been compiled by potter Ana Illueca to make the region’s craft skills more ‘internationally visible and locally accessible’.
Funded as part of the designation of Valencia as the Design Capital of the World for 2022, the Ceramic DNA search engine allows potential clients and collaborators to find ceramists in their region based on their location and specialization.
According to Illuèquethe 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 back to 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 in ceramics, ”she added.
“The card will help make professionals visible internationally and accessible locally. It will contribute to the sharing of knowledge between ceramists and with society in general.
The 106 potters highlighted in the directory are from the three Valencian provinces and were chosen from 153 candidates by a committee of experts headed by Jaume Coll Conesa, director of Spain National Museum of Ceramics.
The objective is to highlight ceramists who preserve the local cultural heritage and, ultimately, to facilitate their collaboration with industry, designers and brands.
This is particularly important, Illueca explained, as 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 from 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 change of the Valencian production model towards activities based on culture and creativity, ”she explained.
“It can help improve our productivity levels and have positive impacts not only on economic regeneration but also on the 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 program, Ceramic DNA will hold a collective exhibition in Valence in 2022, as well as present work at Maison & Objet in Paris.
In the run-up to the one-year initiative, a modular MUT Design pavilion clad in thousands of salvaged wood scales traveled across Spain to showcase the work of 50 Valencian designers.