About Me

Cretalandia Artistic Ceramics is produced following traditional Italian methods and it’s entirely handmade .
The studio is located in Asciano, a small town in Tuscany, South of Siena, where the production of ceramics has flourished since the Middle Ages.In the past there have been several ceramics artisans that worked in the “Cocciaio”, in the “ Copperia” and in “Via Dei Vasari”, sections of town that preserve, in toponomy, the historical presence of ceramics kilns. In the studio, opened in 2018, ceramics that are modern but that are at the same time inspired by tradition are created. They include decorated plates, clocks, vases, piggy banks, various gift objects and wedding keepsakes . All pieces can be personalized according to the desire and expectations of the client.

The name Cretalandia has been chosen to evoke the idea of game and fun that are the basis of a creative, imaginative and original process. Cretalandia Ceramics are born from the creativity of the moment and that’s why they are unique and different from eachother.

Obviously, the etymology of the word recalls modern English language where “land” means nation or country and the Italian word , “creta”, means clay. Literally Cretalandia means “ the land of clay”; that’s why such name has been chosen. Asciano is located in the heart of the “ Crete Senesi” ( Sienese Clay Hills), a landscape known for its beautiful nature and characterized by the presence of clay in the soil.Such sights are also a source of inspiration for the paintings of Tuscan landscapes in Cretalandia Ceramics.

Not only landscapes, but also romantic dolls, gnomes, elves, flowers and other small sculptures liven up the production of this artistic studio.
From an interview by Rossella Oricchio on March 16th, 2021 (rossellaoricchiointervista.com)

Laura Michelangioli, blowing in the wind

“Only when we’ll be able to see the universe as one, where each part reflects the whole and where the great beauty lies in its diversity, we’ll start to understand who we are and where we are”
Tiziano Terzani.

We find ourselves in front of white sheets of paper, we are afraid, since noise makes us tremble as silence does.
The unknown scares us and before we enter the mystery, everything shakes us from within. Something that makes us rip part of us to restitch later on.
Something that makes us rip part of us to restitch it later on.Something that takes us to the other side to reflect, to feel ourselves, to perceive something in the air, that we haven’t discovered yet.
That is the point, we must have the courage to dive deep within ourselves. Even in the middle of a storm we must let our soul get wet and then dry it in the sun.Life gives you all the time you want, but finally that fateful moment arrives when you must look within, not once, but many times until you’ll be able to discover your hidden treasure.

All of us have one, but someone has the courage to go and withdraw it whereas someone is always expecting something from others. But nothing and no one can do something for us, only we can.We must let ourselves be touched, caught and conquered but that precious moment, that we can’t identify immediately.

That moment when we are somewhat suspended, hoping that something will happen, that will stir the ground under us.. At that moment that white sheet of paper will pass by as the blowing in the wind and it’s then that we’ll bend down to catch it. In this way, we will have had the courage to take eachother’s hand,because on that white sheet, we will have continued to write part of our lives.

Without interrupting the story, but continuing to blow inside, filling the ink spaces with air and soil, the soil of our land where we love, suffer and rejoice. All of this, in order to go beyond ourselves, to get to know that hidden part that longs to know the world. This is what Laura Michelangioli does; a woman that has felt a spark within, a call that has whispered to her to go beyond herself. Laura is a gorgeous lady in her fifies. She lives in Asciano, in the province of Siena. She’s married to Davide and has a daughter, Ginevra, that she adores and she’s the light of her life. She has quite a curriculum as an architect. She’s won her best matches through life experiences Her father Renato directed her towards the construction industry. They worked together for a while in the family company, then Laura preferred to dash towards new professional adventures like that with the well known architect Roberto Fineschi. But Laura is a volcano of ideas, she’s always had an attraction for every form of art, thus, carrying out her tasks wasn’t enough for her, she’s always felt that she wanted to do more; she wanted to bring to life that hidden part of herself,that extra part that we keep within and that we shuffle until it appears on that white sheet blown by the wind. Here, Laura, after having searched within for a long time, decided to take a break and then found the courage to go forward, helping that hidden part to emerge. Like soil that slips through our hands and water, that kneads and models it, she started shaping her own ideas.Already as a university student, she’d search in bookstores for that book that could enlighten her. Having forever being attracted by handmaking and by every other form of art she fell upon a particular book that dealt with salt dough. But it wasn’t enough for her since the works made from dough don’t last very long, so she thought of directing herself towards the enchanted world of clay.

This way she tried to go within, digging deeply , as one digs soil to find water. Because when one searches and really wants to find oneself, one really becomes earth, water, air and fire.This is how Laura feels now that she has found herself and her true identity. She desired to feel whole and belong to her very essence made of uniqueness and forged slowly through various stages like those of clay that meets water and lets herself be modelled by the hands and caressed by the heart.Because what is fascinating about Laura is her talking about her artisan studio as if it were her home, her talking of her clay, fruit of continuous experiments, of a slow searching and then rediscovering.
I like her frankness, her open mind, her versatility.
Laura admits to have searched for opportunities, to have wanted to feel in the right place at the right moment. Now she’s living for her project, named Cretalandia, a synthesis between game and clay, Sienese clay to be precise.

Undoing the knots of life isn’t easy, it takes a lot of strength and courage to look within and go forward, kneading our own clay vase between tears and smiles.

Laura expresses the image of a woman, who is constantly looking within, a woman who lets herself be fascinated and at the same time fascinates. It’s sufficient to look at her ceramics pieces , from the piggy banks to the plates, from the bells to the candle holders, everything speaks of her and her victory. Because we are born women, but we become victorious as time goes on, taking care of the running of time and modelling oneself exactly like clay in our hands.

Laura has been able to find herself, because she’s been to the humus, to the soil from which we were born in order to leave a trace , a footprint that tastes of passion and continuous research. It’s like the wind blowing that throws open the door of our heart, as it comes to speak to us and tell us new stories, so Laura questions herself everyday, because she feels part of the local tradition of the Sienese land.She feels that she has to create a lasting bond with her roots.She invents and reinvents herself everyday, every hour, every minute. Simply because she has been and is herself deeply.

Because only by digging deep within, we find our own source, that flame that continues to enlighten our path.

Tell us about yourself, your work, your life, your passion
I dedicated my early school studies to the classical branch. I frequented Piccolomini Classical Highschool in Siena, then I graduated in architecture in Florence.My dad was a building expert. I worked with him in the construction field. I’ve been lucky… He showed me the road to follow; we worked on several projects together. We restored a farmhouse and we collaborated in several tasks. I followed him in the construction areas where I acquired a lot of experience.I took care of reconstruction and design. I also worked in the technical office of my father’s company and worked as an architect at the Novartis a pharmaceutical firm.I worked with the well known and appreciated architect Roberto Fineschi of Siena.Together we restructured the company’s hotel , creating new offices.

How did your passion for ceramics reveal itself?
As I was studying architecture in Florence I’d go to bookstores looking for magazines on architecture- Here I fell upon a book that dealt with salt dough.I’ve always been fascinated with hand working,so I created my first salt dough doll. Then I started taking part in a few open markets in Asciano. At the same time I noticed that salt dough deteriorated very easily , so I started discovering clay. I decided to buy a kiln and I started working clay. I bought sevreral books to study the production of ceramics. I started by creating simple pieces.While I was studying, I worked in a ceramics shop, where I’d model and hand painted earthenware.

What encouraged you to continue?
I’ve always liked learning English, so I went to England, I’ve always liked facing new opportunities.In London I met several people. In the morning I’d go to English lessons and in the afternoon I’d follow a course on tango.From the age of thirty to the age of forty, I had to stop thinking about ceramics.After three years in London, I met my present husband, an eletronics engineer. We met eachother at the tango course. When I came back to Italy, I wasn’t happy with my life , I was unsatisfied and I remembered my old passion for ceramics. I frequented a ceramics course taught by the artist and ceramics maker Nunzia Romeo and the one by the Sienese ceramics maker Elisabetta Ricci.I also followed private lessons by other ceramics makers. This is how the idea of opening my own ceramics studio called Cretalandia came to mind. My husband David encouraged this enterprise, I’m grateful to him for having me helped find myself.

Why the name Cretalandia?
Cretalandia was created two years ago, I gave such a name to my studio/shop, because I liked the idea of game and clay together .The name refers both to playing and to the land where I belong, thus creating a bond with Sienese clay.In my studio /shop , besides finding my ceramics , I’ve also hosted the brand Gabbianella with ceramics and textiles from Gualdo Tadino.Then, as I’ve already mentioned, you can find my ceramics pieces: plates, piggybanks, photo holders, small bells, candle holders, soap dishes, home furnishings.

Whats is your source of inspiration?
Tuscan landscapes, especially the Sienese hills….

A dream Project
Creating a course both for adults and children to teach them the art of ceramics

How would you define yourself as a woman, as a creative talent?
Sensitive, determined, a mixture of woman and smiling ,as a creative talent and artisan I feel myself evolving, in itere, constantly travelling….

What is creativity for you?
A space where I can fly freely, I’m in my world, I’m with my inner self….

What are the feelings that describe you: what makes you feel good and peaceful and what makes you feel bad and saddens you?
Strength, courage and dignity are the feelings that represent me most and that I repeat to myself daily…I don’t like negative competition and narrow mindness

Your Motto?
Strength, courage and dignity

Life is...
“My end is my beginning“ as Tiziano Terzani says and I really believe that is how its is….

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