Ceramic artists are no strangers to stamping their work; perhaps that tradition was born out of the necessity of having to find one’s work when pots from multiple makers are being fired in the same kiln. That’s certainly the case with a tradition in Italy, where bread bakers used stamps to tell their loaves apart from others being cooked in the same oven.
Italian designer Roberto Sironi, who states he approaches his practice with a focus on story and old rituals, closed the loop between the two traditions with a set of ceramic bread-markers. “Madre Pane,” allows you to sign your loaves of bread before they come out of the oven. The necessity of having to tell your loaves apart from several others is likely no longer there, but we like that it highlights the artisanal act of cooking. The stamps look like they slip easily into the hand and their rough, tactile clay creates synesthesia around singing your work. It’s poetic to have many senses firing during the final act of the creative process.
Sironi states of the design:
The bread stamps are one of the historical expressions of pastoral art in the Southern Italy, in particular in the area of Matera where until the first half of the twentieth century people marked the bread before baking it in the communal ovens, so they could be recognised by the owner.
Made in hand carved wood, they represented symbols linked to the pastoral world, often with apotropaic meaning, while the mark indicated the owner’s initials or the effigy of the family.
Roberto investigates this tradition with Madre Pane, a collection of bread stamps with symbolic and ornamental value through an earthen landscape of sculptural objects.
The abstract representation of Egg, Mother Hen, Tree and Millstone, refers respectively to the meanings of birth, maternal protection, growth and strength.
Made by refractory ceramic, a tactile and raw material used in bakery ovens, the collection is finished in various colours.
The mark, designed to bring back the owner’s initial, completes the stamp respecting the original tradition.
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