Luca Mainardi's bucchero
in the Highlands His experience with the bucchero technique stems from the idea of cooking the pieces without the aid of a modern oven (electric or gas), but in a self-produced and wood-fired oven. The oven made consists of a hole about 1 and a half meters deep in which, once the fire is lit, a metal container is inserted which it uses as a cooking chamber. The container, sealed by a lid, allows you to create an oxygen-reducing environment. Luca started experimenting with this technique in the high mountains (1870 meters above sea level), using the wood available in the area including larch wood which, being rich in resin, allows to obtain silver effects on the surface of the vase.
The origins of the bucchero
The word bucchero derives from bùcaro, a Spanish term from the sixteenth century with which some unglazed reddish-brown ceramics typical of Latin America were designated. Due to the similarity to the first Etruscan archaeological finds, dating back to the same period, this denomination was extended to the latter as well. The bucchero in fact is characterized by a black color in the absence of glazes. The simplicity of this technique partly justifies its spread in many cultures around the world since ancient times.
The bucchero technique
This apparently very simple technique involves shaping the piece with a lathe, plate or colombino followed by a long and accurate burnishing (or smoothing) with wooden or mineral sticks. This process allows to obtain a shiny and partially waterproof product. Once completely dry, we proceed with cooking in a reducing environment - that is, in lack of oxygen. In this way, the ferric oxide contained in the clay is converted into ferrous oxide, making the object take on a black color instead of the red one, typical of terracotta. The bucchero vase is therefore characterized, albeit unglazed, by minimal porosity and an intense glossy black monochrome. The strategies for obtaining this effect are different and each characterized by specific measures such as the cooking method, the fuel for the reduction, the composition of the clay used and the burnishing method.