Capodimonte Flower: History and Creation

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Capodimonte flowers are as delicate as they are stunning. Each one is made from the finest porcelain of Italian pottery. You can easily add a beautiful touch of Italian style to any room with these elegant flowers. They are commonly used as a table centerpiece or coffee table décor. Learn about the history of Capodimonte and how these beautiful flowers are created.

History

The history of Italian porcelain started in Naples back in 1738. In 1743, the first porcelain factory was established in Naples, Italy by King Charles. The factory known as The Royal Manufactory of Porcelain stood high atop a hill, which is where the name “Capodimonte” or “Top of the Mountain” came from. Its primary sets and pieces produced were dinner and tableware, and then came trinket boxes, vases, figurines, and decorative pieces.

In 1759, King Charles III of Spain ordered his troops to destroy the factory in Naples and transfer all the equipments, artists, chemists, and molds to a Spanish porcelain factory in order to protect his manufacturing secrets. However, it went from Spain back to Italy when his son, Ferdinand, took over and became the King of Naples and then the King of Sicily. As a result, the Capodimonte production continued again in Italy.

Creation

Capodimonte flowers are created using the finest grain and the purest white colored clay. Each flower is sculpted entirely by hand, which takes about 20 minutes per flower. After it is sculpted, it’s then kiln-fired and cooled to ensure durability. After the cooling, it’s then painted with a spray gun. The artisan then switches to a brush and hand-paints the leaves of the flower. Each leaf is shaded to create depth and dimension to make it appear life-like.

Want to explore the full detail in the creation of a Capodimonte flower? See our video below.

5 Ways to Style a Classic White Top

A classic white top is a must have closet-staple item. Since autumn is right around the corner, it is the perfect time to think about layering and adding accessories to your look. Adding statement pieces to your look will transform your entire wardrobe and make you stand out. Here are 5 ways to style a classic white top.

 1. Getting into Gold

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Pairing gold with neutrals, such as white, black, and creams lets the color shine. To create this look, try going for a shimmering gold torsade necklace with matching earrings. The necklace drapes delicately on the neck while adding flair to any white top.

  2. Emerald-Inspired

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Mixing in emerald green accessories makes a basic white top look chic. Whether it is a handbag, hat, or necklace; this shade of green looks luxurious and makes a great statement for autumn. The color emerald also looks equally great for day or night events.

3. All Things Orange

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Adding touches of orange to your look exudes the beauty of fall colors. Orange is an inviting color that adds warmth, and reminds you of the change in season. Including these accessories to your outfit will give you a fresh, autumn-inspired look.

4. Mix and Match Colors

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Mixing and matching colors, such as purple and blue looks enlivened when combined. These colors complement each other very well, especially when thrown together with a neutral color like white.

5. Pretty in Pink

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Wearing pastels in fall may be unexpected but it still looks great while transitioning to the next season. Adding a black printed scarf will pull the look together and have you ready for the fall season.

How to Add a Touch of Italian Style to your Home

Italian style décor definitely adds a luxurious charm to any home. From classic arches, to stucco exterior, to the use of wrought iron; there are many ways to integrate a touch of Italian style without the architectural design. Bring the Italian region to your home with these beautiful handmade home décor ideas.

Capodimonte Flowers

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Capodimonte porcelain is the finest of Italian artistic pottery. Handcrafted in the most meticulous detail, Capodimonte flowers make great centerpieces on a dining or coffee table. There is a wide variety of flowers to choose from depending on your style. 300 years in the making, these porcelain flowers will add traditional Italian style to any room.

Capodimonte Flowers Shop Now »

Scenes of Venice

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What better way to add Italian flair to your home than by adding a hand-painted scene of Venice? This work of art will look elegant hung or placed in your living room for everyone to enjoy. This artwork is Venice’s iconic scenery; it will give your space an instant Italy-inspired atmosphere.

Visions Of Venice Piazza San Marco Italian Ceramic Tile Shop Now »

Trinket Box of Florence

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Trinket boxes are as functional as they are elegant. A decorative box adds a beautiful charm on top of your dresser or coffee table. Reflect your inner Italian style by bringing in a handmade Florence piece to your home.

Florentine Bee Trinket Box Shop Now »

Versatile Murano-Style Glasses

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Get inspired from Murano, Italy for your next family dinner party. These impressive glasses are used as drinking glasses as well as tea light holders. Add a lovely addition to any table by scattering these glasses around the dinner table with tea lights to create a warm ambiance.

Murano-Style Drinking Glasses Shop Now »

Millefiori Candy Dish

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Intricate and colorful designs reflect the style of the Murano region. The vibrant colors and patterns are created by rolling molten glass in colorful glass chips before being hand blown. This traditional technique has a ton of history behind it.

Murano Glass Millefiori Candy Dish
Shop Now »

 

Meet Jane: Our Photo Stylist

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Jane, our photo stylist, is the woman who adds that special touch of magic to our photography, both on our website and in our catalog. Specializing in floral arrangements, Jane adds touches of seasonality and personality to our treasures so you can see them to their fullest potentials. We hope you will enjoy this interview with her!

Do you have a background in the arts?

Yes- I went to Paier Art School for illustration and graphic design. Also upgraded my computer skills in Photoshop, Illustrator, and Director at Fairfield University. I went on to work for an ad agency creating marker illustrations in New Haven, CT. Additionally, I freelanced in various jobs, including page design for children’s educational books and a corporate baking company. Soon I realized I loved working with my hands, and not behind a computer.

My Mom and Dad taught me skills like wrapping gifts and how to tie bows. Every job along the way has had some small lesson learned, but I found that photo styling uses all my talents.

When did you begin creating floral arrangements?

Inbetween freelance jobs I apprenticed for a floral shop.  The owner persuaded me to take floral design classes. I worked part-time for a local flower shop for 10 years where I created arrangements for special events such as weddings, birthdays, funerals, etc.

What are the pros and cons of working with flowers as a medium?

Flowers are strikingly colorful, full of texture and life. I love that, just like the special events, the arrangements are created for they only last a brief moment. (Not to mention the thorns.)

What is your favorite part about working at Uno Alla Volta?

I love the challenge of working with and creating backgrounds, as well as finding the perfect props for each shot. I also enjoy working with the talented photographers in the studio who bring life to each beautiful treasure we offer at Uno Alla Volta.

 

See the video below for a how-to guide on floral arrangments with Jane featuring your favorite glass vase from Venice!

10 Housewarming Gifts People Actually Want

It is an exciting time for new homeowners to move into their first place. Help your special friend or family member create a warm, inviting space with beautiful handmade treasures and bring cheer to their new home with our top 10 favorite housewarming gift ideas people actually want. You can also mix and match to create the perfect gift basket!

  1. Pewter ”Curious Cats” Cheese Board And Knife Set

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This is the perfect pick for cat lovers and it’s great for entertaining! This cheese board features yellow birch wood, perfect for cutting and serving cheese.

Cheese Board and Knife Set Shop Now »

2. Murano-Style Millefiori Rainbow Drinking Glasses

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The colorful patterns of these Murano-style millefiori rainbow drinking glasses will make the perfect gift. They are formed by rolling molten glass in colorful glass chips before each piece is skillfully hand-blown.

Murano-Style Millefiori Rainbow Drinking Glasses Shop Now »

3. Large Polish Pottery Baking Dish

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Whether your friend or family member is a beginner baker or master chef, this incredible stoneware piece will delight both of them. This baking dish is handcrafted of local clay from Boleslawiec, Poland, which is high-fired for durability and coated with a protective glaze to prevent food from sticking.

Large Polish Pottery Baking Dish Shop Now »

4. Hand-Painted Polish Pottery Sunflower Mug And Cake Plate Set

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Have your morning coffee with a plate to hold your breakfast, too! This mug and plate set is perfect for sunflower lovers. It is beautifully handmade by our master artisans who use carved sponges and fine brushwork. The pottery is then glazed and fired at high temperatures.

Handpainted Polish Pottery Sunflower Mug And Cake Plate Set Shop Now »

5. Hand-Carved Wooden Sailboat
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A wooden sailboat will make the perfect addition to any coastal collector’s home. This spectacular hand-carved treasure was hand-painted with an antiqued, crackling finish.

Hand-Carved Wooden Sailboat Shop Now »

6. Hand-Painted Slate Butterfly Coasters

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Coasters will show how much you care about your friends or family home by protecting their furniture. These butterfly coasters are UV resistant, so they can be used indoors or out and would make the perfect drink accessory for their next party! Made with high durability, these slate coasters are hand-painted with a colorful butterfly.

Hand-Painted Slate Butterfly Coasters Shop Now »

7. Owl Polish Pottery Salt And Pepper Shakers

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Salt and pepper shakers are essential to have in your kitchen, which makes them a great housewarming gift. Each piece is carefully formed from Boleslawiec, Poland’s native clay before being expertly glazed, hand-painted, and high-fired for durability.

Owl Polish Pottery Salt and Pepper Shakers
Shop Now »

8. Boxed French Knife Set

DOZ21300114How can we not include a knife set in our gift guide?! These sleek knife designs have been customer favorites for many years. This set of 6 colorful knives will make a great practical and welcoming gift.

Boxed French Knife Set Shop Now »

9. Giovanni’s Borosilicate Glass Candle Holder And Vase

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Make arranging flowers for any occasion easy for any new homeowner! This handcrafted bud vase with removable candle holder is the perfect centerpiece for a tablescape. Each vase is hand-blown by the children of master glassmaker, Giovanni Battista.

Giovanni’s Borosilicate Glass Candle Holder And Vase Shop Now »

10. Hand-Gilded Yellow Rose Champagne Glass

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They will love using their champagne flutes for special occasions. The design of this beautiful champagne flute was drawn freehand on the surface of the glass with stucco, and then a layer of pure silver leaf was carefully applied before adding the translucent yellow color.

Hand-Gilded Yellow Rose Champagne Glass Shop Now »

What Is Unique About Polish Pottery?

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Polish pottery is one of the finest potteries and it makes the perfect kitchenware and decorating piece for any home. You can easily add a pop of color to your table décor with its vibrant colors. Artisans in Boleslawiec, Poland have been creating beautiful and functional folk art pottery for centuries, but what really makes Polish pottery so unique?

How It’s Made

Polish pottery is made with high quality white clay. The pottery is hand-formed or made from molds then hand-painted using carved sponges and fine brushwork. No two items will ever be alike. This unique clay and glaze are then high-fired to create stoneware pieces of enormous durability which are resistant to chips and breakage. Polish pottery is naturally non-stick because it is coated with a protective glaze. This stoneware does not contain cadmium or lead which makes it completely safe for cooking food. Because of its high durability, Polish pottery is microwave, dishwasher, freezer, and oven safe.

How It’s Designed and Decorated

The decoration of Boleslawiec ceramics have been greatly influenced by the color blue, which is a desirable color because it is consider precious and expensive. Blue is associated with beauty, which gave Poland its start.

Each piece of pottery is decorated through hand-painting and stamping with carved sea sponges. The design is strikingly original and detailed. Overall, the design and decoration of Polish pottery enhances its beauty and value.

How Polish Pottery Is Used

Polish pottery is commonly represented in the form of dinnerware, serving ware, and mugs. However, Polish pottery artisans have created pieces that will make a perfect accent to your home. They have creations of Halloween Jack O’Lanterns, Christmas ornaments, figurines, luminaries, and Easter eggs. These decorative pieces will reflect a truly distinctive style to every room in your home.

How To Care For It

Since Polish pottery is so skillfully handcrafted, it can last for many years if cared for correctly. Even though these pieces are very durable and can be used every day, they are still pottery. They need to be cared for when adjusting to temperatures right out of the fridge or oven. Here are three ways to care for your Polish pottery for lasting enjoyment:

  1. Make sure your pottery dish reaches room temperature before placing it in the microwave oven or on the stovetop.
  2. After removing stoneware from the refrigerator, do not place it on direct heat like in the broiler.
  3. Do not place hot dishes on wet or cold surfaces.

Whether you like to collect Polish pottery or want a unique, yet timeless piece of stoneware, we hope this will give you an inside scoop about the beauty and uniqueness of Polish pottery, and how to treasure it for years to come.

The History of Murano Glass and How It’s Made

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Murano glass is exquisitely beautiful. From jewelry to drinking glasses, there is definitely something for everyone. These handmade treasures are created one at a time. Patterns and colors may vary, and some may or may not contain millefiori accents. The surfaces may appear uneven and they’re also in various shapes. This is what makes glassmaking such a special craft. With hundreds of years of history behind it, explore the history of Murano glass and how it is made.

The History of Murano Glass

The origin of glassmaking goes way back to the times of the Roman Empire when they created molded glass for illumination in their bath houses. As early as the 8th century, the Venetian Islands began to specialize in glassmaking. When a ruling class law was passed to avoid the risk of fire in an overpopulated area, the island of Murano was named as the true and most appropriate glass production area.

Decline and Success

Murano glass had moments of success and gradual decline. Competition increased for them from the glassmakers of France and Bohemia. Rulers in the 18th century preferred their glassmaking in Bohemia and passed laws, making it expensive to bring raw materials into Murano. As a result, half of the furnaces were shut down. Although, the industry in Murano did not die completely, Antonio Salviati, who practiced law, went to Venice to open a factory to produce traditional Murano glass. However, there was still constant fall and rise over the years. For example, during World War II the industry did not thrive, but as soon as the war was over the glassmakers continued creating their art.

The Spread of Murano Glass Tradition

Many craftsmen were inspired by the making of Murano glass. The art of glass spread throughout Europe. Wherever there was a demand for glass, productions were created. Many artisans outside from Murano developed an eye for quality in creating beautiful Murano-style glass. Today, all across Italy and the rest of the world, these workshops use the same techniques and materials as a Murano workshop with identical skill and artistry.

How do they create captivating colors?

Murano glass products are brightly colored and often infused with metals such as gold and silver leaf or copper crystals. When creating millefiori designs, they layer and slice colorful glass rods which stretch into unique designs. For other creations, glassmakers use a blowpipe with which they masterfully shape layers of color to achieve a richly-colored decorative piece.

What are the techniques?

As the techniques of Murano glassmaking have evolved, Murano glass has become a valuable treasure over the years. These glassmakers use unique, masterful techniques to create these amazing pieces. Both lampworking and hand-blowing create beautiful Murano style pieces, which is an incredibly rewarding experience to these artisans.

Lampworking

This technique is also known as torchworking. Artists use high quality glass rods which are melted with a torch and then shaped into beads by cutting it with a steel cutting jack. Once they have the glass bead, it is heated to a temperature of about 950 degree Fahrenheit until the material reaches its stress relief point. The bead is then decorated by etching, polishing, or by other techniques.

Lorena’s mother creates stunning jewelry beads using the technique of lampworking in the video below:

Blowing

Blowing glass is a challenging technique. This technique is done by using a blowpipe and basic hand tools to meticulously shape molten glass. These glassmakers are able to get unique patterns and shapes by blow piping. After the process is complete, the glass needs to cool until it becomes solid glass. The final touch that may be done to a glass piece is polishing, engraving, and enameling.

Our glass Artisan, Vittorio shows his methods on Murano glassmaking.

Annealing

Both techniques use the annealing process, which helps the glass slowly heal until it reaches room temperature. This process prevents the glass from cracking or breaking easily.

Wind Chimes: An Origin Story

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Historical Timeline

3000 B.C.- Natural wind chimes constructed of shells, stones, bones, wood, and bamboo believed to be from 3000 B.C. were unearthed during archeological digs in Southeast Asia. Because of this discovery, wind chimes are believed to be one of man’s first musical instruments. The wind chimes excavated in Bali, Indonesia are believed to have been used by farmers to scare birds away from crops.

2000 B.C.- Metal wind chimes were created in Mediterranean countries, North Africa, and the Middle East. It is believed that these developed independently without influence from the wind chimes in Asia, which demonstrates the universality of these sweet instruments.

1100 B.C.- Wind chimes with bells were created in China. They were often hung in temples and places of worship, as they delicate pealing of the bells was believed to ward off evil spirits while calling in kind ones. Wind chimes have deep ties to Buddhist culture, and are believed to connect humans more deeply with the higher powers of the universe and act as calls to the gods during prayer.

1800 C.E.- The popularity of wind chimes spread from China to Japan, all across the Eastern world, and then to the West. This trend was called “Japonisme,” which refers to the notable permeation of Asian culture and artistic influence across Europe and the Western world.

1970 C.E.- Precision-tuned wind chimes were first manufactured. The shapes, materials, and artistic processes behind creating these chimes determines the exact sounds of the music they create.

2018 C.E.- Uno Alla Volta’s wind chimes are handmade in the thriving port city of Surat, India, with inspiration and influence drawn from a variety of artistic styles throughout history. The nana bells they often feature are highly characteristic of Indian designs.

Health And Wellness Benefits

Feng-Shui: Wind chimes are believed to balance the energy within a home, as well as have a positive effect on the ambience of a space.

Anti-Anxiety: As with all gentle noises, the soft sounds of wind chimes can have a calming effect on the listener, lessening their symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Fun Facts

-Wind chimes were often hung from trees by Celtic soldiers to scare enemy troops into believing the woods were haunted.

-When hung outdoors, wind chimes can be used as a basic method of meteorology, as changes in their sound patterns indicate changes in wind speeds.

Feeling inspired? Shop Uno Alla Volta’s collection of handmade windchimes here!

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Only The Best

While our artisans create handcrafted treasures for every style and budget, today we’d like to focus on our luxury items for those of you in the mood to spoil yourselves. Handmade by expert craftspeople using only the finest materials available, these treasures have the power to elevate your wardrobe and home from ordinary to extraordinary.

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Dimensional Glass Seascape

With Diane responsible for the exquisite glasswork and Ann taking ownership of the delicate hand-painting, these two work together to create pieces that are so much more than the sum of their parts.

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Orient & Flume Cherry Blossom Vase

This California based studio’s work can be found in the permanent collections of many of the most prestigious museums in the world: The Smithsonian, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Corning Glass Museum, just to name a few.

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Grey & Black Florentine Leather Structured Handbag

Using the masterful leatherworking techniques and exacting standards passed down to them by their ancestors, our artisans skillfully create each bag from the most supple Italian leather.

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Amy Kahn Russell’s Dragonfly Russian Miniature Necklace

Inspired by her blend of cultural heritages and nature’s beauty, Amy Kahn Russell of Connecticut handcrafts this striking dragonfly Russian miniature necklace. The hand-painted Russian miniature pendant hangs from a faceted crystal chain for a sweet, ethereal look.

45 Million Years In The Making

Amber, highly appraised for its warm, golden hues and gemstone qualities, is not actually a stone at all. Found in areas surrounding the Baltic Sea, the rare fossilized tree resin from over 45 million years ago is collected and polished to a smooth finish. This amber naturally contains succinic acid: a healing agent which is believed to be anti-inflammatory and therapeutic for the body and mind.

This stunning Baltic amber and sterling silver jewelry was handmade by our artisan, Avi. Throughout his career, Avi has shared his talents in order to help others, from mentoring new artisans to offering employment in his workshop to the disabled. An avid supporter of human rights causes, Avi brings the same passion into his jewelry design as he does to helping the community.

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Shop all of Avi’s handmade sterling silver jewelry here!