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Next friday, april 18th, the Diputación de Córdona palace will hold the awards ceremony of the 5th edition of the national awards that are given by the Spanish Association of Pottery Cities [Asociación Española de Ciudades de la Cerámica (AeCC)] to recognise the work in favour of the sector on the behalf of professionals and public and private entities. Amongst the candidates of this edition various representatives of the Valencian Community stand out; the company Vicar, the craftswoman Amparo Almela, the potter Arturo Mora, the National Association of Professionals of Pottery [Asociación Nacional de Profesionales de la Cerámica (Anpec)], the director of the National Museum of Pottery González Martí (Museo Nacional de Cerámica González Martí), Jaume Coll; and this magazine, nominated in recognition to our work towards the promotion of the craftsmanship of the Valencian Community both in a local level and in the main international contests, as Maison & Object Paris, Ambiente Frankfurt or La Milan Design Week, amongst others.

The AeCC was constituted in Argentona (Barcelona) in 10 November 2007, with the signature of political representatives (majors and councillors) of 23 noted cities of the pottery of Spain, comparable to the associations of cities already existent in Italy (AiCC) and in France (AfCC). At present, the entity represents 35 Spanish cities with pottery tradition and is linked with the main international entities of the sector.

Traditional pottery: Arturo Mora Benavent,  is descendent of an long-standing family of potters of Manises. In the last third of the 19th century his great-great-grandfather, Fernando Mora Osca, was the first in the family line to work in the production of lusterware –as the pieces preserved with the signature “F.M.” painted in the reverse prove-, and the notebook of lusterware formulas of his great-grandfather, Arturo Mora Zorrilla, which shows the date of 1898.

With this rich skill culture of familiar tradition it is no surprise that in the studio of Arturo Mora diverse pottery procedures are employed, being the most protruding the difficult technique of lusterware that he employs to make copies of historic pieces that were made in the workshops of Manises within the 14th and 18th centuries, and that today are in the main museums of the world.

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Tomeu Amengual, model of the Ollería Can Bernardí, is part of this business of familiar character and local sphere that, after more than eight generations and a work that goes until the dawn of the 18th century, keeps the tradition in the elaboration of clay objects. A work accredited with the qualification of Craftsmanship master (156) and of Craftsmanship Business (086), granted by the Government of the Balearic Islands.

The production of pots, helped by the abundant red soil of the surroundings of Marrachí, has turned “la industria del fang” (the clay industry) in the most characteristic element of the municipality, which ends in the “Fira del Fang” (Clay Fair) in March. In this event the first works of Tomeu Amengual were exhibited, who today sees his career recognised with the nomination for this award.

Creative Contemporary Pottery: Amparo Almela Català; Artist that has investigated in depth diverse materials, such as cotton fabrics used as bodies for delicate clay to conceive his work, extruded and manipulated porcelain in the shape of graphic art establishing a unique and chaotic pattern, or the connection between clay and fire through traditional techniques such as the Japanese Raku ware.

This interest in the different options that are brought up and that escape to a large extent from exact calculations has turned this graduate of the Manises School of Pottery (Valencia) and of the School of Plastic Arts and Design of Valencia in a model for contemporary pottery, already recognised by awards such as the “Villa de Madrid”, “Daniel Zuloaga” 95-96 or the L´Alcora 2003 Prize, as well as dozens of mentions regarding the 11th International Biennial Manises Pottery (2013) or the 10th International Pottery Competition of Mino, in Japan (2014)

Jordi Serra – Ceràmica Serra: Represents the third generational shift of the family line. After his training in the studio and his artistic training, he completed his education as chemical technician engineer, which gave him a technical knowledge that he has applied to craftsmanship on the process of cooking, on the pigments in high temperatures or the lusterware.

Even though he considers himself mainly a potter, his work as a painter and especially as a draughtsman has to be stressed, being the work on the line as the basis of the pieces the feature that unifies and gives meaning to this expressive diversity. A style to which he incorporates a new decorative model that, either the abstraction or the figuration, is in tune with the contemporary artistic events, in a process to reinterpret the tradition with a contemporary sensitivity and from the modernity.

Activity in favor of Ceramics: The National Association of Experts in Pottery (Anpec) was founded in January, 1990, with the purpose of representing, defending and promoting the economic, social and cultural interests of its associates. This entity, based in Manises, guarantees the representation and defence of the profession against the Administration and sectorial institutions with the legitimation to be a part of whatever dispute that affects the professional interests.

The entity has worked in the promotion of the sector since its birth through the organization and participation in pottery meetings and exhibitions, as well as courses, workshops, competitions, etc., with the objective of turning it into a platform for everyone that is dedicated to pottery, as well as a centre to exchange and share knowledge and experiences enriching the professional practice itself.

The Catalan Association of Pottery (ACDC): Founded in 1980, and with around 170 members, is a non-profit entity with the purpose of encouraging the study and divulgation of pottery of historic or traditional interest, with preference for the productions of medieval and modern ages.

Amongst its activities, the ones that stand out are the creation of a specialized library and the collection and classification of every kind of documentation related to pottery, originating from purchases, donations, cessions, inheritances and deposits made by members or not of the Association. All of this in addition to the exhibition of studies and works, either of revision or of investigation, in external conferences and meetings to the Association itself.

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El Consorcio Escuela de Artes y Artesanía de Andalucía “Della Robbia”: The School of Arts and Craftsmanship of Andalucía, Della Robbia is a training centre belonging to the Programme of Consortium Schools of Professional Formation for Employment. This programme is carried out in collaboration with the local corporations. Its objective is the dynamization of the work inclusion through qualified training. In its facilities, pottery, wood and Luthier techniques are taught, sectors closely linked to the artistic and cultural heritage of the region.

With more than 20 years of experience in training oriented towards the professional sector of craftsmanship, this education centre is also an example in investigation and preservation of said heritage. Amongst his axes of action, stands out: the excellence training with professional certifications, effective work inclusion and a strategy of internationalisation oriented towards facilitating the access of workers and companies to the global market that is nowadays the model market.

Revista Sibarita News: Free bimonthly publication, bilingual, oriented towards the promotion of craftsmanship and pottery work and products amongst the local consumers and tourists that visit us. Born in September 2013, in just a year it has established as a model publication for the craftsmanship sector in the Valencian Community. This backing has also been expressed in the coverage of the international presence in Fairs such as Ambiente, Maison & Object or Milano of the Spanish craftsmen and potters, and especially Valencian.

With an average impact of more than 6.000 professional addresses, present in some of the main touristic operators, business centres, hotels and gastronomic spaces of the Valencian Community, distributes around 2.500 copies in paper format and more than 3.000 copies in pdf version in a direct mailing to associations, representative entities, general media and commercial intermediaries.

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 Innovation and Product Development: VICAR S.A. appears from two companies coming together: R. Vila and J. Mª Carpintero, which, since the thirties, worked independently in the treatment of raw materials and in the fabrication of pottery plasters. This business fusion crystallised in 1973 in a new company, VICAR S.A., which has seen its human, technical and fabrication potential incremented.

Starting from 2004, VICAR, S.A., undergoes an important transformation, opening a new plant and modernising its facilities. Nowadays it has more than 6.000 square meters of production plant and investigation centre in Manises, with the experience that more than 80 years in pottery brings.

Francisco Javier Tudela: Main model of the studio Alfar Tudela, in which tradition and innovation are mixed through the application of glazes, rusts and slips born from his association with chemical engineers, in a path of graphic and aesthetic renovation of the traditional pottery of the Murcian region.

Employing these new formulas of painting, Francisco Javier Tudela reproduces scenes of the Murcian iconography, landscapes and still life with the purpose of the prevalence of the essence of the ancestral tradition of pottery. A corporate response towards the emerging problems on the commercialization of Asian pottery products, in which clay keeps on being the basis of the product, but with a constant evolution in the painting and in the finish of these to offer an added value that makes these pieces unique and incomparable.

Historical Research and / or Ethnology : Jaume Coll has carried out an intense field investigation of archaeology in Spain and Portugal, as well as in international investigation teams about archaeology, ethnography and heritage in Morocco and Algeria. Amongst its recent publications are works such as Valencian pottery, notes for a synthesis or the coordination of the Manual of Medieval and Modern Spanish Pottery, as well as more than 120 articles in conferences and specialised magazines.

Graduated in the University of Barcelona and Doctor in History with an Extraordinary Prize of the University of the Balearic Islands. Since 1998, he is the Director of the National Museum of Pottery and Sanctuary Arts “González Martí” of Valencia, centre he joined as Curator in 1986. In addition, he is the President of the Association of Pottery Science, being one of the founders, and Secretary of the Art and Design section of the Spanish Society of Pottery and Glassware.

Equipo Adobe, collective created by Domingo Sanz Montero and Severiano Delgado, who since its birth in 1980 have worked in the investigation, analysis and study of the extinct pottery in Spain, who has edited several geographical monographies. Afterwards, his work had continuation in the investigations of Lucía Blesa and her daughter Ana Isabel Sanz Blesa.

Amongst the publications coordinated by these, studies about the lost pottery in the High Extremadura and in the province of Albacete should be stressed, as well as the set up of theme exhibitions about these studies.

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Award of Honor: Bartolomé Bellón – Bellón Alfareros. A Murcian master potter that manages a centenary business, Bellón Alfareros, which origins date back to the year 1820, and that since 1999 has the recognition as such from the Official House of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of Murcia. Specialised in the fabrication of rustic lamps destined to decoration and feeling of hotel spaces, they also stand out in the development of reproductions of de archaeological pottery from different cultures of the Iberian Peninsula.

Fruit of the respect and his fidelity for the traditional techniques of pottery, has in his curriculum awards as the Mercury Award for and the Honorary Prize that he will be given in this edition of the National Pottery Awards of the AeCC (as a recognition for a still active career.

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