The small town of Nove, near Venezia, has arrived at the 18th annual Festival of Ceramics, an international event with the participation of artists from all over Europe. Events are scheduled from 5 until 24 September 2015.

Coffee with Michele Barbiero, president of Nove Terre di Ceramica, allowed me to understand the enthusiasm and intent underlying the event, forcing me, so to speak, to love the Festival!

Michele is an architect and he has breathed his passion for pottery since childhood in this town and in addition he has provided design education. About twenty years ago, after the boom of mass industrialization, together with a group of friends he decided to help the community to move a step forward. The concept was to accompany the transition from mass production to unique works or limited series: we can say in fact a return to craftsmanship.

The Association was established to catalyze the attention on small production of top quality and to enable manufacturers to meet artists and ‘fans’ from all over the world. In these 18 years important goals have been achieved in terms of numbers of participants and visitors and the high quality attained makes a trip to Nove worthwhile for a weekend immersed in the art of ceramics.

The Town and countryside during the Festival of Ceramics

The luck that made Nove comes from a bank of clay and the proximity of Venice that absorbed much of the production and, with its demands for quality, has helped to raise it to such high levels. At the moment of maximum employment, the town had traffic lights for bikes and factories had shifts so as not to have too much traffic.

For this, the highlight of the Festival of Ceramics, is represented by appointment Portoni Aperti (Open Doors), where you can visit selected workshops and factories. It is a fascinating journey through the streets of the countryside, to discover the ancient art of pottery, which for centuries has continued to distinguish Nove.

The large facade of the city hall in the square is transformed and is decorated with hundreds of dishes, while all the stands of the craftsmen and artists occupy the streets of downtown. School art workshops and happenings can be found scattered in the city and the spirit is just that of a feast.

It is hard to describe a land rich in knowledge to know where old and new can coexist even if everyone is convinced (or belief, in fact) of personal and unchangeable truths. This year more than ever the aim of the festival is to go beyond the old traditions, sustaining a contemporary vision, that is “to be the SENSE OF TRADITION, but not necessarily subscribe to the form”, avoiding the risk of creating meaningless form.

This is a suggestion that Energitismo Association subscribed to when two years ago it set out to revive the tradition of Bossa Buffona, a ‘perforated’ carafe or wine jug from which it seems impossible to drink, and which was used as a gift at weddings and to have fun with friends. The Bossa Buffona has been reinterpreted in different styles and during the Festa visitors can be try to drink fine local wine from one at the Energitismo stand.

Current exhibitions

There are two key words that Michele Barbiero pointed out: ART and CRAFT.  It does not always happen … but the two terms overlap, intertwine, mingle.

The exhibition “The craft of Art” with Isabella Breda and Pasquale Difonzo, the Antonibon Barettoni Bortoli mill, and the exhibition “You give all planning to receive nothing at the Terramica stand, where young artists Ardini Francesco, Pasquale Difonzo Giorgia Fincato, Pol Polloniato, Alberto Scodro, Silvia Stefani exhibit.

“Square meter” is a wall-poster next to the Piazzetta of Civic Museum, designed and built by the students of the High School of Art Nove: thoughts and desire that become signs-designs-objects. The importance of young people and schools as dynamic cultural centers is also demonstrated by the participation of the High School of Art in Este, which will exhibit the works in the Barettoni orchard.

More tied to tradition, nevertheless, is the exhibition “Food & Ceramics” at the Anticolo Baccin Cecchetto String, for which were selected some pieces produced in the twentieth century with decorations related to food.

Many other events and collaborations are described in the program, easily available here.

Impressions of a rich September, full of creativity, openness and artistic and cultural exchange. And finally, with the real and metaphorical images, the doors of Nove are open.

About the Interviewed:Michele Barbiero


Architect, president of Nove Terra di Ceramica Association