Q: Are your products really made in Europe?
A: Yes. Caterina Ltd. goes to great lengths to ensure that its ceramics, textiles and glassware are originals, made according to centuries-long traditions by artisans in Europe. These are not mass-produced imitations or cheap copies. We work directly with the artisans in most cases to ensure that the work is high quality and conforms to our high standards.
Q: What is maiolica?
A: "Maiolica," also referred to as "majolica," refers today to any enameled, fired ceramic that is painted against a white, tin-based glaze. The tin creates an opaque "canvas" for the art of the painter, permitting detailed and precise designs, unlike the transparent, muddy lead-based glazes that are less stable when fired, fusing easily and causing designs to bleed. The technique is ancient, thought to have been developed by Assyrians over three thousand years ago, thereafter imported to Spain, resulting in the indigenous development of Spanish-Moresque ware. In the 13th century, Spanish tin-glazed ware began to be imported by Majorcan traders into Italy. The term "maiolica" is derived from the Spanish island Majorca, where the techniques were once thought to have originated. Ceramicists have been making maiolica in Deruta since the 13th century.
Maiolica is made of earthenware terra cotta formed on a wheel or in molds, then fired in a kiln to reach the stage known as "biscotto" or bisque ware. The piece is then dipped into a bath of glaze known as the bianco, or white coating, a mixture of tin oxides and a silicate of potash. Once the white coating is dry, the piece is painted with mineral pigments. All of our maiolica is hand-painted by expert painters. Quick, sure strokes are required, as the pigments are immediately absorbed by the porous white base, ensuring there is no chance of erasure and no room for error. A final coating, called the coperta, of a transparent glaze, provides a shiny and smooth finish and makes the bright colors even more brillant. A second firing simultaneously melts the white base to the object while it fuses the pigments of the decoration. The different colors are derived from minerals. The blue comes from cobalt, the green from copper, the yellow from antimonium.
Q: How should I care for my maiolica?
A: Maiolica can be washed in a dishwasher as well as by hand. We recommend top rack washing and energy saver cycle drying to avoid extreme changes in temperature: not the pots & pans cycle! It is not recommended for reheating in a microwave, however, since the porous nature of the ceramic is likely to expand and contract with the heat and create crazing or tiny cracks in the enamel. Crazing will not affect the maiolica or weaken it; but some don't like the look of tiny cracks in the enamel. Maiolica may be exposed outside to sunlight, rain and cool temperatures; it should be brought inside to avoid freezing temperatures in the winter, however.
Q: Where is Caterina Ltd. located?
A: Caterina Ltd. is located just south of downtown Columbus in the heart of German Village on South Third Street, at the corner of Beck & Third Streets. The address is 571 South Third Street in Columbus, Ohio 43215. Free off-street parking in our lot across Beck to the north of the store; if the lot is full, you may park on Third Street for up to two hours for free.
Q: When is Caterina Ltd. open?
A: Caterina Ltd. is open Tuesday through Friday 11 - 6; Saturday 11 - 5; Sunday and Monday closed. In case of a gift emergency, call for an appointment at other times - 614.224.7224