Giovanni Battista Rea
Battista owes his success to his prized Raku oven. Raku is a firing technique that is used when a ceramic piece is heated to 980 °C / 1800 °F and was traditionally used in the Japanese Tea Ceremony to produce tea bowls. At the “Wachtmeister Werkstatt” the tools and process consists of a large iron barrel (located in front of the workshop), a gas cylinder with a burner, an iron wheelbarrow full of sawdust, a small iron bathtub full of water, a face mask, fire-resistant gloves and a large pair of tongs. What arises from the process is an intense fire, steam and clouds of smoke which perfectly fit in with the natural environment surrounding the town of Capena. Everyone eagerly awaits holding their breaths in suspense to see what will emerge…you never know with Raku!
Just one hour north of Rome is where you find the “Wachtmeister Werkstatt”. There are two labs and a shop where Rosina Wachtmeister and her grandson Giovanni Battista Rea work tirelessly on their ceramic artwork. The workshop also houses their other works made by traditional Raku and cement dedicated to home and garden designs, garden benches, mosaics, tiles and tableware (vases, pitchers and plates) of all shapes, colors and sizes.
Rosina’s grandson “Battista” is in charge of operations and you can immediately see that his personality has been influenced by his surroundings. Since the workshop is located near the ancient gateway of the village, the locals from the area also known as “The Rocca” tend to stop by the workshop on a day to day basis. The local children also stop by the workshop on their way home from school. They immediately drop their school bags on the floor and eagerly ask if they can make something. They are then given a piece of clay, a small board and one of Rosina’s personal modelling tools with strict instructions on how to use and to later return in a clean state! At the end everyone is sitting down on the benches in front of the workshop smiling, laughing and chatting while creating molds of dragons, lizards, earthworms and angels to give as gifts to their mothers at Christmas time.