Discover Benelux, Issue 52, April 2018

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Discover Benelux  |  Museums Special  |  Belgium & France

Discover the ceramics tradition of Andenne TEXT: LORENZA BACINO  |  PHOTOS: VILLE D’ANDENNE

For nearly 2,000 years, the small Belgian town of Andenne (Wallonia) has been making its living from clay. The iron and lead-rich soil lends itself perfectly to the production of pottery: glazed-terracotta, pipes, white earthenware, porcelain and stoneware. . The town was founded around 690 in the Meuse valley by Charlemagne’s great-grandmother, Begge, with the construction of a Merovingian monastery. After the more local production dating from the sixth to tenth centuries, the High Middle Ages saw the rapid expansion of the pottery industry, and today’s renowned ceramics tradition was born. The river Meuse ensured the Andenne ceramics trade was able to spread to the North Sea and thus across to Northern Europe. Archaeological excavations have unearthed an array of objects of great historical significance, many of which can 28  |  Issue 52  |  April 2018

now be viewed in the Ceramics Museum in town. These include refined highquality mid-18th and 19th century white earthenware and porcelain masterpieces, as well as a selection of industrial technical ceramics or clay pipes, examples of which were exported worldwide. There are masterpieces by sculptors Arthur Craco, from the interwar period and Antonio Lampecco, from the ‘50s. The Ceramics Museum opened its doors in 1933. There are more than 10,000 pieces that currently make up the collection and date from the first century. Thanks to the exhibits, visitors can have a greater understanding of how ceramics have shaped the life of this town and influenced its development. In 2018 Ceramic Art Andenne celebrates its 30th anniversary from 11 May to 10 June. From its early and modest beginnings, Ceramic Art Andenne has grown in influence

and now attracts an international crowd of artists and ceramics enthusiasts. The exhibition runs for a month and is a time for the whole town to display the full range of its ceramics tradition with pride, including in the Ceramics Museum. Whit Sunday and Monday (20 - 21 May) mark the highlights of the event, when the heart of Andenne beats to the rhythm of a dazzling array of live performances, workshops, conferences and its international ceramics fair. These take place at various locations across town, bringing contemporary art to the people and ensuring visitors can enjoy and be reminded of the vitality of the ceramics tradition that encapsulates the very essence of this town. More about Andenne: www.andennetourisme.be More about Ceramic Art Andenne: www.ceramicartandenne.be