Maiolica is a term that is commonly confused with majolica. Although their names have a common origin, they are 2 distinct styles. The island of Majorca, off the coast of Eastern Spain, throughout history, was a pottery trade stop of Mediterranean Europe. Both terms originate from that island. The term (and style) we concern ourselves with here at Dover Pottery is maiolica, also known as faenze (which is another story all together). Maiolica pertains to the Italian painting technique of applying metallic colorants, saturated in water, in an artful way to the raw glaze before firing. Although our clay and firing range are a bit different, it is essentially the same technique. We made a few choices which departed from traditional Italian Maiolica for the reasons of function, safety, and durability. Traditional maiolica was made of teracotta (a brown low-fired clay very common in Italy), and covered with a lead based tin opacified (whitened) glaze. The effect was intended to mimic the beautiful Chinese porcelain pieces making their way into Rennaisance era Italy. The drawback to using terracotta is a lower maturing point, resulting in a less vitreous (less compacted clay particles) clay body. In laymen's terms, terracotta is more prone to chipping, and we won't even go into the drawbacks of LEAD! For these reasons, at Dover Pottery we have chosen clays and formulated glazes that are far more durable and infinitely more safe to use. The Rennaissance Italians did have one advantage until recently however, while using their low fired techniques. Traditionally, the most vibrant colorants existed only in the lower firing ranges, but, thanks to modern advancements in glaze technology, we can attain those same colors at a higher, more durable, firing temperature. The results at Dover Pottery are high fired, vibrant colored, food safe, microwave safe, dishwasher safe, and yes, even oven safe (providing you start your oven at room temperature) ware that will give you years of enjoyment both from a functional and decorative standpoint. Our design evolution is not entirely traditional either as far as maiolica goes. Al's and Milly's love for decorated pottery prompted them to amass a pretty significant library of pottery books on the subject of decoration from all over the world. On Dover Pottery's pieces you will find elements of Chinese, Turkish, Italian, Spanish, Portugese, and more; design cues all woven into an eclectic hodge-podge of worldly design on each piece. The beauty of this, of course, is limitless experimentation in designs, that will make their way onto our shelves and into people's homes for years to come.