Toni Moretto and “The Scricciolo” Ceramics

1929-2011. The world of art has lost a true artist, an amusing , generous and honest person. In the his statuettes he knew how to transfer innocence in the look of a child, love in the embrace of a mother, joy in the eyes of a dreamer, happiness in the dreamy look of a girl, all the moods of human beings were envisioned in his world of clay, except in some rare works. Toni did not represent the suffering of human beings, I think because life itself proposes it daily and so he did not consider it worth representing in his figurines, he preferred filling our houses with good feelings and joy.
Danilo Rigon

Toni Moretto was born on 24 June 1929 in Monticello Conte Otto.
As a child, he loved moulding clay which he would find in his village fields.This passion lead to the achievement of “Maturità Artistica” at Venice where his classmates were people like Licata, Celiberti, Parmeggiani, De Luig and other artists who become famous later.
Although after school he had had the opportunity to teach drawing he preferred enrolling at ceramic courses held by painter Otello De Maria and sculptor Giordani at Vicenza .He attended the courses for two years after which he had to leave for his military service in 1951.However during the courses Otello De Maria noticed his plastic arts capacities and offered him a job at Palladio Ceramics in Via San Marcello , Vicenza. The ceramic firm was just being established under Otello De Maria’s management but apart from him, Gigi Tomasi, an actor , was also participating.
During the same period Giovanni Duso began working there along with Toni Moretto. In a few years the company expanded employing fifteen workers. Palladio Ceramic production included items ranging from decorative plates with zoo morphologic subjects or views of Vicenza to fully or partially modelled hand made figures.
In 1957/58 Toni Moretto went to work for Girardi at the “Ceramiche Diana” in San Bortolo, Vicenza. There he had his own studio where he could prepare models as well as his unique pieces in total freedom. At the same time he got a chance to hold an exhibition with “Ceramiche Diana” in Verona.This denoted the artistic characteristics of his production.

Finally in 1958/59 Toni Moretto, Giovanni Duso and Adriano Colombo left "Diana" e founded "Lo Scricciolo" in Milano. For various reasons Milano gave them more chance to enter into tough competition .The first year was very challenging but they overcame this initial phase with great perseverance and eventually they were succeesful. Their production included fully or partially handmade pieces and even though these were repeated in series each one was different from the other. The pieces were mainly realized in white clay and the decoration was done with bright or dull colours under glaze.
They lived in Milano until August 1962, and then moved to Longara on the “Riviera Berica” where they built a goods shed. They also started participating at the Milano Fair and thus began exporting mainly to the USA where Toni Moretto even went to give demonstrations in specialized shops to show to the public how the items were made. They were lucky enough to meet an Italo American client who was obviously a great lover of “Made in Italy.” The company was Franco Neri Inc which had a prestegious shop on the 5° Street , New York.
The client invested a lot in promoting “The Scricciolo” increasing the value of the items. Each little piece was signed and accompanied with a booklet containing guaranty and company presentation. The client even offered a bonus to Scricciolo if it produced more to keep up with the demand .This request was however quite difficult to satisfy because each object required great artistic ability and sensitivity. Many pieces depicted everyday life and humorous scenes. Moretto animated and gave such expressivity to his pieces that they could generate a sense of fondness and often a smile on the viewers face. “Humorous ceramics” is the best way to define it. With the production for the USA market “Lo Scricciolo” grew commercially and started exporting to Australia and Japan. It kept receiving invitations to hold demonstrations at Art gallaries and shops in important cities.
“Lo Scricciolo” took to many homes all over the world not just items made in Italy but objects that gave joy and a pleasant feeling to those who possessed them. Lo Scricciolo stopped its activites in 1993.

Danilo Rigon - December 2002, a picture of me and Toni.