Walter learned his trade from his father Elvio, who learned from his father, who learned from his own father. Their generational story is only one of many in the small town of Assemini, known as one of the poles of Sardinian ceramic production. Walter's particular style is rooted in the inimitable texture that comes from his shaping of details and decorations. A master of form, he is able to create vases that are at once timeless and deeply rooted in Sardinian history.
1. Define tradition.
For me, tradition is about expressing a passion that has been inherited, that's been handed down from my ancestors. To be able to transmit knowledge, identity and customs through a simple object. I like to think that even our modern pieces are infused with that history of ability and passion.
2) What do you love most about your job?
Creating and modeling a unique object from a simple ball of clay. I no longer make objects that are necessary for daily life, so the challenge has become creating something innovative that still communicates my Sardinian identity. I find it a singular pleasure to have the power to make a customer satisfied and happy.
3) Your favorite place in Sardinia?
There isn’t a place in Sardinia that I don’t love. There are lots of details that give this island a character that other lands just don’t have - the color of the sea, the scent of helichrysum, the eyes of the women (just one look at them and you can tell that they’re in charge of the island), the philosophical air of the sheep, the dessert seadas (like a legal drug), people think before speaking, the particular Sardinian grammar that gets translated directly into Italian, the trees that have been bent by strong winds. All together, you can only find these on my much-loved island.
By Walter Usai: Circle Vase, Nuptial Vase; Tunda Vase, Marria Vase from
the Sisters Collection, designed by Valentina Cameranesi; Langiu Vase, Cruciu Vase from the Descendent Collection & Talisman Vase, Abundance Vase from the Mirror Image Collection, all designed by Sam Baron;
Mariga Vase, Siri Vase by Pretziada Studio; and Medusa Vase, designed by Chiara Andreatti.