Our History - Bambole SIBANIA | Manifattura Porcellana Vicentina

Our Company

Who we are

Sibania is an Italian company located in Vicenza. Italian handcrafted and the artisan workshop tradition are the bedrock of our constant research on materials and on production techniques.

From the porcelain paste to the manufacturing, production is entirely developed into our workshops in Isola Vicentina, where our skilled artisans, designers and painters meticulously refine every figurine and give every face its own expression.

Our history

Inspired by the stylistic and technical features of the traditional craftmanship of the so called Capodimonte porcelain, Sibania has produced porcelain since 1980. Starting from this tradition, characterized by exceptional manual skill, we have then tried to integrate a continuous innovation, but keeping unchanged the handcrafted and the italian craftmanship as a benchmark.

We were born out of a great passion

Sibania was born in the 1980s with its creator Paolo Frigo, who approached the world of ceramics as a painter and model maker, shaping the sculptures for some porcelain workshops in Vicenza. Then, more for pleasure than out of necessity, he bought the first kiln. And then things got more interesting! He began like this, with humility and never fully satisfied with the results, continually trying to improve his technique and skills, but always with the pride of doing exactly the thing he wanted to do: keep his hands in the clay and use it as an ancient painter of icons used wood and colors, looking for the exact measure of the curvature on the surface of a face or body.

... and from a seized opportunity.

It was at that point that a particular request came: to create a series of heads for some porcelain dolls. Over the years, this small market grew to become our main engine, and rather quickly led us to grow in turn and to abandon altogether modeling on behalf of other laboratories, in order to concentrate exclusively on the creation, production and painting of porcelain components for dolls.

We have grown up in a continuous research

Since the mid-1980s we can say with a pinch of pride that Sibania has become a reference company in the Italian production of porcelain dolls, producing the biscuit on our exclusive prototypes for the main artisan workshops and companies that dwell in this field in Italy. This is also thanks to several innovations we introduced, for example the development of articulated bodies made completely out of porcelain, while the practice was still to form a body in padded fabric to which the final parts of the limbs were attached.

Over time we found our own aesthetic

Perhaps even more decisive, however, was the freshness with which the faces of our children were and still are modeled: modern and current, their expressions recall the faces of the children around us, those we could see on the street or at a friend’s house, laughing or throwing tantrums, crying, reflecting and dreaming.

We have always cared about the health of our employees

The development of dolls production has been constantly preceded by the desire to combine the great tradition around the artisan workshop, as it had developed over the centuries, with meticulous research on materials, for a continuous product innovation and with constant care in the use of harmless materials free from silica, lead, cadmium or other compounds harmful to health.

With the new millennium, our dolls have evolved into figurines

In 1998 we added a new branch of production to the dolls: new figurines, sculptures originally born from the faces of our porcelain children that eventually evolved independently, following an inspiration and a path of their own. This on the one hand taking into account the techniques acquired in the Capodimonte experience, and on the other by introducing new stylistic and technical typologies. These particular processes, imagined and developed by us over the years and still evolving, distinguish us from the production of classic porcelain figures and allow us to say that each piece produced in our laboratory is practically a unique piece.

... but we stayed true to ourselves!

Just as it is with the dolls, artistic porcelain in its traditional sense represents for our figurines but the starting point, from which we derive a more modern and contemporary representation, precisely because current and contemporary is the particular expressiveness of their faces and positions.

What is Sibania?

For many years we have been asked this question. What is Sibania? What does this name mean? We could not answer: the word itself does not exist, it means nothing: it is only a sound modulated by a voice. 

Sibania was born many years ago, at first it echoed in the memory, perhaps from a word heard by chance and involuntarily crippled, perhaps the name of a distant country or a mysterious kingdom in the tales of the fathers, or who knows…
The Name is born first. Then the Name generates the thing.
And so the thing grew, almost inexorable, like a baby in its mother’s womb, you can’t stop it. Like an island that rises from the sea with all its cliffs and forests and the flights of birds, with all the telluric settlements that its emergence entails.

At first no one notices that it is there, then some sailors off course begin to draw it down in their maps, others look for it and do not find it…

And meanwhile, the island is there.

For many years Sibania had produced porcelain for dolls from the best Italian manufacturers, but no one knew it: it was just a word of mouth among the professionals. Someone came every now and then: some found asylum, some found the island inhospitable, some tried again, some said that everyone was crazy there

Like so... A bit to smile and a bit for real.

Like so… the years pass and Time smoothes the cliffs, turns the hardest rock into sand. It settles the balance or upsets them. Like so… if we put this beautiful poem by Gozzano to present us a bit trivially, it is because it allows us to answer the initial question: what is Sibania?

Sibania is the island that was not there.

Like so… a bit for fun and a bit for real.

" The most beautiful "

I. But more beautiful than all, the Island Never Found:
The one the king of Spain had from his cousin
The king of Portugal with sealed signature
And papal bull in Gothic Latin.

The Infante sailed off for the legendary realm,
saw the Fortunate Isles: Iunonia, Gorgo, Hera,
and the Sargasso Sea and the Dark Sea
searching for that isle… But the island was not there.

In vain the round-bottomed sailing galleys,
in vain the caravels armed their bows:
with due respect to the pope, the isle is hidden,
and Portugal and Spain still search for it.

II. The isle exists, appearing sometimes from afar
Between Teneriffe and Palma, suffused in mistery:
“… the Island Never Found!” From the high peak of Teide
The good Canarian points it out to the foreigner.

Marked on the ancient maps of the corsairs.
… Hifola to-be found? … Hifola pilgrim?…
The magic isle that glides over the seas;
mariners sometimes see her near..

And point their bows toward her blessed shore:
Among unfamiliar flowers soar lofty palms,
The divine aromatic forest, thick and lush,
Weeping cardamom, seeping rubber sap…

Herald like the arrival of a perfumed courtesan,
the Island Never Found… Yet, if the pilot draws closer,
it rapidly fades away, like a vain shadow,
Tinged with the azure color of faraway…

Guido Gozzano
1913, su La Lettura del Corriere della Sera

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