||[Aug. 23rd, 2010|03:40 pm]
This summer I took a wonderful ceramics course in central Tuscany at a facility called La Meridiana (the Sundial in Italian). You can get information on this well established ceramics center on the web, of course:
Tje director of La Meridiana is Pietro Maddelana, a highly accomplished maker of functional and sculptural ceramics who has been active for 3-4 decades (I lost count); his website is
The instructor for our class was the well known and highly regarded figurative sculptor Lucianne Lasalle, who lives in Scotland; to find her on the web:
Her most recent public work is a remarkable bronze piece that you can see at:
She showed us photos of the process of making the figure out of clay and forming from it a mold--very interesting.
La Meridiana provided for us a sensationally beautiful young Italian woman named Anna. From her I made two pieces, a torso and a shoulder, life size and as exact as I could manage; the shoulder is presented in my previous LJ post, below. This approach was a new experience for me and I learned a good deal of detailed anatomy as well as how to look at a subject. It is always odd to me that most art education consists of learning how to see.
Here is a partial back view of Anna along with my version of her splendid bottom:
And here is another of the bottom outside drying, with your obedient servant:
While we in the class were fharting about learning how to sculpt Lucianne decided to do an Anna herself. Here is a pic of the sculptor and the work, nearly done:
To finish Lucianne put flat slabs of clay vertically in the neck and drew several interesting faces on it, including some great art deco faces:
A wonderful piece of art. I don't know what head piece she used in the end.
In addition to doing bits of Anna I also did a few other pieces, notably the shoulder in the previous LJ post. Here are my pieces after coming out of the kiln:
One of these, toward the back and nearly out of view, is a head, a replica of the head of another student, Miriam, who kindly modeled for me numerous times over the 10 or so days we worked at La Meridiana. I had never done this kind of work before; it was just great as a challenge. When I did the hair I departed from exact replication, and now I rather regret it--her hair is better than mine. Here is a pic of my piece in process, with Miriam so that you can see how accurate the piece is:
And here is one of me working on the head:
I recommend La Meridiana to anyone interested in advancing their skill levels in clay. The facility offers classes in every imaginable area of clay work--wheel and hand making, glazing, special firing, sculpture, special clay bodies, and so on. In addition they take care of routine matters such as housing; they provide a wonderful midday dinner meal in addition to 2 coffee/tea breaks. The center, near the town of Certaldo is an easy train ride to Sienna, Pisa and Florence; we went only to Sienna as I wanted to spend as much time in the studio as I could (but somehow less than Miriam spent, a real fanatic).