search  current discussion  categories  places - europe 

la meridiana/tuscany/betty woodman

updated sat 22 jul 00


Marcia Selsor on fri 21 jul 00

Dear Clayarters,
Here is a more detailed description of La Meridiana. Will be setting up
a link to show photos after I return from workshop at the Appalachian
Center for Crafts.
La Meridiana is the home, gallery and studio of Pietro Maddalena. The
studio for courses has 14 kick wheels of his design. The room stays cool
even on the hottest of days. Ruthanne Tudball's workshop had students
from Holland, Sweden, Italy, Belgium.and the US. The course was taught
in English and Italian thanks to Pietro. German could also be heard.
Mid morning coffee breaks were prepared by apprentices Sandra and Dinda
for a casual gathering in the organic amphitheater. There were also 4:00
tea and coffee breaks. During these times various topics were discussed
including reflection of the activity of the work.
Lunch 12:30-1:30 or 2 was served in the dining room of Pietro and
Guiliana. Wonderful meals with "unlimited wine " as Pietro says. The
wine is local and not aged as long as exported wine. It is rather fruity
and little alcohal. There was a siesta from 2-3. Many just returned to
the studio.
There is a small swimming pond full of frogs. Great place to observe
nature. The gardens and outbuildings are lovely. Often potters from
Europe pass by and camp on their way somewhere. I met a friend of a
friend from Germany. There is a great network of European potters and
the openess is similar to a clayart room at NCECA.
On Sunday, Pietro took us to visit Betty Woodman at her studio and home
in a small village in the high hills beyond Florence. From her studio
you can see the entire valley with Florence and the recognizable Duomo
towards the north. She will be celebrating her 70th birthday. May she
have another 30+ like Beatrice! Her gracious hospitality was a real treat.
On the following Thursday, we visited La Loggia, a private art gallery
and sculpture garden where Betty Woodman was exhibiting work. WOW! After
hearing her discuss her thought processes, it was great to see the
finished work displayed.She puts a new twist on Architectural cermaics.
The outdoor gardens included more of Woodman's work as well as many
other artists. (I will post photos). She had a bronze bench that looked
like her clay slab work.
La Loggia is also a bed and breakfast and still in the hands of the
Medicis. -amazing.
Back at La Meridiana 4 soda firings were completed successfully from a
new kiln. Mel, I think I prefer soda to salt.
On Sunday night we drove en mass to a concert of Carmina Burana in a
12th C. convent. again WOW!
The finale of the course was the completion of the last firing with
really delicious Italian pizza and "unlimited wine". The day after, we
dropped Ruthanne at the airport and I went with several participants to
Collodi's Pinnochio Park, north of Lucca. What a great place.
La Meridiana offers workshops during the summers featuring well-known
Ceramics specialists like Sebastian Blackie, Mo Jupp. They are in a
wonderful rural setting among the vineyards and steep hills of Tuscany.
I am going back!
Marcia Selsor

Marcia Selsor