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need advice -- going to lameridiana - tuscany -- help!

updated fri 10 nov 06


Mary Adams on tue 7 nov 06

I am considering an artist-in-residency program in Tuscany at La Meridiana. International Centre for Ceramic Art.

I know a couple of you actually teach there and that really makes me feel good about the potential. I'm about to make the commitment and send my deposit and make air line reservations. I've never been anywhere outside of the US and I'm 59 years old. I'm really excited about it and saving money for it; but, I get really panicky that I may not be looking at this completely realistically. I'm researching and reading. I would appreciate any advice, recommendations, experiences, pointers that any of you might have to help me research this decision and feel secure that I'm doing a good thing.

Thanks to anyone who offers info, help or advice.

Mary A.

Marcia Selsor on tue 7 nov 06

La Meridiana is a great place to work. If this is your first trip
overseas, you need to consider what it is you want to do. Do you want
to stay is a beautiful isolated studio in the countryside to
concentrate on your work? Depending on the other residents, usually
one or two plus an assistant or two, there will be limited contact
with other people. There is a bus to certaldo at 9 am returning at 1
pm. And a bus at 6:20am to florence returning at 7PM. That gives you
lots of time to explore Florence. Pre book museums like the Uffizi
and the Academy during high tourist seasons. As a resident artist you
are expected to take care of yourself, your livelyhood, your
interests, etc. You are not going to be catered to.
From Certaldo, you can get a train to Siena ot Pisa, Be sure to
visit the city hall and the duomo in Siena especiallty the Picadillo
in the Duomo.
If you go in winter, bring warm work clothes. There is a wood stove
in the studio. Heat in the apartments is at your expense and it is
expensive. I used my laptop as a bedwarmer. La meridiana is a 12th
century villa. It is gorgeous but rustic by American standards. If
you are there in spring or fall, watch for various activities like
wine fests or religous holidays. I was in Florence on Jan.6. There is
a procession of the Florentine nobility (hundreds of them) in
Renaissance costumes departing the Petti Palace in a procession to
the cathedral. Cannon, flag twirlers, amazing. Brush up one your
Italian.The people at the ticket office at the RR station, the
restaurant in bagnano don't speak english. To use the buses, you need
to purchase tickets ahead of time from the bar up the road. Punch in
when you board the bus.
On the trains, you must punch in your train ticket on the platform
before boarding the train. Keep baggage at a minimum. There is a
laundry facility at La Meridiana. You need to be able to put your bag
above your seat on the trains.
Food can be purchased at the co-op in certaldo for a great selection
(closed Sunday) or the bar/grocery in Bagnano closed afternoons
limited items .
In my class, I combine working in this great facility with accessing
as much of the near cultural showplaces. Volterra is difficult to
reach by public transportation from Certaldo. I hire a bus for my
group so we can visit. It is one of the original Etruscan City states
with the first museum with a great etruscan collection of sarcophagi.
Pietro and his staff are gracious hosts but busy with the operations
of the facility and their own pursuits. Groups are provided for
through organization. Individuals are not. I love la meridiana as a
creative environment year round. You must be prepared to adapt to
what is there.
Marcia Selsor

Donald Burroughs on wed 8 nov 06

I concur with Marcia! Bella Toscana!

Don Burroughs

Russel Fouts on wed 8 nov 06


>> I am considering an artist-in-residency program in Tuscany at La
Meridiana. International Centre for Ceramic Art. <<

Are you going for the residency or one of the workshops? If a workshop,
which one?

My advice is:

Have a great time!
Eat some Great food!
Enjoy the sunshine!
Learn from some of the best!
Say hi to Pietro for me!

Russel (Been there, Done that (twice), Will probably do it again this

Pamela Regentin on wed 8 nov 06

Ciao Mary,

You are so incredibly blessed to be able to do this trip and workshop!! I am copper green with envy!!

I went to Italy last year and it was a highlight in my life. I think about it often and am determined to go back some day. I have been to Europe twice and to five countries there but Italy was definately my favorite. I read about the workshop and sighed with longing to do it. I am sure it will be an invaluable experience.

Even if you came away feeling like you didn't learn what you wanted/needed at the workshop (HIGHLY unlikely!) it is still tremendously valuable to go to another place/country/culture to experience something outside of the familiar. It is educational and enriching to see how other people live and find out how big and how small the world really is. The incredible history of the place will make you see how young our country really is. The ART history will be so inspiring. There is so much there that you quickly become saturated and eventually feel like you can't possibly take in one more sculpture or fresco or fountain or tile mosaic or painting.... Florence is stunning in its treasures with Michaelangelo celebrated on every streetcorner, though not always in good taste. (An apron with a full frontal of "David" anyone?) I just don't think there is any way you could come home and wish you had never done it. Full speed ahead!

Buon Voyage!

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