Half way through the residency and the three of us are organizing our bisque and glaze firings. Our works are so different from each other and they take different sorts of space, so it does require maneuvering. Paolo, co-director and ceramic artist himself, has been very helpful with the firings and most generous with his assistance. It is especially nice for us when he has some time to do his own work while in the studio. Lori-Ann and he have a busy schedule with teaching classes in the studio as well as presenting lectures to other organizations for c.r.e.t.a. Rome.
Paola and Lori-Ann arranged for dinner with the three of us the other evening, taking us to a part of Rome we hadn’t been to before by car. We had the experience of driving in Roman traffic (reminded me very much of New Delhi) – cars taking up every inch of space and drivers maneuvering assertively without too much use of the horn, but lots of verbal and hand expressions. It seems there is a pattern to how they get about, but it is difficult for the non-driver (especially non-Roman driver) to see. We had a lovely evening in their company before we were back at it the next day.
(click on image to enlarge)
end of day warmth on walls
the forum view from the Capitoline
Teatro di Marcello
a rainy Piazza Navona
detail of buttresses of Teatro di Marcello
tile 2 of cobblestones
Debra and Nuala putting the salesman through his paces
My initial thoughts were to spend the residency researching tiles and ceilings in Rome – the sense of the city about me has instead taken me to interpreting surfaces that present themselves daily – the cobblestones on my walk through Trastevere to c.r.e.t.a.; ruins of columns, arches and sculptures; trees and buildings – there is enough for many lifetimes of work. Beginning is daunting, but I have.
I share a space near the Capitoline Hill with my friend Debra and another sculptor Nuala Creed at c.r.e.t.a. We have formed a good daily routine, mostly quietly working accompanied by Italian radio that reminds me of what our CBC FM station was many years before our cuts.
I’ve taken photographs, and am using them to form images on my tiles that are not large, approximately a foot square. With one bisque behind me, I’ve started painting the surfaces, so hopefully will have some results by the end of this week.
My working routine was rudely interrupted by a cold that many Romans seem to share, but I recovered just in time to spend a few days with friends from London, looking at sites I have been meaning to see. It was wonderful, but am feeling pressured to get some better work completed….
on the Sisto Bridge about to enter the Campo di Fiori
the real thing including 25% shrinkage!
kiln loading with tiles, limoges and Nuala’s sculptures
my desk littered with some tiles and limoges
Sparking the creative energy of all eight students in her class, Molly managed to extract something different from each of us – the mark of an excellent teacher. No clones here as she expertly taught her techniques (with additional illustrations from her new book) with the magnificent backdrop of Rome. Eight of us were from different parts of the planet – Norway, France, Australia, Canada, US and of course Rome. Aside from being an expert in design and ceramics, Molly is warm and personable and I will follow her career with great interest.
Concurrently, c.r.e.t.a. co-director Lori Ann Touchette took us to museums in the city with an additional Florence side-trip, continuously adding knowledgeable commentary about the works and sites we viewed, giving a richness to the works of art you can only get if you are fortunate enough to have someone who loves the works as much as she does and has the knowledge she possesses.
It was a fabulous preamble to the six week residency to come.
Mishima, Molly style
the class outside of c.r.e.t.a studio
front door to c.r.e.t.a. Rome
Lori Ann making a point at Crypta Balbi
Laurent in front of one of Betty Woodman’s constructions
the walk to c.r.e.t.a. through the Jewish Quarter
Recently I was commissioned to make a tile mural with inlay – not something new for me. Indeed, the buyers wanted me to return to a previous time where my work was perhaps more spontaneous, using rougher edges but with more structure on the interior of the form, with various sizes of coloured slip inlay contained by line I would later colour with liquid slip. This way of working reminds me of playing musical notes, and I attempt to include this feeling of flow and punctuation. I found this very exciting and also rejuvenating for me.