Much like this couple strolling in San Gimignano, may your 2018 be full of health, happiness, and love - una cosa e di un'altra.
Saturday, 30 December 2017
Thursday, 7 December 2017
It was seven weeks ago today that I arrived in Italy in anticipation of an eight-week mentored residency at La Meridiana International School of Ceramics (with funding support of the Ontario Arts Council, which is gratefully acknowledged). It has been time spent working and learning, such as you lose some...and you win some! One teapot - one of the visually best I've made - completely jettisoned off its handle and into the glaze bucket. Evidence of poor making; ergo, lesson learned. This teapot is also one of the visually best teapots I've made. By no means is it "perfect" (to one's own standard), yet it perfectly encompasses so many of the things that I've learned in the last seven weeks. Both the making and the finishing are not at all my usual style: a pulled handle, hot wax resist, a seated lid, scratched-through glazing, and not to mention a cracked rim deftly repaired-at-the-drying stage (by mentor John Colbeck). It took an inordinate amount of time to get on track with my time and purpose here, to make "Purposeful Porcelain", but I shall leave next week having just arrived at where I next need to be.
Thursday, 23 November 2017
Monday, 23 October 2017
As always when embarking on something new, it takes a day or two to really settle into it, even if you have what seems like a very clear vision of what you expect to effect from the task. There is the getting to know the people, the surroundings, the materials, the procedures. And maybe amidst all that is the getting to know yourself, that amidst all the "squirrel moments", you realise you might have a better handle on things than you think. In his introductory talk for the Piccolpasso program at www.lameridiana.fi.it, John Colbeck spoke about the complexity of simplicity. I may have only thrown two decent cups out of many attempts today, but I learned a tremendous heck of a lot. Ergo, rather than pictures of the day in the studio, here is one of dinner: valeriana inalata con pollo arrosto, ceci, e pomodori secchi sott'olio siciliana...and of course, a little something to drink.
Friday, 20 October 2017
Settling in to tutti zone (all areas): time, weather, culture... As I sat on a ledge earlier today in Piazza S. Iaocopo & Filippo, eating a somewhat flavourless panino di pomodoro e formaggio (if that's possible) (And yes, ONE sandwich is a panino, NOT a panini - take THAT Tim Hortons et al.!), it would have been impossible not to savour every bite, infused as each was with the flavour of the time, weather, and culture by which my humble sandwich and I were surrounded. It was more than a moment of reflection after my shopping spree, as a fitful walk to the coop (supermarket) yielded a necessary bounty: shampoo, chocolate, and socks. Afterwards, I scored another windfall of pens and carta trasparente (transparent paper, which fortunately the shopkeeper figured out from my attempt to describe tracing paper as "carta di cipolla pelle" - skin onion paper). They say that the shopping in Italy is fantastic; it's all there is and more.
Saturday, 7 October 2017
It's the Thanksgiving holiday weekend here in Canada, the notion of which is a bit of a slippery slope in this hopefully enlightened time of truth and reconciliation. Hopefully as well, though, may those of us (which is most of us) whose ancestors are from other lands, be truly, respectfully, and compassionately thankful to be on this land.
This weekend sees members of my pottery group having our annual show and sale, a change from our timing of late November. It was a brilliant day, with marvelous people who'd not been aware of us but decided to stop in on their ways to and fro! There were familiar friends, too, who rounded out the day of good conversation and company, all in support of us as local artisans. It was a day to be thankful, indeed, particularly after a bit of a figurative fall of my own at one point. Most of us will slip and fall from time to time, in all manner of ways. May we be thankful for those who are there to catch us.
Sunday, 3 September 2017
"Each separate part was a simple fraction of the whole." This is Da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man", as displayed in Napoli's Stazione Centrale in 2012. I was reminded of the original sketch this weekend as we prepared to dance our community piece "Array" at Illuminate Barrie. One might wonder if Da Vinci could have conceived of the impact of this image and the many purposes it serves. This visual compels one to think spherically and laterally, to think not only physically but energetically. Thinking in those terms has allowed for the many parts that have made this one incredibly whole Summer, from being involved with the choreographic creation of "Array" as part Simcoe Contemporary Dancers' presentation of Dusk Dances Barrie, to receiving an Ontario Arts Council grant for an upcoming ceramics residency in Italy, to seeing my niece and nephew play their guitar recital pieces, to catching up with old friends over a Raku firing. Yes, this is all very me, me, me! The thing is, it wouldn't be me without all those incredible people in all those parts around me, and for that, I am so very grateful.