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Soda Discovery

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Key Information:
Class Size: 10 - 12 people
Destination: Italy  
Category: Art and craft workshop
Specialty: Ceramics/pottery  
Season: May
Courses Per Year: 1
Course Level: All levels
Min Price: 1450 Euro (EUR) per person
Max Price: 1450 Euro (EUR) per person

Instructor: Gail Nichols
Type: Throwing. Non begginers

In continuing it’s policy of inviting internationally recognized artists, La Meridiana this year organises a workshop of excellence for dedicated amateurs and professional potters called “Master Class”. For this purpose we have and will choose artists that beyond their technique and aesthetic vision, can be particularly inspiring in giving rich and strong stimulus to all those practicing ceramics and above all to professional potters. Gail Nichols, author of “Soda, Clay and Fire (American Ceramic Society, 2006)” will be the first artist to open this cycle with a course on the study and experimentation of soda firing. There will be a public presentation with slides and a discussion on techniques and aesthetics of soda firing. In parallel we’ll be offering a noborigama wood firing with work brought by the participants to the course. Please come with a willingness to experiment and to share information. Experience in throwing is recommended for the workshop, but is not essential.

Faculty Information:
Gail Nichols is an Australian ceramic artist, recognized internationally for her innovative approach to soda glazing. Through extensive research, leading to completion of a PhD at Monash University in 2002, Gail developed her unique vapour glaze aesthetic and technical approach to materials and firing. She makes vessels with soft organic forms and lush dimpled glazes that appear to ooze out of the clay itself. Her book, Soda Clay and Fire, published by the American Ceramic Society, has been heralded as a leading text on soda vapour glazing technique and aesthetics. Gail was born in the U.S.A. in 1953. She completed a mechanical engineering degree at Michigan State University in 1976, and worked on an irrigation project in Malaysia for two years before migrating to Australia, where she began her ceramic studies in Sydney. She teaches at Australian National University in Canberra.

Other Activities:
Students typically enjoy short excursions to some of the main attractions in beautiful Tuscany to compliment their daily work in the studio. The cities of Florence and Siena are both within an hour of La Meridiana and other intriguing Tuscan towns such as San Gimignano, Volterra and Greve in Chianti are a short drive away. The heart of the Chianti region lies just to our east, and Milan and Rome are both easily accessible by train or car.

Optional Courses (easily accessible):
- Horse riding.
- Cooking lessons.
- Wineries.

Facility Information:
The studio is on the ground floor of a restored 13th century farm house and offers space for all types of ceramic experimentation. Our kilns range from high-fire gas, raku, soda, and wood firing to lower-fired electric, pit, and smoke. Our staff is all practicing ceramic artists as well as fluent English speakers. Living accommodations are also provided within walking distance to the studio. Telephone and internet access are also available.

Price includes tuition, lodging, lunches, materials, and firing.

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