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Under the Tuscan Soot

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Key Information:
Class Size: 10 - 12 people
Destination: Italy  
Category: Art and craft workshop
Specialty: Ceramics/pottery  
Season: September - October
Courses Per Year: 1
Course Level: Advanced
Min Price: 2100 Euro (EUR) per person
Max Price: 2100 Euro (EUR) per person

There IS soot in Tuscany! We trapped it in 2007 and even more in 2008, now that we know how to fire the kilns. We will spend the first week making pots, lots and lots of pots, for everyday use. There will be daily readings, demonstrations, exercises and assignments and lots of wine! The second week will focus on carbon trapping shino-type glazes: bisque, testing, glazing, and firing. And scattered throughout will be memorable meals (including a cooking demo), music, and visits to museums, ancient cities, wineries and a chocolate tasting. It will be glorious!

Faculty Information:
Malcolm Davis has been a full-time studio potter since 1984 when he left his previous life as campus minister. He took his first ceramics class in 1974 and since 1985 has maintained his mountaintop studio in Upshur County, WV. He is internationally recognized for his work with shino-type glazes, specifically for the creation of a unique shino-type formula with a high concentration of soluble soda ash, which encourages the trapping of carbon in the early stages of the firing.
About his work he says: “I work exclusively in porcelain. My goal is to make fresh, spirited, graceful pots for daily use, searching for fluidity and clarity of form within the context of function and striving for elegance rather than drama. My desire is to bring to life pots that are friendly and intimate, growing ever more personal with daily use.

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.

Costs relate to the length and type of services. They all include appropriate:
- Lodging.
- Fresh gourmet lunches during the working days.
- Some transport.
- Materials and firings.
- General help during the stay.

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