Catching up, December 2022

Last year I was contacted on Instagram by a design studio and gallery in Volterra, Italy called Kalpa Art Living. Social media has been a great place to be seen and to discover new and far away contacts offering undreamed of opportunities. Many of these come to nothing of course and I’ve learnt to be rather tentative in my enthusiasm when approached. However this contact has been developing and I was commissioned to make a trio of raku fired Erosion Bowls for a hotel development in New York. As the size required would fit, to the millimetre, into my small electric kiln for bisque firing I thought it would be a straight forward job and enjoyable to make a set of pieces. It was only later, shipping the work directly to Manhattan that I discovered the scale and quality of the project to redevelop The Crown Building on 5th avenue into Aman New York.

At Ceramic Art London in 2019 I met some lovely Italian potters who invited me to visit their pottery enterprise Scultura Ceramica in Genova. Having spent some formative years in Italy I was very glad to accept but we never managed to find a time to suit us all. The prospect of travelling and giving a demonstrating was a bit overwhelming. And then Covid hit and I was very glad we hadn’t made arrangements only to be cancelling them. But the idea remained active and eventually, with some cajoling from a friend (oh just get over it and go!), this autumn it came to fruition. I had 12 students over the weekend and a delightful translator to do the hard work when my Italian failed me. I enjoy doing these demos once I get going and the stage fright nerves subside.

I forget that people just want to see how the pots are actually made and that the slow measured process is just as mesmerising for them as it is for me. We then had a few days in Tuscany, staying in Volterra, where we were able to visit the gallery and fall in love with the ancient and timeless Etruscan city. There is something familiar in the stones of the streets, embedded fossilised sea shells, just like the ones I find on the beaches here and use in the wood kiln. The joy of being abroad again and eating real pesto Genovese, and sitting outside watching the sun go down over a glorious warm landscape. It finally felt like the pandemic was over.