My Italian Pottery Vacation


Soda Fired Bowl

Soda Fired Bowl

I spent 2 weeks in Italy this May attending a pottery workshop at La Meridiana in Certaldo. The instructor was Gay Smith. It was a wonderful vacation – 2 weeks of living in Italy, potting to my heart’s content and eating lots of great food.


Because of the small kiln size, we raw glazed (no bisque) for the soda kiln. We got in 3 firings in 2 weeks. The second load was the best (IMHO).  These pots came out of the second firing.

Soda Fired Vase

Soda Fired Vase



To see more pics from La Meridiana and the firings go to:


About Claytastic

Health coach. Writer. Teacher. Artist. Living an amazing life with MS. Interested in bringing peace and beauty into people's lives.
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4 Responses to My Italian Pottery Vacation

  1. OMG, you are so lucky to take this workshop in Italy. I have been thinking about this place for 2 years but CAN’T do it. I have a full-time job (really don’t want to do it any more). Could you tell me more details about this workshop, so if I decide to go, I know a little bit about it. I live about 60 miles west of Washington DC.

    I just started my online marketing for my pottery. I had a gallery in Winchester, VA for 4 years and closed it out 3 years ago (too hard to make money). I am going to get a mac this week too. I have facebook (just signed up this week)

    It’s nice to know you!

    Yu-Fen Chang-Pett

  2. claytastic says:


    La Meridiana is a great place. All in all, its no more expensive than 2 weeks at Penland, if you can get your airfare with points. Some people thought it was silly to fly to Italy to take a workshop from an American potter (Gay Smith), but I didn’t listen to them. I learned a tremendous amount there, even when there were issues with materials and kiln size, we worked through them and as a result I learned even more. Specifically, we got to single fire/raw glaze, which I had never done before. I loved the result and the immediacy of the process.

    If you can’t take 2 weeks off, or afford to go to Italy, don’t fret. There are tons of great places in the U.S. that have great workshops. 2 weeks is the standard, but you can find 1 week workshops at places like Odyssey in NC or Castle Hill on Cape Cod. Just keep looking. There is also the Mid-Atlantic Clay conference in October that is a long weekend, and might be good place for you to go and experience a few different potters. Also the Art League in Alexandria and the Workhouse Art Center in Fairfax have weekend workshops. I think they are both having workshops in October. Check those out, since they are in your backyard. The weekend workshops tend to be demo only, but I still think they are worth it, and they are cheaper.

    The best advice I can offer is to go to as many workshops as you can. I credit workshops with helping me find my artistic voice. Also, and this is going to sound hokey, visualize what you want and accept what comes in your path. I have been doing that for the last year, and while I am still working that day job, I will cut back my hours in the fall to pursue more pottery. I used to resent that my job kept me from pottery. Now, I am grateful for it – it allows me to do pursue this avocation without financial stress and teaches me good business practices that I apply to my growing pottery business.

    It’s nice to meet you. If you ever get down to the DC area, let me know. And I’ll keep you posted on the upcoming workshops I learn of in the DC area.


  3. Hi Laurie,

    Thank you so much for the info! I do know there are lots of workshops in US and around this area but I always want to learn Italian pottery. I love the way they paint their pots colorfully. I think I will go there one day while I still have my day job:-).

    Are you doing lots of art shows? I always don’t think that I can make living by selling pottery (my husband always says that I have to change my thinking). If you would like to have some art shows information in my area, I will let you know when I get the application. Keep in touch!

  4. ian says:

    to workshop pottery in italy sounds really cool. I also want to do it. cause I want to create my own pot design for my yard. hope I could visit there soon.. or maybe next year if I have made every task done before my vacation period.. with my family.. maybe next year july would do..

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