Curtis Benzle Awarded Alabama State Council on the Arts


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Transparent porcelain flowersWe are proud to hear that Curtis Benzle  has been awarded one of only four Individual Artist Fellowships in the Visual Art and Craft categories by the Alabama State Council on the Arts.  In recognizing Mr. Benzle’s achievements, an ASCA representative noted, “The texture and colors used by Benzle shows mastery of the materials and his experimental signature style…… his long track record as an artist and educator are reasons he was selected to receive a fellowship.”

In responding to his Fellowship recognition, Mr. Benzle stated, “An ASCA Fellowship is both an honor and a responsibility”.  “I recognize that this honor was granted for my work as an artist AND an educator”.

Over the past years, Curtis  Benzle has developed  and continues to refine a very Curtis Benzle  Counter    22cm  Wx 17cm Hx 10cm Dpractical course.  The basic  approach is based on three aspects of virtually every successful art career—creating personal art, developing a product and teaching at the community level.”   


There will be again a chance to study the transluency of porcelain with Curtis Benzle here at La Meridiana,  for the fourth time ! Pin down the dates: April 17 – 23 2016.

Vieques  Curtis Benzle Porcelain 18 in wide



Exploring our Narrative Voices


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Stories, Myths and Magic in Clay

There are many ways with the storytelling. Sometimes stories develop as a result of our personal experiences or believes, sometimes they appear from our subconscious, other times it is a visual stimulus, like laying on your back and following the imagery of clouds.

As Jan Edwards puts it: …”Reading in the clouds”:  That is what it’s like when the slip tells me what to do.Ceramic vase made in terracotta clay with white slip and sgraffitto decoration

Here  a picture of the first pot that Jan made this way.   It was made at la Meridiana, during the last workshop.  It’s called “Etruscan Gift”

Jan has become very passionate about storytelling. She has found much inspiration in Italy, more precisely, from the Etruscan Culture.  Following them has been a main thread of her traveling in Italy, so far… and in the future.

Morning tile 2 Morning tile 3 Terra cotta tiles with colored slip decorationSometimes she starts her studio days making a “Morning drawing”.   It’s kind of like playing scales on the piano, loosening up, helping imagery to emerge.merman

Jan has become very passionate about storytelling in clay. She will share her experience and passion in a two week workshop in June with the  additional opportunity of a trip planned as an introductory experience for workshop participants only.











Festive Season


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Highfired disk in Stoneware with relief decorationWe love to share with you the content of Martin for a successful year and a positive outlook.

Dear Art Friends,
Positively a great gift – the new NL “Klei – Keramiek Magazine” has featured one of my new “core” Object as the cover photo. “Met hamer en beitel” –  “with hammer and chisel”
This puts the icing on a very interesting 2014 cake!
Having been invited to show – talk and demonstrate – my work in many parts of the world.
Including China and India with a major solo in the great German Keramikmuseum – Westerwald.
After a little break, 2015 starts with a group show on the 10th January in Delft NL where all six artist that took part in the “Terra – Sanbao” (NL – China) project will be showing in gallery Terra.
Otherwise invitations are coming in from Austria, Serbia, Italy, Belgium, NL and India.
Wishing you all a great festive season
CheersMultiple vessels in white stoeware
Martin Mc William will teach at La Meridiana:
Large Format Ceramics
Slabs, coils or from solid block – learn to build large scale vessels.
Martin McWilliam – http://www.martin-mcwilliam
August 23rd – 29th 2015

Students building large scale sculptures in clay

Things to do when at La Meridiana. The Vasari Corridor, a Renaissance Skywalk in Florence


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Vasari corridor as seen from the Arno river

An extended stay at La Meridiana, like a residency , a two week workshop or the twelve week long ON CENTRE programme, allows for exploring the art and beauty of Tuscany.  An extraordinary experience, that however needs sufficient planning is the walk through the Vasari Corridor.

human head with horn in bronze

Self portrait of Jan Fabre

The Corridor was built in 1564 by Giorgio Vasari at the time of the wedding between Francesco I de’ Medici and Giovanna of Austria. Vasari created a monumental avant-garde skywalk, a covered pathway of almost one kilometer in length that connects the Pitti Palace, where the Grand Duke resided, with his offices, the “Uffizi “.

The visitor can enjoy some magnificent and little-known views over the city from its round windows and the passageway contains over 1000 paintings. The highlight is certainly the collection of Self-portraits of foremost masters of painting from the 16th to the 20th century.

self portrait in the vasari corridor

Mimmo Paladino


Robert Mapplethorpe

Selfportraits of artists of the 20th century

Elisabeth Chaplin

The overhead passageway starts out from the West Corridor of the Gallery, heads towards the Arno and then, raised up by huge arches, follows the river as far as the Ponte Vecchio, which it crosses by passing on top of the shops. The meat market on the bridge was at this time transferred elsewhere, so as not to offend the Grand Duke’s sensitive nose with unpleasant smells on his walk, and replaced (from 1593) with the goldsmiths who continue to work there today.
This visit needs booking well ahead of time, as the visits are very much requested. To do so, send a mail to or book through



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Drawing of a bird with a circular decorationEnrollment for ON CENTRE 2015  has been very successful and we are grateful to start this very first  run with a very interesting group of participants with  most various backgrounds and origin.

The course will be demanding. We are confident that, with sustained concentration and hard work, a good level can be reached in the three months.  The latter stages of the course will give time for more personal development. In developing fluent skill participants will, of course, glaze and fire a considerable body of work so that fluency of making is matched by knowledge and fluency in finishing work. Greek plate with a black decoration showing a sailboad and fishesIt must be understood however that in the initial stages of the course many of the throwing exercises will be recycled, as fluency develops and technical improvement occurs.With dedication, relative beginners are just as likely to benefit fully from the course as those with more experience. Embark on a journey towards knowledge, confidence and fluency!

Applications for ON CENTRE 2016 will open again in March 2016, with deadline of September 2016.

What is a good glaze? Workshop with Lorna Meaden


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Soda glazed ceramic cupThis is a good question. It is a question to which there is no single answer. Ultimately the answer depends on who is asking the question, and why, and on the context in which the glaze is being used.To an industrialist, and indeed to any maker of utilitarian ware, a good glaze is one which fits the body well, is easy to clean and is durable in use. In this context the question is primarily a technical one.

Watering can in ceramics

To a maker of decorative pots or of sculpture the question is primarily an aesthetic, visual question – does the glaze have visual qualities which appropriately complete the totality of the object and its surface?

These topics s are often at the centre of Lorna Meaden’s work  and will be addressed in the workshop Utility and Embellishment that will take place at La Meridiana from May 10th – 23rd 2015.Bucket in ceramics with wire, soda fired.

Throwing a variety of functional pots like cups, bowls, pouring pots, lidded jars, teapots, spoons and scoops. Formal issues such as line, volume, and scale will be discussed, as well as ideas concerning aesthetics, historical reference, and function. For surface and decoration we will use slip inlay technique, use of shellac for relief, and decoration techniques with glaze. The work produced in this workshop will be fired to high temperature in a soda kiln.

Ceramic bowls with blue centre and line decorThis workshop for intermediate and advanced ceramicists. Contact us for further information:

ON CENTRE – For Beginners or Advanced?


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Whoever is interested in our new,twelve week long, residential workshop about throwing, clay bodies and glazes, might ask this question.

Sculptural ceramic spiral formIt must be understood  that in the initial stages of the course many of the throwing exercises will be recycled, as fluency develops and technical improvement occurs, We are expecting that participants will have sufficient experience of throwing to understand not simply what they can expect to get out of the course (this should be clear from the outline programme) but also what they will need to put into the course, in terms of time, concentration and work. With dedication, relative beginners are just as likely to benefit fully from the course as those with more experience.


Advanced Tecnical Ceramics


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Hi tech ceramic elementsAdvanced technical ceramics seem to belong to the world of science fiction, so thrilling is the output of new materials with unbelievable qualities. When I hear of plasma-sprayed ceramic coatings for bone implants, of high sensitivity ceramic sensors, of thermo-structural materials and special, ceramic laminated glasses, of elements with zirconium –yittrium, and alumina I over again get marveled and amused: Amused, because the qualities required for application in aero space, pharmaceutical, mechanical and electronic industry, require qualities, that very much the same as in the past, and remote past. If indeed, the biggest amount of Ceramic fragments in an archeological finding in Romearchaeological findings are ceramics, it is because of its peculiar qualities:

-Outstanding performance even at medium and high pressures; – Anti-wear feature; – Resistance to acids and abrasives; – Chemically inertia – Compatibility with foods, drugs and cosmetics thanks to no release of material – Low maintenance request and extremely long life – Impermeability – Low friction coefficient

Ceramic box made of clay with inclusion of other materials.

Ceramic box by Jeff Foster

These peculiarities are even enhanced in advanced ceramic technology making ceramics irreplaceable in many fields.

Finding ways to include new materials into the clay body can be very exciting also for the artist, here aimed at an esthetic reason: to achieve strong surface and structure. In spring 2015, we are lucky enough to host a Jeff Foster, a ceramicist who has extensively experimented with the inclusion of various materials in his building processes. If you do have an interest in this thematic, check out his workshop, April 5th – 11th 2015

Detail of ceramic surface with inclusion of materials into the clay body




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A group of potters at La MeridianaGroups as well as individuals have identity – we know this from our long experience of running courses. Being a single apprentice in a workshop is a very different experience to being part of a group of people with shared intentions and interests. Being part of a group can, and should, be on enriching experience. The group will live in a shared house and will have single rooms so, after and around work there will be opportunity to socialise as a group but also to enjoy privacy.


The new Workshop Programme 2015 is now on- line!


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There is no recipe for our yearly workshop programme, rather it is a puzzle that requires a lot of thinking and discussion!Three people in reunion
We want to offer a cornucopia of experiences for beginners, advanced, throwers, hand builders, raku, jewellery, sculpture and paperclay freaks, wood- and soda firers.
Our circle of friends and fellow ceramicists is an inexhaustible inspiration for new or old topics to offer.
Various needs have to be met so that the elaboration of the final programme with as many as 26 different workshops, complete with a meaningful description and images lasts all through the year.People toasting with spritz
When finally the programme is on – line, we are ready for a toast!
Check it out and let us know your thoughts. We are open to your suggestions!


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