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MERP1040878 P1040867 P1040848 20b DSC_0177Some people  create a living space that is expression of their philosophy of live, of their need for beauty and their concept of community.  It may include a house a living quarter, a studio, a garden, and all those elements that are intangible like beauty, inspiration, friendship. Such an approach can be defined well with the German word: Gesamtkunstwerk . Certain words in foreign language cannot be translated, as they do have a connotation of metaphysical meaning that is not common with the equivalent native language word. As close as I can come, I would translate with The total work of art.

Easier is to have an example that illustrates the concept, and I will propose La Meridiana for that. Who has been here before knows that  every time you come back, there is a surprise, a functional or fun or beautiful addition. When Pietro founded the school 33 years ago it was just an old farmhouse with nude walls and over the years so much has been added.

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First years: Pietro Maddalena and John Colbeck in the studio

A view of the gallery at La Meridiana with works Of Pietro Elia Maddalena

Entrance to the Gallery

The way of looking at the house is a comprehensive one, no Gesamtkunstwerk without that!  Right from the start, the planning included creation of common areas: The amphitheater as an outdoor lecture room, the terrace as a night movie theatre, the pizza oven for homemade pizza. The core is the studio, a former wine stocking area. There is now the kiln area, a new kitchen, terraces, a small pool, a pond, the wood firing kiln down the hill, a vegetable garden and an orchard, and Pietro’s private studio, finally with windows. It has taken 30 years to substitute the plastic covered  holes-in-the-wall of Pietro’s private studio with real Windows. 18e

The driving force behind this achievements has always been the goal  to offer to our patrons a facility dedicated to a continual education in the ceramic art and rich in beauty.

Our students say it better than I can:

Pietro has created an amazing environment like nothing I have ever seen.  The studio was so incredibly organized, clean and tidy.  The facilities were amazing.   It was so nice to go to the studio each day and know where we were going to work and not have to fight for space and equipment.  It felt light we had our own studios.  As far as the landscape, architecture and environment goes, when I first walked through La Meridiana and entered the back patio area I spent the first hour or so crying as I was so overwhelmed with its beauty.   It is so obvious that Pietro loves, respects and honours his surroundings.  He is a special fellow and has made an incredible impact on the community near and at large.  


Colleen O’Reilly

Hamilton, Ontario


April  13


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