The Students are Coming!

The days are getting longer but the weeks seem to be getting shorter. In just 10 days I head to Venice to meet with the students and everything here must be ready. We have accomplished a lot on the ceramics side of things including a concrete pad for the wood kiln, getting a concrete ring in place for clay mixing, and making some progress on the ceramics studio itself. We have not taken much time for excursions as we are focusing on the work at hand, but we have made several trips to a brickyard that collects old materials and crushes them to make new bricks. They have a very large pile of assorted bricks they were kind enough to let us dig through a couple times. I love treasure hunting. Also, you could never do this in the states.

There has also been a flurry of acquiring other materials for the wood kiln. After a little research, several phone calls, and a bit of luck we came across a beautiful used brick saw. The price started high but after a few attempts to leave the store, a cup of espresso (they just say café here), and some confusing gesticulations and banter we got a great deal. Previously we would have had to bring bricks to a marble cutter a ways away and pay 50 Euro/hour so this should save time and money in the long run. It will also allow us to make some custom bricks to accommodate the firebox grate and other tricky spots in the kiln.

Somehow Brian and I ended up in central Sienna for a couple of hours and took in the sights with the other tourists. It was a beautiful day and we spent out time walking around as much as we could since we didn’t really have time to get in to the cathedrals or major indoor attractions. Maybe it is the large number of tourists but to me Siena seemed to have a little less character or personality than Florence or Arezzo. The cathedral and giant wall were still quite impressive!

We had gotten a tip on free scraps of colored glass and found the shop in Badessa right down the road from the place that sold us the brick saw. Catarina gave us a tour of La Diana Vetrate d’art and showed us there refuse bin. The mother-daughter shop was restoring old stained glass and creating novel designs as well. She also showed us various fusing experiments she had done. She was so warm and willing to share her time even though it was clear we were not there to buy. Take a look at what they are doing.

We also went to buy more cinderblocks for the base of the main chamber but took a detour to visit a guy that sells old brick, stones, and tiles. We ended up negotiating for a pallet of soft brick and some shelves as well. Tom acquired 8 new sets of tiles for his collection so it was a win all around. The also had some beautiful stone sinks but my camera was dead at that point.

There’s much more to say but I’ve got to get back to work!

Ciao a dopo!