Things are kicking into high(er) gear as our time here grows shorter. In just a few days we head to Venice to meet the group and everything must be ready for them. The ceiling is up in the studio but we still need to hang lights and finish the shelving. Both kilns are now operational but the electrician needs to move one of the power boxes farther from the exhaust port. Basically there are little details like that all over the place.
Yesterday we got up at 6:30am and made an excursion to Montelupo (by way of two trips to the hardware store). A few hours at at supplier called SMARTCOLOR left us with lots of prepared clay, dry white glaze, colors, bentonite, alumina, plastic barrels, and some other little stuff too. They specialize in low-fire and did not even have cones for the wood kiln. Our knowledge of ceramics and the Italian language were put to the test making sure we got what we wanted and that all the materials were compatible. Sabrina was patient with us even as we started to encroach into their lunch hour. Actually I was getting pretty hungry too.
We got a tip on a nearby shop called CM that sells used equipment from bankrupted facilities. Most of what they have is simply too large scale for our operation but the manager was very generous with his time and we all sat and talked about how the ceramics industry in Italy is dwindling. It was rather sad but I was glad to get a first hand account, though it was difficult to understand everything.
We somehow also managed to visit the ceramics museum in Montelupo which is almost exclusively dedicated to majolica. The displays were set up to be quite didactic and helped establish a general timeline of the progression of that type of work. I am certainly still quite a novice but I think I will have more information to share with the students when they arrive. My favorite work included abstract depictions of animals, mythical creatures, and harlequins. I found the style to be full of character and it gave more of a connection to the maker and their time than the exclusively patterned work.
We capped the trip with a visit to IKEA which stayed open much later than advertised. I don’t have much to say about that except that it was late when we got home and we woke up quite early to beat the rain this morning. We are in the home stretch now and more than ever we must make every moment count. Everything we do now precludes us from accomplishing something else. Lucky for us 17 more workers, I mean students, will be arriving shortly.