Black & White Photographs from La Meridiana International Ceramics School, Italy

I spent 6 weeks last summer (2013) working as a ceramics assistant at La Meridiana International Ceramic School near Certaldo in Tuscany. It is truly a wonderful place. The scenery, the people, the food! Ah, I could definitely see myself living there. The olive oil! One of my daily snacks was a slice or two of beautiful Italian bread with a large drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of salt. Indescribably good. But food is not the focus of this post!

Whilst I was there I took quite a few pictures with various film cameras. The pictures remained exposed but not dealt with until recently. I used the cupboard under the stairs at my parents house as a dark room to get the film onto spools. The cupboard is very small, full of; coats, umbrellas, shoes, files, bottles of various home brews, shoe cleaning materials, wrapping paper, the ironing board. You name it, its probably in there. It was hot, stuffy and generally not a very comfortable experience.
I developed them on the kitchen table with newspaper laid out to protect the table cloth from the chemicals. I wore a pair of marrigolds-bright yellow rubber gloves, to protect my hands. A few months ago I managed to burn my hands quite badly in the dark room by not being careful with the chemicals... sloshing them about without any gloves on. So now I am more careful.

Once developed, I hung them up on a make shift line over the kitchen sink (well, my dad actually hung the line).  They looked pretty decent holding them up to the light, but you can't really tell if they are any good until they are scanned.

This takes place the day after developing and is by far the dullest part of the process. Waiting for the scanner, saving them as different files etc etc. Computers! But now they are all scanned and some of them came out alright. Many did not, but that was to be expected. The best pictures were those taken on a KII camera that I bought it at a little street market in Florence. The KII is a Klein, which is an Italian camera based on the Leica. It is pictures below:

The reason I have such comprehensive pictures of it is that I managed to leave it at Pisa airport. It was round my neck before I went through the body scan, so took it off and placed it in a tray all on its own. Never to be seen again. Although I am thinking about trying to get FedEx to pick it up for me.

The barn where I had my kick wheel... in the left attached bit.

A view through the vines.
Two of my jugs. Shapely but you wouldn't want to pick them up or pour with them.

This is Rina, the other ceramics assistant, posing in an alleyway.

My kick wheel, complete with mounds of trimmings.

Lauren by the sign to the school.

Lauren grasping a bottle of water n a scorching walk in the Tuscan countryside.

My room.

Pietro Madelena (who set up the school in 1982) laying the foundation of a soda kiln.

Two of my fired pots with Clay and Glazes for the Potter by Daniel Rhodes
Roofing tiles
Grape vines.
Nook Squiggle I
Nook Squiggle II
The view from the balcony.
Different roofing tiles
Pietro's outside flower sculpture. These were brilliant colours and moved in the wind.
Two friendly monks I met.
Luccia the master chef.
Charlie the dog. Charlie is a really lovely dog who is quite unabashedly addicted to biscuits.
Close up grapes.

The smaller pot closest the camera was made by Mark Hewitt. It was my example jug shape (without spout or handle obviously), that I tried unsuccessfully to emulate.

The fields disappearing on the way to Certaldo train station.
Certakdo train station.
My bags. Far too full of pots and pasta.