Guest Post by Judy K. – Have you taken a class? Would you like to write a blog post to be featured? Contact us and let us know. We would love to hear from you.
I have admired Italian ceramics for years, and even have a few pieces that the instructor, Giuliana Marple, has made. When I found out she was going to teach a class in creating a plate in this wonderful style, I had to sign up for it.
The class began with a bit of introduction – how Giuliana began working with ceramics in her native Italy (her master teacher didn’t really teach, just said to “watch and learn”!) She went over a bit of history, mentioning that the term “maiolica” (Italian pottery) comes from the island of Majorca.
I admit to being a bit artistically challenged in the drawing arena, so I was pretty skeptical that in a 3-hour class, I’d be able to create a plate that I would actually show to someone. We each drew a design on our Italian-made ‘bisque’ plate; most were geometric (which is a lot easier for me!) but a couple of students did freehand designs. By using a banding wheel, it was pretty easy to turn the plate to paint our design with a variety of beautiful food-safe paints. Giuliana told us to not worry about being precise – this is hand-made art, after all! I knew my plate wasn’t going to be very precise, so that was good to hear….
The last step in the painting process is to outline portions of the design with black without overdoing it. Fortunately, Giuliana’s encouragement gave us confidence to attempt this, but she was ready to step in with a steady hand to add the finishing touch as needed.
We ended with the overglaze process. There was a large tub of glaze (yes, it’s green, but remember that many glazes will fire into a different color than what they look like coming out of the paint bottle!) Giuliana dipped our plates into this for the final glossy clear glaze, then set them to dry for firing. We should receive our plates next week, all fired and ready to be used!