This was my first year teaching at Creative Arts Community at the Menucha Retreat Center in the Columbia Gorge in Oregon. The most frequently asked question? What is Majolica and how do you say it? Mai-o-li-ca is so named because ships with hand painted pottery wares were launched out of the Spanish port of Majorca in the 10th century. I am taken by the romance and beauty of this story.
I wanted to convey the history of majolica pottery, so Monday morning began with slides. Then the students began to explore the various ways to produce color using glaze in our outdoor studio called the Barn.
Using pre-fired earthenware tiles, students experimented with color on both white and black majolica.
Some students explored a single color like reds and pinks.
Others tried a little of every kind of color.
At the end of the day, it was time to put all of the tiles into the computer controlled kiln so that we would have a language of color from which to create early the next day.
Tuesday morning we had a slide show about contemporary majolica so students could see how contemporary artists successfully used historical themes in modern context. About noon we unloaded the kiln and the colors were smashing.
Thursday and Friday
Thursday was devoted to work. I had finished all of the slides and demos and the students created many pieces that filled two kilns on Thursday after dinner. We hoped we would be able to unload for the big walk about presentation on Friday evening. That’s when the entire camp goes from studio to studio to see the work created during the past 5 days. People who have been coming to camp for many years take this seriously, and spend several hours setting up their class presentations.
We unloaded the kilns minutes before the guests arrived at the barn. The student’s work inspired me. the work was admired and enjoyed. We all started packing up tired happy and ready to go to our studios and try out some new ideas. I really enjoyed teaching this class and everyone in it. Thanks!