The Road to Sticciano – My Tuscan Story
About 20 odd years ago when I became fed up with the corporate jungle in Sydney, I took off for southern Spain to stay for a year…which turned into 15. On a whim one day I heard about a woman who did pottery classes out in the campo (bush to us Aussies) and so I thought I’d give it a shot. Little did I know that this would become a lifelong addiction!
Since then I’ve worked out of many studios and had many tutors but it’s only been in the last 18 months that I’ve finally been able to build a dedicated workshop complete with wheel, kiln and everything else that goes with it. The learning curve went from a gentle one to an exceedingly steep one. All good, keeps the grey cells going – along with sleepless nights thinking of glazes and blending them and ‘what if’ on this or that clay body, etc. You get the idea.
So I thought, I need to fast forward this a tad at my st(age) in life. Enter Italy. I won’t go into detail about how I ended up at Sticciano, a stunning Agri Turismo deep in the stunning Tuscan countryside because that’s another story on its own. But end up there I did and for a wonderful 5 weeks during March/April 2017.
The ‘Sticciano Tuscan Collection’ of Japanese Tea Bowls you see now were created there and most lovingly carried by hand through Italy, Spain, Germany, Denmark and back here to Noosa. Probably some of the most well-travelled Tea Bowls around!
These are totally unique, as indeed are most ceramic pieces anywhere, and I cannot replicate them due to may various reasons. I can – and have begun – however, to recreate using some of the same principles since I returned home a month ago.
The ‘Sticciano Tuscan Collection’ were created from stoneware and fired in gas reduction and salt kilns. They were painted first with coloured slip on the greenware (pre any firing) and then with glaze after the first bisque firing. A second glaze firing resulted in what you see here.
You can use them for coffee, tea, nut bowls – whatever you like! People collect these and in Europe and ceramic artists swap with each other. My tutor, Terry Davis (a very accomplished UK potter living in Tuscany) has a cupboard full and when you go there for coffee, you get to choose which Teal Bowl you want.
Love and blessings
Glen (0459 343 828)
My passion for travel I blame on (or should I say am inspired by) my father! And I’ve told him that too. When he sees pictures of me in various corners of the world he just smiles and says to his girlfriend (of an impressive 83, ten years younger than his even more impressive 93) “I wonder where she got that from?”
For as long as I can remember I’ve had the ‘travel bug’. And before that when I wasn’t old enough to decide, Dad did. He was a ‘nomad’, as was his father when folks back then didn’t even travel, at least not very far, far being places like Turkey from Denmark when they barely had cars.
So it was inevitable that I would get that insatiable thirst and restless feet syndrome. I know that many of my buddies are similar. Travel broadens our horizons and puts us in touch with different types of people, cultures, architecture, landscape, animals and a myriad of other things. It challenges us, pushes us beyond our self imposed limits.
It makes us live a REAL life instead of a virtual one. For me, I’ve come to realise (only over the last years) that I need travel – it feeds and nourishes my soul, it fulfills my sense of adventure, exploring and getting new experiences.
My other passion is Mentor Coaching – supporting, encouraging, inspiring and boosting you during one2one mentoring sessions or group workshops. How lucky am I – because I can do this on the hop too!
Love and blessings Glen
PS: Keep an open mind – “things are never what they seem” (they’re usually heaps better).