When a group of eight women, from six different countries, found themselves in the middle of an old medieval town in Tuscany, we wondered how it was that we all came to be there. Was it due to luck, coincidence, chance, Divine intervention? Or was it by choices that we’ve made in our separate lives that lead us to Certaldo collectively? However the opinions varied and the debate remained unresolved, I had a strong sense that this was the place that I was supposed to be. 

To follow my journey throwing, tasting and walking through Tuscany, I welcome you to read this blog. I intend on reflecting on my progress and what I’ve learnt during the On Centre course here at La Meridiana, as well as things I’ve enjoyed doing in my spare time. 

Maria and Lisa walking from Barberino to Bagnano 


Through a blur of jet lag, translation and sparing emails, we landed at La Meridiana, International School of Ceramics in Tuscany. However, leading up to this point my path was slightly different to that of my fellow seven potters. I had my heart set on attending On Centre, a twelve week residential course based on throwing, clay bodies, glazes and firing, from January to April 2017, and was devastated when told that all of the seven positions had been filled. I had thought that my dreams of learning pottery in the vine-swept hills of Tuscany were over, until one night in late October a glimmer of hope sat in my gmail inbox. For the first time ever, embracing a mission about education in the Ceramic Arts and about creating opportunities for young talented ceramicists, La Meridiana announced the Pietro Elia Maddalena Scholarship, to be granted to a ceramic student who demonstrates exceptional merit and promise, allowing the recipient the chance to attend the On Centre course in 2017. I still remember the rush of blood to my cheeks and the feeling of being overjoyed with hope that my dream was still alive, at the sight of that email. The sense that I had a real chance at being selected was strong. Young potters - more highly trained and experienced than I - could have applied from all over the world, but I had an inner confidence that motivated me to write a kick-butt application letter, and the hope that my voice and my aesthetic sensibilities would resonate with the people of La Meridiana. 

Again, my gmail inbox was the bearer on good news. Pietro himself, responded to my application saying “It looks good.”. Before I knew it I was on a Skype call with Claudia and Pietro, and they told me that I had been chosen to receive the scholarship! Pietro said that I’d better pack my suitcase because I’m coming to La Meridiana! I was so excited that I almost started crying. I couldn’t believe it and I could believe it. I ran upstairs and told my mum, who squealed and jumped around the living room with me. I have already started to take after Pietro, making a short story long, but that’s how I was selected as the Pietro Elia Maddalena Scholarship holder for the On Centre course at La Meridiana for 2017. Wowee.