24A-2025 – Brandi Lee Cooper – Casting the Natural World

June 8 – 14 2025

 Sculpture and installation with paperclay

Sculpture, Handbuilding. For all skill levels

24A-2025 – Brandi Lee Cooper – Casting the Natural World

Introduction

In Casting the Natural World, we will gather inspiration and materials from the Tuscan countryside and La Meridiana’s gardens to build our sculptures. This course is designed for those interested in exploring paper clay handbuilding techniques and slip casting in their sculptural work.

The techniques

We will start by taking a walk to soak up our surroundings and sketch, photograph, and collect materials. Bringing that inspiration from the natural world back to the studio, we will sculpt or use the found objects as a prototype that we will then learn to make into simple 2-part slip casting molds and make casts. We will learn how to prepare and use porcelain paper clay in various hand-building construction methods including, creating slip coatings over organic material and burning it out, slip trailing into plaster molds, and drying the paper clay out and handbuilding with it. This will give beginning and experienced students something to explore and a greater understanding of the potential of paperclay and slip casting.

Teaching method

Each session will start with a demonstration and thorough explanation of the new techniques being introduced. Then, there will be an individual follow-up, adapting the technique to the specific interests and knowledge of each participant.

Logistics

Students will study in the beautiful environment of La Meridiana.The Nature Studio is located in the gardens of La Meridiana a flight of stairs from the main studios. Open on three sides, the studio is illuminated by morning sun and the golden light of sunset.

On every classday, a delicious meal will be served. At booking, you may select your preferred room type, choosing between standard lodging, single room and/or upgraded accommodation. Please note that depending on the availability, certain types at times may not be offered.

The last kiln opening will be in the morning of Saturday, plan your travels so to not leave La Meridiana before 9.30 am.

The artist

Brandi Lee Cooper is an interdisciplinary artist that works at the intersection of Art and Ecology. Her work is greatly informed by her background in Zoology and her commitment to bridging disciplines in order to serve as a witness to humanity’s impact on the earth and advocate for urgent change. She holds a BS in Zoology from Northern Arizona University and an MFA in Ceramics from Arizona State University. BLC is an Assistant Professor of Ceramics at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on the Texas-Mexico border. She exhibits her work nationally and has been a resident artist in Rome, Italy at CRETA, the Tempe Center for the Arts, and the University of Kansas.

www.BrandiLeeCooper.com

 

Artista

Brandi Lee Cooper

Data

Sunday June 8 (arrival) – Saturday June 14 (departure) 2025

Length of course

5 working days in the studio

Level

For all levels

Technique

Raku

Deposit

€ 500

Workshop fee (without lodging)

€ 1900

Bookings for the 2025 Courses open on June 1st 2024

Workshop fee and lodging

The costs listed include both: the workshop fee and the lodging. 

Standard accommodation in shared double room, at 15 minutes walking distance from La Meridiana – Final course cost: Euro 2150
Standard accommodation in single room, at 15 minutes walking distance from La Meridiana – Final course cost: Euro 2400
Upgraded accommodation in shared double room with use of swimming pool, 8 minutes walking distance from La Meridiana : Final course cost Euro 2350
Upgraded accommodation in single room with use of swimming pool, 8 minutes walking distance from La Meridiana: Final course cost: Euro 2530
Private appartment on the grounds of La Meridiana with one bedroom, kitchen, bath and outdoor space. Final course cost: Euro 2600
Course without lodging Euro 1900

Payment and Refund Policy

A deposit is required at registration. After submitting the registration form, you may proceed with the payment on-line. If you choose to pay by bank transfer, the registration will be confirmed once the deposit has been accredited in our banking account. The balance must be paid at the beginning of the course.

 Cancellations
You may withdraw within 14 days of registration without incurring in any penalties and will have the deposit fully refunded.  No refund of deposits past 14 days of registration, pursuant to articles 53 and following of the Italian consumer legislation, in accordance with the EU consumer protection legislation. In the event of disputes, the competent court is Florence. If the workshop cannot be hold because of an insufficient number of students, the deposit will be fully reimbursed.
Force Majeure
Students must know that cancellations may occur due to events beyond our control (e.g. pandemic, civil disorder, medical or family issues of the instructor). In such case, La Meridiana reserves the right to offer a voucher for a different workshop of your choice. The voucher is valid for two years. The deposit will be transferred to the workshop of choice.

Additional information

The workshop fee includes the following:
Tuition of 6 – 8 hours per day;
Studio open 11 hours per day;
All materials and firings;
Freshly prepared three course lunch with wine on all working days;
Welcome breakfast, Welcome and Final dinner;
Coffee break in the mornings and in the evenings.

Artist statement

All living beings are inextricably linked to one another. Humans are entwined in this tapestry of life, yet we constantly set ourselves apart and make decisions that have devastating effects on the earth. My work is greatly informed by my background in Zoology where I studied people’s influence on creatures and the land, and I am continually amazed at the resilience of nature. In this volatile time on earth, we have a responsibility to each other to build connections that will promote new ways of thriving and perishing thoughtfully. In my work, I am committed to being a bridge between the disciplines. This allows me to be a witness to and continue my investigations of human’s impact as well as celebrate nature’s capacity in my sculpture.

 

I make sculpture and site-specific installations out of castoff materials. In a pseudo-anthropological manner, I seek out refuse that has been left in the environment, salvage plant material and objects that are destined for the landfill and upcycle studio waste. Discarded objects speak volumes about a culture and discovering the aesthetic potential of waste drives my process. Layer upon layer and branch-by-branch I build complex webs of interactivity or connection points, akin to a natural system. I then fire my work and like impacted ecosystems, my pieces go through dynamic and unpredictable changes in structure. They are transformed into a permanent record of our transgressions, reminding us of our connection and responsibility to every other living being.