31A-2025-Carson Culp – Earth’s Alchemy

July 27 – August 2 2025

Explore the Timeless Beauty of Smoke firing

Throwing, handbuilding. For all levels

31A-2025-Carson Culp – Earth’s Alchemy

Introduction

In Earth‘s Alchemy we will delve into the earliest known method of firing ceramics; Smoke Firing. Indeed, examples of this method date back to as early as 9,000 BCE.
Despite the many advances in ceramic technology, the fascination of smoke firing is unbroken, and to this day, there is an ongoing interest in this mesmerizing technique. Tapping into the use of fire as a tool, this practice stirs something in our primitive being. Embracing nature’s elements and harnessing the beauty of form, students of Earth‘s Alchemy will discover the timeless appearance of smoke fired ceramics.

Techniques taught

In Earth’s Alchemy we will make beautiful forms through both hand and wheel throwing methods, keeping in mind the idea of creating soft and quiet forms that are blank canvases for the fire to decorate. We will study how to achieve dramatic effects through modern day approaches to smoke firing. Students will leave this workshop with a thorough understanding of this ancient process and the knowledge to be able to repeat it in their own backyard.

Key Highlights

1 Nature As Your Canvas: Learn how to work with Earth’s elements- fire, air, earth, and water. Participants will be guided through an understanding of decorating and painting ceramics with fire and combustible materials.
2 Connection to the Ancient World: Explore the art of working with minimal resources as our ancestors once did. Engaging in a process that reflects a primal connection between humanity and the natural world.
3 Clay and Pit Preparation: Learn the decorative process of preparing a pit for smoke firing with the use of natural elements. Gain an understanding of how to apply terra sigillata, burnishing, and waxing to achieve glossy finishes out of a dry atmosphere.
4 Community and Connection: Explore the beauty of community and human connection that La Meridiana cultivates. Playing with clay and fire, conversations with international students and teachers that inevitably lead to collaboration and personal relationships, and three course daily lunches that bring together an eclectic group of artists and enthusiasts.

Logistics

Whether you are a seasoned ceramic artist or a beginner eager to explore a primitive and elemental approach. Earth’s Alchemy will be an unforgettable experience and allow you to incorporate these ancient techniques into your own contemporary practices. A small group of eight students will work closely together.

Students will study in the suportive environment of La Meridiana. A delicious mid day meal is included on all working days. 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.

Last kiln  opening will be on Saturday morning, please plan your travels so to not need to leave La Meridiana before 9.30 am.

The Artist

Carson Culp is currently based in Portland OR. He has been an apprentice at the Leach Pottery, a resident in Japan, Mexico, Italy and the US. He likes to use traditional techniques to make work that is relevant. As a potter, he is dedicated to his craft and open to the exploration of forms, new and old. In addition to opening his own studio in Portland, he has taught in clay studios during his residencies. Since 2023 he collaborates with La Meridiana. https://culppottery.com @culppottery

Artist

Carson Culp

Dates

Sunday July 27 (arrival) – Saturday August 2 (departure) 2025

Technique

Pit firing, Handbuilding, Throwing

Level

For all levels

Workshop fee (without lodging)

€ 1900

Deposit for booking

€ 500

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 EU consumer protection legislation.
If La Meridiana cannot hold the course due to unforeseen events beyond our control, La Meridiana reserves the right to offer a voucher for a different course of your choice. The voucher is valid for two years. The deposit will be transferred to the new course. If the course cannot be hold or the student cannot participate due to treasons related to the pandemic, the student may also electo to have his deposit refunded, minus an administration fee of 60 euros.

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.