35-2025- John Colbeck & Franco Rampi – Porcelain and the Art of the Wheel

August 24- September 6 2025

Throwing, finishing and glazing porcelain vessels

Throwing. For all levels

35-2025- John Colbeck & Franco Rampi – Porcelain and the Art of the Wheel

Introduction

Throwing porcelain is often thought of as being more difficult than throwing other clays. This is a misconception. It is more constructive, and accurate, simply to think of porcelain as having different qualities to other clays. In essence, porcelain is the purest of clays. When high fired it is extremely hard and durable and, when thin, is translucent. It is resistant to thermal shock. From heat shields on space capsules, to cutting tools, to spark plugs and insulators, to jewellery, to dentistry and in other fields porcelain and derivatives of porcelain have found application in a wide and increasing range of contexts in society since Marco Polo returned from the Orient, with awe inspiring porcelain vessels, to a Europe in which earthenware was the norm. Porcelain endures today as a beautiful material with which to throw useful and decorative vessels.

Techniques taught

The central focus of the course is throwing porcelain but a related focus is to cover a range of the ways porcelain may be finished. Wheel based demonstrations will cover the throwing and trimming of a range of different forms, from simple bowls to jugs and teapots. A related sequence of demonstrations will cover decorative and glazing processes relevant to porcelain, including the making of porcelain bodies.

Teaching method

Each morning and afternoon session will begin with a demonstration to the group. Participants may then work in relation to those demonstrations or pursue their particular interests – in both cases with the attention and support of the teacher. Most of the dry work will be bisqued and a selection of this will be glazed and fired in the gas reduction kilns at 1285C (2345F) (Cone 10). The practical work of the course will be complemented by two illustrated talks referring to the diversity of qualities in historical and contemporary work in porcelain, stoneware and earthenware, and by one illustrated technical talk on porcelain bodies.

Logistics

The workshop is open for all levels. 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 Instructors

John Colbeck has taught full and part time at Ceramics degree courses in the UK throughout his working life and was for many years Head of Ceramics at Bath Academy of Art and, in addition, has taught many short courses and given lectures and seminars in the UK and abroad. He is author of “Pottery, the Technique of Throwing” (1969), “Pottery, Techniques of Decoration” (1983) (both of these still available as Classic reprints from Axner Supplies USA) and “Pottery Materials” (1988). He produces unglazed, polished thrown forms in stoneware and porcelain. johncolbeck.com

 

 

Franco Rampi started working as a potter in 1978. After an apprenticeship in England and a cycle of studies in Italy he opened his own studio in Tuscany where he produces both functional objects in small series and one off pieces. He works mainly in stoneware, whilst continuing his research on clays, slips and forms. He has taught workshops on throwing and glazing for many years, collaborating with La Meridiana since 2010. www.francorampi.it

Artist

John Colbeck & Franco Rampi

Date

Sunday August 24 (arrival) – Saturday September 6 2025

Length of course

10 working days in the studio

Technique

Porcelain, Throwing

Level

For all levels

Workshop fee (without lodging)

€ 2780

Deposit

€ 900

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 3280
Standard accommodation in single room, at 15 minutes walking distance from La Meridiana – Final course cost: Euro 3780
Upgraded accommodation in shared double room with use of swimming pool, 8 minutes walking distance from La Meridiana : Final course cost Euro 3680
Upgraded accommodation in single room with use of swimming pool, 8 minutes walking distance from La Meridiana: Final course cost: Euro 4040
Private appartment on the grounds of La Meridiana with one bedroom, kitchen, bath and outdoor space. Final course cost: Euro 4180
Course without lodging Euro 2780

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.