42A-2024 – Donna Polseno – Concepts of Decorative Glazing

October 13 – 26 2024

Layering, resist and brushwork to enhance ceramic forms

Handbuilding and Glazing. Some experience is desirable


This course will concentrate on concepts of decorative glazing using layering and resists, and brushwork to create rich and painterly surfaces. The emphasis will be on how to use glazes and their intrinsic qualities of melt and movement to create patterns and designs that enhance their ceramic forms.

Teaching Method

We will observe, do drawings and come up with various ideas about pattern and design from the beauty of nature in our surroundings to appreciate the use of decorative surfaces. There will be much discussion and a lot of experimentation in order to learn how to conceptualize using layers of glazes and various resists for our decorative purposes. Donna’s methods are quite distinguished from using materials where the result is visually obvious during the process (such as colored slips, colored clays, and underglazes). She will demonstrate all of her various methods of overlapping patterns and glazes and her use of brushwork.


We will create our forms from coil and slab construction, therefore some basic hand building skills will be required. We will think of form in specific ways as to create those that are also a good canvas for our decorative painterly surfaces. Students will learn to get comfortable and skilled with various ways of using wax resist and liquid latex (mold rubber) in the glazing process. They will have the chance to try many different glaze combinations in order to discover a kind of quintessential ceramic quality of visual depth through layering glazes, brushwork, and overlapping patterns.


Students will study in the beautiful environment of La Meridiana. Students are hosted in nearby accommodation and a full meal will be served on all course days.

The artist

Donna Polseno was educated at the Kansas City Art Institute and got her masters at Rhode Island School of Design. She has been honored with two National Endowment Artists Fellowships and a grant from the Virginia Museum of Art.  Her pottery and sculpture have been widely shown in various museums and galleries both nationally and internationally.
Donna has been a visiting artist/teacher twice at Jingdezhen University in China. She has been published in numerous books and magazines and has taught many workshops at schools such as at Penland School, Haystack, Arrowmont, Anderson Ranch and at La Meridiana. She maintains a home and studio in Floyd, Virginia and in Liguria, Italy. Donna created and continues to work for the annual event “Women Working With Clay” Symposium at Hollins University, where she also taught for many years. Most recently she is the Walter Gropius Workshop/Exhibition Artist with a solo show at the Huntington Museum in West Virginia. www.donnapolseno.com



Donna Polseno


Sunday October 13 (arrival) – Saturday October 26 (departure) 2024

Length of course:

Two weeks


Some experience required


Handbuilding, Glaze course, Surface techniques


€ 900


€ 3200

Artist Statement

My pottery is an expression of many things that I most love, such as the natural world, walking endlessly outside, landscape and still life painting such as my father did, cooking and using handmade pottery for the table, and a lifetime attraction to the sensibility of Asian design (dating back to my education and living next door to the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City). I love the rhythm of making objects that people handle and use in everyday life as opposed to the sculpture that I make that is concerned with ideas and concepts in a totally different way.

My glaze technique has become more and more fascinating for me and I treat each piece like a painting, yet with the very important distinction for me, that is completely involved with the melt and specialness of ceramic glazes, rather than trying to imitate painting itself. I use matt glazes and overlap them many times by dipping and using various resists. I use images from nature such as birds (my father was also an amateur ornithologist) leaves, flowers, grasses and moths.

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.

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;
Lodging in shared double room in apartments of simple standard at maximum 15 minutes walking distance.
Single room and/or upgraded accommodation on request, at additional fee. All apartment types have shared kitchen and shared bathroom facilities. Please note that at times, not all room types may be available.
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.


La Meridiana is equipped to comply with the current safety standards regarding Covid-19, including social distancing between people in and outside the studio. The daily maintenance of hygiene measures is guaranteed.  Please note that participants will be required to follow the security protocol and to comply with some simple precautions.

Sorry, this course is full