16-2025- John Mackenzie – Affinity to Nature

April 13 – 26 2025

Vessels that communicate elemental processes

Throwing & Woodfiring. Some experience required

16-2025- John Mackenzie – Affinity to Nature


In Affinity to Nature the students will strive to use the wheel and the wood firing kiln as creative tools. They will start making vessels, exploring how we can manipulate, push and make marks. Alongside this, there will be presentations and discussions, which will aim to deepen the knowledge and understanding of the processes. The course will culminate in a prolonged wood-firing.

Techniques taught

In Affinity to Nature Mackenzie will cover various techniques: mark making, throwing coils and handling larger pieces of clay. The work will be fired in La Meridianas train kiln “Orient Express”. Mackenzie will first explain thoroughly how to stack and fire the kiln to achieve the best results, then carrying out the whole process together with the group. A process that will be the final step to achieve a range of extraordinary colours, marks, and surfaces.

Teaching method

Throughout Affinity to Nature, students will be supported by hands-on direction and demonstrations. Key knowledge and understanding will be provided by brief presentations and handouts. In the final wood-firing, new skills and knowledge will be applied in practice. 


Students will study in the supportive environment of La Meridiana. Lunchtime meals, and twice daily coffee breaks are included. 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 artist

John Mackenzie completed a degree in ceramics at Harrow University in 2001 where he became intrigued by wood-fired ceramics and kiln building. He has since built a number of wood-firing kilns and has thoroughly explored the unique colours, surfaces and effects which can only be achieved with this process.
instagram: @jmackenzieceramics


John Mackenzie


Sunday April 13 (arrival) – Saturday April 26 (departure) 2025

Length of course

10 working days in the studio


Handbuilding, Surface techniques, Throwing, Wood and/or soda firing


Some experience required

Workshop fee (without lodging)

€ 2780

Deposit for booking

€ 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.

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

In 2020 I built a 140 cubic foot anagama (cave) kiln which is fired with offcuts of wood from a local sawmill.  The kiln is fired for around 50 hours and needs constant attention to build the temperature to above 1300 degrees centigrade. At this temperature, the ash from the wood melts to form a glaze. I explore and accentuate these protracted and extreme firings by developing my own clays, glazes and slips that respond to the flame, ember, and ash. I am fascinated by how the burning wood can imprint its energy onto the clay and how varying the atmosphere of the kiln can maximise the kilns potential. I aim to create vessels which intimately communicate the elemental processes that they have been through.