Work a Pottery Wheel With a Master in Tuscany

Down a narrow, cobbled street in Tuscany a longtime dream came true. Just like Demi Moore in the movie Ghost, I worked my magic on a pottery wheel. Okay, maybe it was nothing like her steamy iconic scene, there was not an imaginary spirit sitting behind me tenderly guiding my hands. But, there was Gulio, an Italian master potter. He will do just fine.

Gulio Lucarini is one of the skilled ceramists behind Terrabruga Ceramics and I was invited to their tiny laboratory which is located in the quaint town of Cortona in Northern Italy.
Pottery Wheel in Tuscany, Italy

Initially, my visit was meant to simply be a lesson on how to work with a flat piece of clay and utensils well enough to create a decorative tile. Which I did. And it was fun.

But, the potters wheel sat discreetly in the corner the entire time, taunting me.

I am in Tuscany, at a professional pottery studio with a ceramic expert. Could I possibly leave without getting a potter’s wheel education from a master? The answer is absolutely, positively unequivocally no. So, when Gulio inquired if anyone wanted to give vase-making a shot, I was in the pottery wheel chair in a half of a millisecond. Gratefully, he asked first instead of me embarrassingly having to beg, which I would have.
Ceramic Tile at the Pottery shop

Overly anxious, I pushed on the pedal with my foot and the apparatus started to rapidly spin. Gulio waved his hands, an indication for me to stop immediately. He hurried over and set the pedal to a safer speed, more appropriate for an inexperienced beginner.

The rest of the lesson was entirely in Italian. May I remind you that I do not speak Italian. But, through hand gestures and scattered comprehension of the foreign language, Gulio guided me to create a masterpiece.

Or rather, a perfectly imperfect vase.
Annette White making pottery in TuscanyAnnette White using the Pottery Wheel In Tuscany

Sometimes bucket list experiences require you to get your hands dirty and this one was completely worth it.
Annette White Dirty Hands in Tuscany

After the lesson we went to visit his nearby showroom, Terrabruga Ceramics, to see how a finished piece is really suppose to look.

My slightly lopsided vase could not quite compare to the craftsmanship seen here.

Gulio specializes in green and yellow painted ceramics from the mid-evil times, though the creative twist of adding sunflowers to the pieces was introduced in the 1900s. Each one was unique and beautiful. But, as perfect as they all were, I much preferred the rudimentary one that was made with my own two hands.
Pottery Shop in Cortona  Pottery Shop in Tuscany

Disclosure: I was a guest of Play Your Tuscany, but all the words I write come straight from my, sometimes distorted, mind. Just as it should be.

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2017-04-04T10:38:16+00:00 December 15th, 2013|Categories: Europe, Italy, TRAVEL|Tags: , , , |

7 Comments

  1. The Yum List December 16, 2013 at 6:54 am - Reply

    Ooh, I love the feel of clay. It’s great to get your hands dirty sometimes.

    • Annette White December 16, 2013 at 7:41 am - Reply

      Yep, sometimes dirty under the fingernails is a really good thing 🙂

  2. Maxime Legez December 16, 2013 at 8:09 am - Reply

    Dear Annette,

    My name is Maxime Legez. I am a dutch Journalism student and i live nearby Amsterdam. For my new project, i am writing a blog about bucket lists. I am following different kind of people with their bucket lists and helping them to fulfill their goals. I saw your bucket list, and i am truly amazed by all the thing you have done in your life and how you report them. I also want to write one blog about bucket lists in America, because the bucket lists hype started in this country. I really hope you will be able to help me, because i am convinced i will write an amazing story about your bucket list and inspire people from The Netherlands to do the amazing things you do. I really hope to hear from you soon! you can send me an email, or add me on facebook.
    Thanks in advance,

    Maxime Legez

    • Annette White December 16, 2013 at 8:46 am - Reply

      Thanks for your kind words and I love what you are doing! I will email you, so we can chat more 🙂

  3. […] rolling hills of Tuscany and showed me that true artisan craftsmanship still exists. You taught me how to use a potters wheel and made me climb the 468 stairs of the Florence Duomo…again. I am not sure how happy I […]

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  5. […] relationship. I love to be creative, to physically get my hands dirty painting a pretty portrait or working a pottery wheel to create a perfectly lopsided vase. But, put me in a museum for too long and I may literally fall […]

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