Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Ceramics in Gran Canaria 2

Some of the best ceramic's moments happened at the end of my stay in Las Palmas. I had the luck of finally meeting some fellow potters, Gloria, and Paco, who happened to live not far from my place. They set up a gallery/shop/workshop at Leon y Castillo, one of the arteries of Las Palmas. They have a lovely and welcoming space. The front room is the shop, where they display their work and that of other artists/artisans, and the back room is the ceramic's workshop, upstairs there is storage and more workshop space. They confessed to me that their house was really another workshop. Sadly during my times there I only took photos of my work. We had a little exchange. I did some jugs on the wheel for them, after two years of no practice ... and showed them how to work with paper clay and how to make it. Paco makes lamps so hopefully, this technique will be of use to him. In exchange they were wonderful to me, we had great conversations about everything...life, Spain, art, ceramics, craft, business, relocating to new places... And very important they allowed me to use their space and they fire some work I made with Gran Canaria's clay. There were always people at their gallery, students, customers, artists, even one day I had the pleasure to meet Gloria's mum. Her mum is a very creative person, now in her nineties, she was still sewing, she has this lovely project of making bags with her children's old dresses, so they were functional bags and memory machines at the same time. I loved the concept and quality of the bags. During my weekend strolls through the island, trying to walk it all over, I always had in mind to search for clay. I just wanted I little amount, to do a small piece, a token to take from the island. But I wanted to dig the clay myself, not to buy it. Some potters sell bags of already prepared Canarian clay. There is not much clay in the islands, and it fires at a very low temperature it needs additions to be able to reach 800 degrees. I found my clay nearby Arteara, walking through the tunnels and galleries, abundant in the area, they enabled workers to cross through the ravines, saving lots of time, some were inundated. I was reckless because I did not follow the Canarian tradition for preparing the clay, and decided to mix my clay after separating the impurities with a 30% of a foreign stoneware body to increase its firing temperature. It worked well, truth is, I may have lost some of its particular qualities. Still, I think of it as a Canarian clay. I only had enough for a little figurine.

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