One of the highlights of my trip through Italy was my stay at La Fratta Art House. Imagine 4 days in the Umbrian countryside, learning all about Raku ceramics, eating wonderful homemade Italian food, and visiting nearby small towns.

Arriving to La Fratta from Perugia was easy: just a quick train ride from Perugia Sant’Anna to Papiano, where Elisabetta and Luca Leandri were waiting for me at the station. From there we got in their car, and in a few minutes arrived to the B&B. A wonderful house, very spacious and filled with artwork made by Luca.

Since I spent almost four days with them, the first afternoon was devoted to the history of ceramics. Luca gave me a great overview of various movements, techniques, and highlights of this artform. I was starting from scratch, so found it very useful to learn what has been done in the past in various regions of the world. And the following three days were spent in the atelier, beginning with molding clay into vases and bowls, then using various materials and finishes to bring colour into the objects, and finally using the quilt to create final art pieces.

But while learning the craft from a master was very special, my overall stay was even more so thanks to how I was treated by Luca, Elisabetta, and even their young son Eugenio. It was as if I had been friends with them for a long time. They allowed me to share lunch and dinner time together, showed me around the Umbrian hill towns (visited tiny Monte Castello di Vibio and Todi), met their crazy friends, talked football, ate incredibly well (homemade Italian food for 4 days straight!), and even reconnected when I was back in Perugia to watch the Umbria Jazz festival together.

Left La Fratta with new artworks and friendships. I couldn’t have asked for more.