Rita Meets….Roro Pottery

The pattern on Roro’s pottery is hand applied using a technique called mocha. It creates these tree patterns that wrap around her bowls and cups like landscapes. The earthy colours, rough glaze and contrasting stripes are so striking – I loved them as soon as I saw them. I’m so pleased that we’re now stocking a small and very special collection of pieces in our store. I caught up with Roro herself to find out a bit more about her and her beautiful pottery…

Where do you make your pottery?
I make everything in my studio which is my garage here in the wild hills outside Siena, surrounded by similar views to the ones on my pieces.

How long have you been a potter and what did you do before?
I was a chef all my life and only started making pottery two years ago. I find the only difference  really between the two processes are the stress levels; pottery is much much calmer.

What are your favourite pieces to make?
Unfortunately, similarly to when I cook, my favourite pieces to make change constantly. Some days it’s the lamps, others it’s the big bowls and then I’ll have a phase of making as many things with lids as I can think of. My preference lasts about as long as my attention span (as a chef you have to multitask and so the more thought processes that I’m dealing with the happier I am, I can leap from one to the other)

Can you tell us a bit about your workspace?
My work space is organised chaos, almost the polar opposite of when I cook. With cooking, everything is clean and constantly being cleaned throughout the process.  In my studio I don’t even have a sink yet, so when the weather permits I do all my decorating outdoors. I have a wall outside my studio which has a spectacular view of uninterrupted rolling hills for miles and miles, all of which is nature reserve so no houses.

How did you learn your craft?
I don’t like school so I taught myself; YouTube, the internet and books helped a bit at the beginning. I looked up how to centre the clay and lift it on YouTube and then read a bit about the firing and glazing processes, although to be honest it’s mostly been a process of trial and error.

What’s the most exciting part of the process?
I find the most exciting part of the process is opening the kiln for either firing, Bisque or glaze. It’s a bit like Christmas – I wake up stupidly early on kiln opening day and then find that it’s still too hot to open, so I have to wait and try and fill time while repeatedly checking the kiln temperature until it’s cool enough to open.

What inspires your work? I get inspired by being here in Italy, both by going into the woods or to the rivers, or by going into virtually any old town, big or small. There are so many beautiful ancient things and places to see here. I find so many contemporarily made things (including 99.9% of modern pottery) so hideous that it feels like it’s bad for my eyes to look at it, I find that making something that I actually like to look at makes me happy.

To see the collection in our online store, click here.