“Before becoming a ceramic artist, I worked as a designer for a ceramic exporting company. I used to draw my design ideas and a skilled craftsman would execute them for showcasing in international expos. I looked with envy at the craftsman and longed for a chance to learn the skill so I could create ceramic art and express my ideas and experiences. In 1999 I decided to take a step towards my dream. I asked a local potter to teach me how to throw on the wheel and in 2000 I was invited to participate in the International Workshop on Ceramic Arts in Tokoname, Japan. Since then, I have been devoted to the medium and for the past 15 years, I have been learning more about ceramic arts and improving my skills, knowledge and practice as a ceramic artist and educator.
“As a design student I was particularly drawn to books and magazines on ceramics and would spend hours scoring the pages for knowledge and inspiration. Somehow the passion for working with clay and firing it to the permanency of a ceramic form grew inside of me. I longed to find solidarity with the ceramic artists that I read about, to start my own journey and find my own path in becoming a ceramicist. Unfortunately, my college at that time had no ceramic studio or ceramic program offerings and, although this was frustrating, my passion was too strong to be discouraged! I never imagined that, years later, I would become a faculty member of that same college and propel the founding of our Ceramic Studio, directing its programs myself. Now I am sharing the passion with my students and the community as well, envisioning the development and promotion of Philippine Ceramic Arts and Design to make our mark in the global field of Ceramic Arts.
“LUAL, the sculptural birthing kiln I built and fired in-situ in a performance firing is my magum opus, my greatest work, so far. I had to look for new ways to teach myself and LUAL has provided me with opportunities to learn about the different facets of the ceramic process. I have learned to formulate and process my own Pinoy (Philippine) stoneware clay, develop skills in forming monolithic sculptures, incorporate a kiln structure within a sculptural volume, design a kiln that fires monolithic sculptures in-situ and experiment on ceramic surface decoration. The experience has taught me so much of what I know about ceramic arts and this has provided me the foundation and spring board towards new learning.
“I have the opportunity to build LUAL again and to fire it in a performance firing during the Saturday of the festival. The objective is to transcend the firing process into the art form itself. LUAL is a work that is no longer an object but a process. It will create the conditions for an experience, revealing the metaphorical assertion that the force, power, primacy and anticipatory wonderment of kiln firing is birthing. LUAL is a ‘Magnificat’ to the woman’s role in bringing forth life, which is nothing short of being a miracle, offering life to yield life.
“I will also be hosting an exclusive Sibol (clay) baby making workshop the week before the festival, on June 23rd. We will make babies to be fired in the LUAL kiln during a dramatic performance firing event at the festival. The LUAL, which is a raku kiln in the form of a birthing woman, Earth Mother and Birth Goddess, will give birth to the clay figures fired within and represents a metaphor of birthing.”
Philippines born Rita Gudiño studied design at the University of the Philippines, College of Fine Arts at a time when the institute did not offer ceramic courses. After falling in love with the trade and paving her own unique way in the industry she has now returned to the university as a Professor and founded its Ceramic Studio where she teaches aspiring ceramicists the discipline.
Rita is hosting a workshop at the International Ceramics Festival in Aberystwyth, which runs from July 3rd – 5th.
For more information on the International Ceramics Festival 2015 and all of the demonstrators over the weekend visit www.internationalceramicsfestival.org. Passes for the Festival can be booked online via the ICF website or by calling Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s ticket office on 01970 62 32 32.
Full price weekend tickets are £135 (concessions available) and single day tickets start at £75.