Maria Diletta Rondoni is an Italian artist based in Umbria. She originally studied painting and has since worked with a wide variety of materials including glass, stained glass, jewelry, metal and ceramics. I certainly see references to jewelry-making in Diletta’s intricate, delicate ceramic forms. I also detect strong connections to nature and organic forms in her work. I asked Diletta to tell me a little more about her creative inspiration and process.
JTW: Will you describe your creative process? Do you carefully plan out each piece, perhaps with a sketch, and then replicate the plan? Or do you work more spontaneously?
MDR: I usually start by making sketches, starting with one or more shapes in nature that strike my attention and trying to define and synthesize the lines to create an initial design of the basic shape of the vase. I then go on to analyze the details, the color palette and the gradations I would like to obtain by also doing some tests, using the color of the clay as the basic shade from which to create the colors that will go to make up the work, always considering their relationships as a determining part of the whole. I like to start with a more or less defined idea but I also welcome the variations that may occur in the process of realization that leave unexpected creative possibilities open.
JTW: You say that you prefer the “Colombino construction.” What is that?
MDR: It is a very basic way of working with clay, overlapping several coils of clay and giving them the right angle to achieve the desired shape. I like this slow process, in a way even primordial, but it allows me to flow in the working process.
JTW: You originally studied painting at the Academia, but have also explored other materials such as glass, metal and ceramics. What about ceramics most interests you? Do you still create in other media?
MDR: I still like to paint. Colors are very important to me. I love the contact with clay, its malleability and its power of transformation. It has something to do with oil painting because of its pliability and waiting time, but I prefer it because I can work in three dimensions and extend the work into space. Natural light also plays a fundamental role and interacts with the work. Ceramics is also an endless field of research in many aspects and therefore a continuous source of inspiration as it is itself closely linked to the metamorphosis processes of nature such as the geological ones.
JTW: Your pieces look very labor intensive. How long does it typically take you to make one of your ceramic vessels?
MDR: It depends on the work and the size, but it usually takes me one to two weeks to shape a small piece. Then there is the glazing and the firing time. However, it is difficult to define standard times because each work is born and grows differently. What is certain is that the processing times are slow and long.
JTW: Your work reminds me very much of sea life. Where do you search for inspiration for your pieces?
MDR: I think one of my first sources of inspiration are the dried flower arrangements my mother used to decorate the house with. She has always loved to create large compositions of flowers and plants. She raised me and my siblings by sensitizing us to the beauty of natural forms. This is how I learnt to observe nature as a deep source of life where everything is connected. I like that people can recognise a flower, a sea urchin, an animal or a human body part in one of my works.
JTW: Can you tell me something about your residency in Denmark? It sounds like you’ve worked quite a bit in Denmark.
MDR: Last year I was in residence for the first time at Guldagergaard International Ceramic Center in Skaelskor. This has been an incredible experience for me, full of emotion and inspiration. I focused on myself and in my work as never before experimenting different clays and firing techniques.The heart of the residency has been sharing with the other artists life and the art, looking at myself and my work through their eyes, exchanging ideas and research.
This year the art director of the Centre invited me to work there to prepare a body of works for the summer exhibitions that took place this July and August. I worked on my installation “Herbarium Amoris” in Guldagergaard Park among other amazing artists like Janina Myronova, Marianne Houtari, Elina Titane and Bozena Sachaczuk
This has been a very beautiful and important experience to me.
JTW: What would you like people to know about you and your work?
MDR: That in each of my works there is a bit of my life.
More of Diletta’s work may be seen on her website.