My name is Sonia Girotto, and I’m the ceramist behind L’Officina. I live in Italy – close to the Alps – in a little town called Giaveno. My studio is situated in a building near the center of the town, but during the summertime I love working at home in my garden. In addition to being a potter, I’m also a wife and mother. You can keep up on my blog.
I live in a place where nature surrounds me with its beauty. Everything is a source of inspiration: flowers, animals, wood, endless shapes and colors. I like to try and replicate those shapes and textures in my pieces.
A complicated path brought me here. I love math and science, so I studied computer science in school. Then I worked in graphics publishing, but my day job was too theoretical and my hands were always too clean. Finally, I had an idea: I’ve loved playing with earth since I was a child, and I decided to combine my love for clay with my scientific knowledge. Now I play with the rules of physics in the form of glaze recipes and kiln temperatures.
When I work on the wheel, I can concentrate fully; my thoughts go to my fingertips. It’s a state of perfect balance, and it makes me feel good. I used to try to make pottery without imperfections, but perfection is exhausting, difficult, and cold. Pottery making, on the other hand, is joy and intuition, lightness and fantasy. I relaxed and let the imperfections give beauty and personality to my ceramics. I leave perfection to the industry and put my imperfect soul into my ceramics.
One of my favorite things to make are roses. I learned to make them from an old ceramist named Mr. Iabichella, who I met one day at a market. I had brought the wheel to do some demonstrations and encourage people to buy, and he asked me if I knew to make flowers with clay. He gave me a small plaster mold to model various types of leaves and taught me how to make roses. When I told him I admired his generosity in teaching me, he said he was happy to share his knowledge with someone who would keep it alive. To this day, every time I make roses I use his mold and put a bit of him in them.
For me, making pottery is not just about making bowls – I feel that I must also make them known to the world. Etsy is helping me in this project. It can be hard to overcome problems when you’re running your business on your own. Luckily I found Etsy Teams, which is a community of people who really helped me. I learned about promoting my shop, exchanged experiences, and got suggestions on how to take photos and describe my items. Many drops make an ocean, as they say.
All photographs by L’Officina.