Archive for May, 2012

Jane LaFazio led her second workshop in watercolor sketching. She is so amazing at how she can teach her students to produce the most beautiful pieces. This is a case where pictures do speak more than words. Look at what her students did last week!



And even more!!

Jane asked each of her students to show one of their pieces at a show and share at week’s end. Each had done a half dozen or so, so it was hard to choose just one. But each is an amazingly beautiful piece of art.









It was a great group and a wonderful week. Thanks to Jane for her exceptional teaching and to her wonderful students for their inspiration!


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Sue’s workshop is over. What a talented group we had. Each person made various degrees of progress on their pieces. Each project was completely individual, and each reflected some of what they experienced and/or were struck by during the week. Gorgeous work by gorgeous ladies.






Karen T.

Karen F.






Also part of the group, but not taking the workshop was Sara, seen at the lower right of the group shot below.

Sue Spargo’s Travel Journal Workshop with Adventures in Italy 2012

Thanks to all for traveling with us, for the fun, and the wonderful memories.

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Last year Sue visited a new ceramic museum. She loved it with all the images on the medieval and Renaissance pottery. So we had been trying to get her group in this year. But it was always closed.

Wednesday evening we asked our friend Cristina, who was showing us through Etruscan caves, about the museum. She knew the owner Marco and gave him a call. He agreed to come open it for us.

He loves the collection he has assembled and is enthusiastic about sharing it with others. It is deep in the bowels of Orvieto in an incredible series of caves. After he showed us through he offered us a bottle of wine from his cellar. Such unexpected generosity and openness. This is the serendipity that so often greets us here in Orvieto.

These are terrible pictures taken with my ipod in dim light, but they give you a sense.

The owner Marco telling us about the ceramics

Cristina stayed to help translate

Getting ready to share his wine with us

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Cooking is always so much fun. We went to Zeppelin restaurant to cook with Chef Lorenzo. After we are done cooking, Vitopaolo, who runs the front of the house, sets up a beautiful table where we enjoy the fruits of our labors.

What we cooked

We actually ended up cooking 3 kinds of pizza instead of just one. Every one was yummy! This one below has eggplant, tomatoes, ragu sauce and mozzarella.


Umbricelli is Orvieto’s local pasta. It is hand rolled so it took lots of work and many hands to make enough for all of us.

One umbrichelli station


Here Lorenzo is directing the beginning of the pasta making. After the pasta is made it rests for a while before the creating of the unbrichelli.

Lots of work to get the pasta made

Meanwhile there is a lot of chopping that goes on for veggies to go on the pasta, for the zucchini flan, and for the carrot/celery/onion base for the ragu.

Chopping and dicing

Then there was the cinghiale (wild boar) that had to be cut up before several hours of cooking.


Then we had to have dessert – strawberry mousse. Cream was whipped by hand into whipped cream, and egg whites whipped by hand to form peaks.

Lots of work

Then Lorenzo directed the folding of the whipped cream, egg whites, strawberries and gelatin together.

Putting it all together for dessert

And when it was all done we sat down to eat. I was so busy eating, I forgot to get pictures! Great fun!!


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Sue Spargo’s class has begun in Orvieto. Today is day two of the workshop. Sue arrived a few days early along with other folks. And they wasted no time in getting out their stitching.

Stitching at Scarponnis

We love going to Scarponni’s for coffee and a beautiful day led to stitching time over a cappuccino.

Lunch at San Lodovico

Yesterday was cool, so the minestrone soup prepared for us by Giovanna was the perfect call for the day’s lunch.

Wine tasting

As always, Graziella did a superb wine tasting for us. She is so skilled at pairing foods with the wine. The mashed fava beans on the bread came from her mother’s garden and the fennel came from Graziella’s garden. Two fabulous wines complemented the food.

Early morning stitching

Early risers were found in the classroom this morning eagerly working on their projects.


This is the 405th anniversary of the order at San Lodovico. So they had a ceremony in the chapel. Here some of our crew look on. We also had a returning student from last year look in.


After the ceremony there was a lunch party in the courtyard. We were invited and enjoyed all kinds of home made goodies, from antipasti to pasta to pork to Giovanna’s homemade tiramisu. How lucky are we! Cooking class this evening!!

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Masculine and Feminine

Read another thoughtful piece from Mark Nepo today. And it highlights in yet another way what it is Italy does for us. In his piece Nepo talks about our male side – rational, stoic, never showing our feelings, and the female side – our deeper, creative, receptive self. He said:

Where I was taught to understand and names things, I now experience and feel things. Where I was taught to frame and articulate things at arm’s length, I now embrace and absorb what is before me. This framing and naming at arm’s length is part of how we have all been encased since childhood in a masculine way of seeing that, out of balance, is dry and uninformed by any passion for life.

The difference is between painting a bird and flying. Too often under the guise of being asked to be prepared and mature, we are seduced into watching over living, into naming over feeling, into understanding over experiencing.

Most of us arrive in Italy coming for our jobs where, by and large, the male aspects dominate. Then, in Orvieto, we begin feeling and experiencing, and that neglected side of us is given voice. It is wonderful to experience, and it is wonderful to watch happen in those who travel with us. It is, in fact, why people come and what they take home with them.

Local artisan, Alberto, at work in Orvieto – touching our creative side!

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