One of the highlights of my time in Rome was a visit to c.r.e.t.a. rome (Ceramics, Residencies, Exhibitions, Teaching and the Arts). The center was created “to serve as a point of encounter for international exchange between artists, collectors, donors and the public.”

I was fortunate to meet Lori-Ann Tourchette at NCECA last March and we struck up a conversation about Rome and her young and growing clay center in the Eternal City. I mentioned I would be coming to Italy this fall and Lori-Ann graciously extended an invitation to come visit.

c.r.e.t.a.rome is located in the mid 16th-century Palazzo Delfini in the historical center just blocks from the Capitoline. I walked around the neighborhood before entering, and was excited to see how close it is to such famous sites, yet tucked into a quiet side street in a lovely neighborhood. There is an important archeological dig taking place literally next door.

Once inside I was introduced to Lori-Ann’s husband and partner Paolo Porelli who specializes in sculpture and functional pottery. He has exhibited widely in Europe and the US. Recently, he was a summer resident artist at The Archie Bray Foundation, Montana and Guest Artist in Residence at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia. He was busily teaching class in the lovely setting of one of the studios, which also serves as a gallery when a show is on.

Lori-Ann has an interesting background. She is a classical archaeologist/art historian and since moving to Rome in 1997, she has taught in and worked for several study abroad programs. She gave me the grand tour and I was impressed with what the center can offer in the typically tight space one finds in large European cities like Rome.

After Lori-Ann’s tour and Paolo’s class was over we enjoyed the terrace view with a glass of prosecco. I could go on further about this magical place, but instead I suggest you check on the website and consider making work there in the future.

I am headed to Salerno and Cosenza to visit family for a bit, then on to London for research on the Silk Road.


Entrance to c.r.e.t.a.rome


Local sites in Rome


Paolo teaching


luster work by Paolo Porelli


Main studio


Terrace view


The talent behind the center


Lori-Ann and I