This August I took a trip to La Bisbal D'empordà, about two hours North of Barcelona along the Costa Brava of Northern Spain. Each summer the Bisbal Ceramics School puts together a ceramics festival called Fang Cuit (meaning “cooked clay”). The festival offers six days of conferences, exhibitions, demonstrations and performances. It’s all about learning, fun and the celebration of ceramics.
This year the festival had seven international teachers offering a variety of (paid) courses during the day. There was a course on the construction of udus- an ancient percussion instrument. Others included: design of porcelain jewelry, dialogue and game through ceramics, sculptural murals, and more. The classes and activities are held in Spanish and Catalan languages.
Students and artists of all ages and walks of life spend their days learning in class, and in the evening there is music, performance, food and drinks. Certainly one of the highlights of the festival are the primitive man-made kilns and wood firings at night. This year I was lucky enough to catch the wood firing performance called Sabotage by @FemFoc.
After the wood firing performance, the party continued into the wee hours of the morning. On the sixth and final day of the festival, all of the pieces come out of the kilns and everyone is able to contemplate and comment on the work created during the week.
For those who want to attend the Empordà Fang Cuit festival, but do not want to sign up for the courses, there is a pass available called the Pase Cuit. For 12 Euros per night you can camp on the grounds and attend all of the activities apart from the courses. Anyone who is interested in networking, sharing knowledge, camaraderie and good vibes is welcome.
The school also opens up its grounds for camping, so that students and visitors can spend all week at the festival and there’s no need to pay for a hotel. If you do stay on site, I also recommend exploring the area. The Empordà region has a stunning natural coastline, good hikes and small towns to explore.
The economy of La Bisbal d’Empordà has been heavily based on pottery manufacturing. Although many of the old factories have closed down, you can still see the slender silhouettes of old industrial chimneys and buy traditional terracotta pottery on Carrer de l'Aigüeta.
While most of the shops sell industrial pottery, you will also find a couple handmade artisan shops. My personal favorite is from the French artist Annick Galimont. Her studio is called Ango, on Calle Aigüeta 72, La Bisbal d’Empordà.