Dora Good in her studio
I am in complete awe when I meet artists who are dedicated to their craft in an unassuming way; those who are creating spectacular pieces, but don't boast of their talent at every opportunity. Dora not only lives surrounded by a little slice of heaven on earth, but also seems to impersonate a character that I feel I have encountered many times in classic novels. Her story, however, takes place somewhere which goes well beyond the settings of my deepest imagination. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, in a hut built of heavy stone - which itself is part of a group of buildings that make up Son Rullán - the home that hosts us during our retreats in Mallorca.
I can only dream of a creative journey that could be inspired by these natural surroundings, and Dora actually extracts the essence and colors of the mountains that surround her in Mallorca while she works. Her interpretation of clay formations are rough and abstract, but I find them so elegant and precise.
Dora is a ceramicist and shares a work space with Grace, who is both her mom and surely the forebear of her own creative processes. The studio seems to be composed of layers of reality and it houses the incredible clay pieces that have been crafted by both of them. It includes portraits of Grace’s children and grandchildren, a sea of candles, and the room's corners are adorned with pure beauty and life. One could not feel more inspired to be allowed to peek right in. I literally want to be adopted and taken under their wing to be taught unlimited skills, and to absorb such an aesthetic.
The way in which Dora creates is so raw and purified at the same time. She reinterprets the craft in her own manner by using ancient techniques for glazing, firing and finishing clay, but also is also quite happy to accept earthy imperfections in her work. All the contradictions I read about with the uncontrollable nature of working with clay take special significance as I stand in front of her moon bowls, her stripped vessels and leftovers of other collections laying around the studio.
Our guests take a ceramic workshop on our last day together. I am upset that I cannot take the class, since I am busy preparing the lunch set up to follow. After caring for a group of 10 people that week, there is nothing that my racing mind could possibly benefit more from, and I would love to allow myself yet again into that trance-like state that occurs when you are making something with your hands. As I reunite with the guests after the class, I can see some of them have been transformed after meeting Dora and Grace. I am happy the same feeling has been planted in them too.
Photography by Jessie Webster