Klawdia Proia


Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and educated there through High School, Klawdia was exposed to art both from her classes and from the art rich Haitian culture surrounding her. As a child she was introduced to Voodou from her mother who would take her to watch the ceremonies. These trips were not for the purpose of worship but for Klawdia to better understand this aspect of her native culture by witnessing the rituals. She watched the worshipers draw symbols on the earth in flour and cornmeal representing the gods of their religion and in amazement she watched the possession of spirits, the sacrifice of chickens and goats and the healing, protection and harvest ceremonies they practiced.

After Klawdia moved from the island, her mother became more interested in the religion and became a Voodou priestess practicing her religion until her death a few years ago

Klawdia moved from the island in 1972 to attend college. Struggling with learning a new language, she took classes in English where she met her future husband - French teacher Gianfranco. She now speaks fluent Creole, French, Italian, English and Spanish. Together they moved to the Bay area in California where she attended the College of Marin. The following year they moved to Hawaii for several years where she and her husband started a very successful jewelry business. Then moving back to California where the business continued to grow, Klawdia attended Santa Monica College where she explored painting, glass blowing, sculpture and ceramics. It was there she discovered her passion for clay.

Her first pieces still sing with the same spirit as they do now. Even then - the importance of color, the element of surprise in the decoration and her interest in creating containers that open up to reveal surprises inside was embellished in her work. Her most powerful memories are captured on the surface of her work. Recalling the Voodou ceremonies she witnessed as a child she chooses to use the symbols of the voodoo gods on her pottery. Every god has a diagram that represents it and each element of the design is important. Balance is crucial. She uses a variety of techniques to impose these symbols onto the surface including the use of clay stamps she has created strictly for that purpose and at times she simply paints the clay much as one would paint a canvas.

Klawdia uses a large variety of glazing techniques including under glazes, inclusion stains, red shino glaze w/wax resist, Val Cushing glazes, Deco Black and fake ash glass to enhance the colors.

Her firing techniques include high fire gas along with mid range electric oxidation firings.

Klawdia has been studying at Broward College under the direction of Professor John Foster since 1999. In 2002 she created a studio at home where she does most of the construction of her pieces and fires the work in her electric kiln.

Like most accomplished artists Klawdia has attended numerous workshops - her favorites by:

Ellen Shankin: Helped her explore wheel thrown shapes, altering them to square, adding feet and closing the rim with a round edge to allow for a thrown lid.

Steven Hill: A master of glazing - he sparked her imagination to explore new glazing techniques.

Federico Bonaldi: Federico is a clay artist near her home in Italy. He creates tiny clay whistles and musical instruments. It was Federico who taught her the use of inclusion stains in her glazes.