Professor Spotlight: Renzo Faggioli


Samantha Riley

Renzo Faggioli–Ceramics professor

Renzo Faggioli is a ceramicist and adjunct professor of ceramics at Moravian College, and an instructor at The Baum School of Art. Raised in the small town of Montelupo, Italy,  Faggioli’s initial training in the art of ceramics was at the Scuola State Ceramica della Robbia in Florence. He later continued his studies at Alfred University and Carnegie-Mellon University. Having had many major gallery exhibitions throughout Europe and the Eastern United States, Faggioli now resides in Bethlehem where he teaches and continues to work on his own artwork.  

What inspired you to go into your field of study?

I grew up in a little town outside of Florence in Italy and there were lots of ceramicists around me. After I started to go to school for architecture, I was going to school and also working at ceramics factories. I slowly got into ceramic studies and out of architecture.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a [clay] horse and also the large fruit [ceramic pieces] that I made. [They] became quite popular, so I’m working on the horse as well as one of the fruit.

What do you think is the most recent important development in your field of work?

Unfortunately, recently we’ve been trying to survive with this COVID-19 and so we don’t have the choice to go to the museums and see the exhibitions like we used to. So in the last few months I haven’t really exposed myself to anything like that. I would have to think back at least almost a year ago to since I did that. I travel in Europe a lot, so I see exhibitions over there. They influence me quite a bit. 

What job would you have if you couldn’t be a professor, regardless of salary and job outcome? Why?

All my life I loved to do what I do and teaching came along the side with it. My theory is I always share everything I know with the students because that’s the only way I can get something back. I’m pretty much an open book. I have no secrets with the students. Whatever I know, I pass it on.

What do you know now that you wished you knew when you were in college?

I wish, like many students, [that] I [had] applied myself more to learning. You always look back with regrets [about] that, you know? Unfortunately, I fall in the category of people who are disappointed because when they were in school they probably should have applied themselves more than they did.

What is your biggest student pet peeve?

It bothers me when I see a student who really has a lot to offer and he does not respect himself. When they think less of themselves than what they are, that bothers me. It bothers me because they have so much more potential, so much more to offer. At the same time, it’s very rewarding to see a student that does not have the potential and tries really hard. Of the two I prefer the one that tries really hard because eventually they come through.

What was the last streaming show that you binge-watched or the last good book that you read?

I watch a lot of news, unfortunately these days because we are in this confusion of elections, so I’ve been watching a lot of news. Because what they are doing out there, it makes our future especially for young people.

What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know?

Well, like anybody, we all have secrets we keep to ourselves. I guess I’m not any different from anybody else when it comes to that.

What’s your spirit animal and why?

My preferred animal is a spider. I find them to be very clever, very intelligent because they make the web. I love the construction of them because they have eight legs. I always thought secretly, if there’s another life, I might come back as a spider. You never know! Spiders I always found very interesting because they survive off of what they catch in the web that they make and they’re very genius with that. They always make something that is quite architectural. They suspend themselves from the line and they go down and back up—I found it always very fascinating.

If you could collaborate with one artist, dead or alive, who would it be? Why?

Harry Müller. He was a [German] artist and I always admired his work because he made forms related to figures and a lot of different forms that deal with voids; the openings in the forms. The spaces he creates in the forms are just as important as the form itself. He’s somebody I always admired.