Clay Workshops at Penland

Penland School of Crafts offers 1-, 2-, and 8-week clay classes taught by visiting instructors in our well-equipped studios. Class topics include functional and decorative pottery, wheel throwing, handbuilding, clay sculpture, glazing, and salt-, soda-, and wood-firing. Workshops are open to serious students of all levels unless specified in course description; beginners welcome.

Enrollment for summer and fall 2016 and spring 2017 workshops is currently open. Workshops are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and enrollment remains open until all class spaces are full or the workshop begins.





SUMMER session 2

June 12 - 24, 2016


Adam Field, Covered Jar, porcelain with carved pattern,

celadon glazes, 16 x 6 x 6 inches

Adam Field
Cultivating Inspirations in Clay

Demonstrations in this workshop will include my methods for carving intricate patterns on a variety of wheelthrown porcelain forms plus traditional Korean Onggi coil and paddle techniques. Students will learn new skills for mapping out and carving geometric patterns in clay. We値l discuss studio practice, aesthetics, materials, ceramic history, and strategies for promotion and marketing. Students will gain the skill and confidence needed to create and decorate functional work in their own voices. We値l fire salt and reduction kilns, exploring the reduction-cooling process, and share firings with Forrest Lesch-Middelton痴 workshop. All levels. Code 02CA


Studio artist; teaching: Fort Lewis College (CO), Mancos Ceramic Arts Center (CO); long-term residency at Archie Bray Foundation (MT), studied in Korea under sixth-generation Onggi master Kim Il Mahn; representation: AKAR Design Gallery (IA), The Clay Studio (Philadelphia), Lillstreet Art Center (Chicago).






Forrest Lesch-Middelton, Jar and Four Bottles, reduction-cooled

stoneware with volumetric image transfer, largest: 17 inches tall

Forrest Lesch-Middelton
Volumetric Image Transfer

Students will combine form and surface as they explore techniques for integrating wheelthrowing and image transfers simultaneously to create uniquely decorative functional wares. We値l develop silkscreens and make computer-generated embossments for molds and stamps. I値l walk you through my process while encouraging your own creative exploration. We値l work with stoneware and porcelain, fire salt and reduction kilns, explore the reduction-cooling process, and share firings with Adam Field痴 workshop. Students will leave with a new approach to surface and decoration. All levels: clay forming skills will be a bonus. Code 02CB


Studio artist; teaching: Arrowmont (TN), Greenwich House Pottery (NYC), Mudfire Studios (GA); residencies: Project Art (MA), Mendocino Arts Center (CA), Watershed (ME); Ceramics Monthly ceramic artist of the year; publications: New York Times, Architectural Digest.





SUMMER session 3

June 26 - JULY 8, 2016


Mark Hewitt, Large Egg Vase, wood-fired, salt-glazed stoneware,

black slip, yellow inclusion stain, 44 x 24 inches

Mark Hewitt
Stuck in the Mud

This workshop will examine all aspects of pottery. Our particular focus will be design and production skills, including throwing, handle pulling, decorating, and glazing. There will be ample time to draw, discuss, and experiment as we examine the familiar and the unfamiliar, looking for inspiration from history, psychology, nature, and the contemporary ceramic scene. We値l refine habitual processes and try new ones. We値l make small- and medium-sized pots from stoneware and fire the wood and salt kilns. All levels. Code 03CA


Studio potter: teaching: La Meridiana (Italy), International Ceramics Festival (Wales); awards: United States Artist Fellowship, Balvenie Rare Craft Award finalist, Archie Bray Voulkos Fellowship; exhibitions: Pucker Gallery (MA), Blue Spiral (NC), Ogden Museum (New Orleans), Nasher Museum (NC), Gallery Yufuki (Japan).










David L. Gamble, Dead Bird Icon, handbuilt terra cotta, cone 4

electric multi-fired, 14 x 11 x 1-1/2 inches

David L. Gamble & Tracy P. Gamble
The Gambles Clay Adventure

During the first week of our adventure, we値l experiment with low-fire clays. The second week we値l create with cone 5 clays and glazes. We値l experiment with underglazes on wet clay and bisqueware. Among other forms, we値l make face masks, tiles, spontaneous teapots, sushi plates, and nichos. The workshop will include lectures on firing electric kilns, and we値l do some brushmaking as a bonus. All levels: this workshop will be particularly beneficial for K-12 art teachers. Code 03CB


David: studio artist; works with Skutt Ceramic Products; teacher of hundreds of workshops in the U.S. and Canada and symposiums in Eastern Europe. Tracy: studio artist; consultant for American Art Clay. They were featured in a 都tudio visit article in Ceramics Monthly.










SUMMER session 4

july 10 - 22, 2016


Justin Rothshank, Yunomi, earthenware with decals and gold

luster, 4 x 4 x 4 inches

Justin Rothshank
Decals & Data

Students will learn how to transfer their own imagery onto ceramic work using a laser printer and decal paper. We値l cover image preparation, printing decals onto decal paper, transferring decals onto greenware and glazed ware, layering of decals, using commercial decals, and firing temperatures for various types of decals. We値l also talk about production and marketing techniques for the studio potter, focusing on daily production, social media, and small-business efficiency. Earthenware; electric and soda firings. All levels. Code 04CA


Studio artist; teaching: Arrowmont (TN), Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Union Project (Pittsburgh); residencies: Arrowmont (TN), Baltimore Clayworks; co-founder of Union Project (Pittsburgh); exhibitions: AKAR Design Gallery (IA), The Clay Studio (Philadelphia), Lillstreet Art Center (Chicago), Smithsonian Craft Show (DC), Northern Clay Center (Minneapolis); work sold in more than two dozen galleries and museum shops.




Esther Shimazu, Tiny World, stoneware, porcelain, 20-1/2 x

10-1/2 x 11-1/2 inches

Esther Shimazu
Clay with a Life of Its Own

In this workshop we値l make detailed expressive figures using standard pottery handbuilding techniques (pinch, coil, and slab). Working with stoneware, students will begin with a small maquette and then compose their figures from hollow clay body parts with individually modeled teeth, fingernails, and toenails. We値l pay particular attention to heads, hands, and feet. For fun and contrast, we値l use porcelain for eyes and teeth. Students will learn strong joinery techniques to allow for unique gestural expressions. Intermediate/advanced: basic handbuilding skills required. Code 04CB


Studio artist; teaching: Anderson Ranch (CO), Santa Fe Clay, Penland; exhibitions: Kunstform Solothurn (Switzerland), Robyn Buntin Gallery (Honolulu), Craft Alliance (St. Louis); representation: John Natsoulas Gallery (CA); collections: Honolulu Museum of Art, St. Louis Art Museum, Cincinnati Art Museum, Kutani Collection (Japan), Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.










SUMMER session 5

july 24 - August 9, 2016


Sam Taylor, Flower Vase, stoneware, 9 x 13 inches


Mark Shapiro, Tall-Necked Flask, wood-fired, salt-glazed

stoneware, 14 inches tall


Mark Shapiro & Sam Taylor
A Pottery Ramble

ramble: 1. to walk for pleasure, typically without a definite route.
Tools, traditions, techniques, and ideas will be our foundation for exploring personal expression in functional pottery. Beginning with the wheel, we値l extend our making to include multiple approaches. This inquisitive, experimental, and interactive workshop will move students toward new pottery destinations. We値l work in stoneware (porcelain on request) and fire in wood, salt, and soda kilns. Intermediate/advanced: basic wheelthrowing skills required. Code 05CA


Mark: studio artist, director of the New Apprenticeship Project in Studio Ceramics; editor of A Chosen Path: the Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes. Sam: studio artist, collaborates with a diverse community in his firings at his Dog Bar Pottery (MA). Both have taught many workshops.





















Israel Davis, A Little Boy Dreams Dreaming, handbuilt terra cotta,

digtally-generated image screen-printed with underglaze,

2-1/2 x 8 x 11 inches



Israel Davis
Objects & Images

This workshop will explore the use of screenprinting to produce images for application onto clay objects. We値l use direct printing and newspaper-transfer with slips and underglazes. Students will learn the steps for creating imagery, exposing screens, and printing. We値l also explore laser toner decals. Handbuilding, wheelthrowing, and mold making will be used to produce sculptural and utilitarian pieces. We値l discuss the narrative possibilities of objects and images. We値l work with earthenware and electric kilns and also experiment with stoneware in the soda kiln for atmospheric effects. All levels. Code 05CB


Assistant professor at Kendall College of Art and Design (MI); European Ceramic Work Center residency (Netherlands); exhibitions: Ogden Museum (New Orleans), Society for Contemporary Craft (Pittsburgh), Baltimore Clayworks, AKAR Design Gallery (IA).




SUMMER session 6

August 14 - 26, 2016

Guillermo Cuellar, Teapot, reduction-fired stoneware, Tenmoku

and Nuka glazes, cane handle, 7-1/2 x 7 x 5-1/2 inches

Guillermo Cuellar
Wheelthrown Functional Pots

We値l make wheelthrown pots that provide joy in everyday use. Demonstrations will cover simple tools and techniques for forming, glazing, and decorating. We値l work with stoneware and fire in salt, soda, and reduction gas kilns. Students will play, explore, and experiment. There will be abundant one-on-one time for individual skill building. We値l discuss process, from materials to making to marketing, and have an ongoing conversation about form, aesthetics, and the place of pots in our lives. All levels, although basic wheelthrowing skills will be helpful. Code 06CA


Studio artist; teaching: Centro de Arte Curaumilla (Chile), Adamah Clay Studios (WI), Grand Marais Art Colony (MN); representation: Schaller Gallery (MI), Northern Clay Center (MN), The Grand Hand (MN), AKAR Design Gallery (IA); collections: Weisman Art Museum (MN), Plains Art Museum (ND), Galera Nacional de Arte (Venezuela).


Jeremy Randall, Red Tank Bottle, earthenware, terra sigillata,

stain washes, glaze, 7 x 4-1/2 x 15 inches

Jeremy Randall
Flat to Form: Handbuilt Vessels

We値l explore slab construction with earthenware to produce forms that are out-of-round and learn new ways to incorporate volume, texture, color, surface development, electric firing, and post-firing construction to make vessels that are rich with visual interest. Using a template method for generating ideas and drawing forms, we値l take flat shapes and transform them into volumetric objects. We値l use terra sigillata to create lively surfaces that are luscious and loaded with color. Students will approach decoration by looking at line, texture, and form to build on their own visual vocabulary. All levels: basic handbuilding skills will be helpful. Code 06CB


Studio artist; visiting professor at Cazenovia College (NY), exhibitions: Signature Gallery (Atlanta), Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, Society of Arts and Crafts Boston, Baltimore Clayworks, Mudfire (Atlanta).












SUMMER session 7

August 28 - September 3, 2016

Kristen Kieffer, Pitchers, porcelain with underglaze and slip-trail

decoration, cone 7 oxidation, 9-1/2 x 9 x 5-1/2 inches each

Kristen Kieffer
Altered, Ornamented & Drawn: No Fear!

This workshop will focus on conquering anxiety and embracing play in our sketchbooks and on our pots. We値l alter wheelthrown or handbuilt forms and embellish them with an array of decoration techniques, from stamping and slip-trailing to sponging and resists. We値l draw and collage to fine-tune influences and ideas. Demonstrations will include throwing, altering and building off the wheel, darting, and decoration. Students will leave with new skills, confidence, and a better understanding of timing in clay. Bisque-firing only. Intermediate/advanced: wheelthrowing or handbuilding skills required. Code 07CA


Studio artist; ceramics instructor at Worcester Center for Crafts (MA); exhibitions: The Clay Studio (Philadelphia), Lillstreet Arts Center (Chicago), Odgen Museum (New Orleans); publications: Ceramics Monthly, Graphic Clay.





Deborah Horrell, Ruby Throated Hummingbird, glass, vitreous

enamel, 5-3/4 x 5-3/4 x 1/2 inches


Tom Spleth, Pull My Finger, slipcast porcelain cup,

3-3/4 x 3 x 3 inches


Deborah Horrell & Tom Spleth
Small, Smaller

The faces of our phones are windows that look into the universe. Small is a fact of life today and how small makes and affects meaning is the kernel of this workshop. Whatever the medium, intense opportunities for art-making can arise when the first constraint is small. The goal will be to find out what makes an idea big when the modus operandi is small. Printmaking, mold making, and slipcast porcelain will be our methods and materials of choice as we make small objects and images. All levels. Code 07CB


Deborah: studio artist, workshop teacher; representation: Elizabeth Leach Gallery (OR); collections: Portland Art Museum (OR), Mint Museum (NC), Racine Art Museum (WI). Tom: studio artist; teaching: Alfred University (NY), Haystack (ME), Anderson Ranch (CO); collections: Kohler Co. (WI), Rhode Island School of Design.




























Fall Concentration
September 25 - November 18, 2016

Birdie Boone, Berry Bowl, handbuilt chocolate stoneware,

crackle bisque slip, tinted glaze, 4 x 5 x 5 inches


Matt Repsher, Mug, ceramic, 3-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 3 inches

Birdie Boone & Matt Repsher
Common Ground

This pot-centric workshop will focus on guiding students toward a personal aesthetic that reflects their own creative motivations. With an eye toward developing strong interactions between form and surface, demonstrations and discussions will include design and construction of minimal forms through wheelthrowing and handbuilding. We値l cover pattern development, making simple molds, using slips, carving, and glaze color and surface development. We値l work primarily with mid-range dark stonewares and electric kiln firing. All levels. Code F00CA

Birdie: Studio artist; teaching: Worcester Center for Crafts (MA), Anderson Ranch (CO), Haystack (ME); representation: Northern Clay Center (MN), Schaller Gallery (MI). Matt: Studio artist; teaching: Indiana University, University of New Mexico, Pocosin Arts (NC); shows: Smithsonian Craft Show (DC), American Pottery Festival (Minneapolis).












Fall One-Week Session 1
October 9 - 15, 2016

Alice Ballard, gift from Alex, charcoal, ebony pencil, conte,

22 x 20 inches


Alice Ballard, Quince, white earthenware, terra sigillata,

12 x 7 x 9 inches


Alice Ballard
Finding Your Form Through Drawing & Clay

In this process-oriented workshop, we値l move back and forth between clay and various drawing media, seeking inspiration from the beautiful Penland setting and the host of natural forms within that environment. Working inside and outside the studio, our ideas and materials will be our partners, and the creative process will lead us. Artists who are used to working in two dimensions and those who usually work in three will all benefit from the contrast and combination of these two ways of working. We値l use earthenware clay and have some electric firing for small pieces, and we値l make lots of drawings. All levels. Code F01CB

Studio artist; teaching: Francis Marion University (SC), Arrowmont (TN), Governor痴 School for the Arts and Humanities (SC); Fulbright Fellowship, two South Carolina Arts Commission fellowships; solo exhibitions: Eno Gallery (NC), Greenville County Museum of Art (SC), Sumter Museum of Art (SC); collections: Renwick Gallery (DC), Mint Museum (NC).
























Fall One-Week Session 3
November 6 - 12, 2016

Nan Smith, TwentyTwelve, porcelain, earthenware, glaze, paint,

concrete, sand, wood, 56 x 46 x 38 inches


Nan Smith
Personality Plus

Who are you? What causes presence in the sculpted human form? By investigating questions of identity in addition to studying anatomy within the bust format, students will create a life-scale self-portrait that reflects their inner personality and self-perception. Demonstrations will cover life-casting techniques, life modeling, photo-documentation, and rendering an expressive and anatomically believable human form. We値l create solid-built busts over metal armatures. Students will leave with a life cast and a sculpted portrait bust in wet clay. All levels. Code F03CB

Professor at University of Florida; publications: The Figure in Clay, Sculpture, Ceramics: Art and Perception, Ceramics Monthly, CFile Weekly; collections: American Express (NY), Lamar Dodd Art Center (GA), Givat Haviva Art Center (Israel), World Ceramics Exposition Korea International Collection.





Spring Concentration
March 12 - May 5, 2017

Nick Schwartz, 2 Gallon Jug, wood- and salt-fired stoneware,

14-1/2 x 8 x 8 inches


John Dix, Flask, wood-fired ceramic, natural wood ash,

8 inches high

Nick Schwartz
Painting with Fire

This workshop will explore the art and craft of atmospheric firing techniques. We値l use the variables of firing with wood and gas, as well as the introduction of salt and soda, to create surfaces of unparalleled beauty on our finished work. We値l practice the art of tumble stacking to influence the flame痴 path through the work as it glazes with ash and atmosphere. While this workshop will focus on firing techniques, we値l also work in depth to cultivate functional forms that are complimentary to our firings. We値l be joined for two weeks by guest teacher John Dix. All levels. Code S00CA

Studio artist, hosts atmospheric firings with students and teachers from all over the world; teaching: Mendocino Art Center (CA), Penland, universities across the country; exhibitions: Trax Gallery (CA), Lillstreet Art Center (Chicago), Baltimore Clayworks.







































Spring One-Week Session 3
April 23 - 29, 2017

Kurt Anderson, octo-platter, cone 6 porcelain, 14 x 14 x 2 inches


Kurt Anderson
Platters and Plates as Canvas

This fun and supportive workshop will focus on making plates and platters through wheelthrowing and slab construction and useing decorative techniques to create unique and personal functional tableware. Students will be introduced to a variety of methods for decorating pottery, including sgraffito, mishima, and simple brush painting. Students will be encouraged to sketch and draw on paper as they develop personal iconography and explore ideas from established pottery archetypes. Basic ceramic experience will be helpful, but this workshop is open to all levels. Code S03CB

Studio artist; teaching: Hunter College (NYC), Ohio State University (OH), Archie Bray Foundation (MT); exhibitions: The Clay Studio (Philadelphia), Archie Bray Foundation (MT), AKAR Design Gallery (IA).