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 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 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).