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 2016 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 1

May 29 - June 10, 2016


Lindsay Oesterritter, Bowl, iron-rich stoneware, 8 x 12 x 12 inches

Lindsay Oesterritter
Reduction-Cool Wood Fire

In this workshop we’ll load, fire, and reduction-cool Penland’s three-chamber, anagama-noborigama hybrid wood kiln. We’ll throw and handbuild pieces for the wood kiln and also cover approaches to loading and stacking, variability between wood kilns, when and when not to use glazes, and how to successfully clean finished wares. We’ll be making work during the session, but because of the size of the kiln and the limited time, students should bring bisqueware (high-fire clay) with them if they can. All levels. Code 01CA


Associate professor at Western Kentucky University; residencies: Arrowmont (TN), Strathnairn Arts Association (Australia); Ceramics Monthly emerging artist, purchase award at NCECA 2011 Biennial at Tampa Museum of Art (FL); exhibitions: AKAR Design Gallery (IA), Baltimore Clayworks, Center for Southern Craft and Design at Ogden Museum (New Orleans).





Sunshine Cobb, Pitchers, clay, glaze,10 x 7 x 5 inches

Sunshine Cobb
Exploring Handbuilt Functionality

This hands-on workshop will motivate you to experiment with new forms and methods of construction. Beginning, intermediate, and advanced students will use handbuilding techniques such as coil, pinch, and hard- and soft-slab construction to generate pottery components. Collaboration will be an option, and our mantras will be “process over product” and “progress over perfection.” The workshop will include demonstrations, class discussions, informal presentations of students’ visual resource material, in-process critiques of student work, and plenty of brainstorming/problem-solving sessions. Mid-range red stoneware, electric firing. All levels. Code 01CB


Studio artist; visiting professor at Sacramento State University (CA); other teaching: Haystack (ME), Anderson Ranch (CO), Peters Valley (NJ), Arrowmont (TN); Ceramics Monthly emerging artist, NCECA emerging artist; long-term residency at Archie Bray Foundation (MT).





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’ll 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’ll fire salt and reduction kilns, exploring the reduction-cooling process, and share firings with Forrest Lesch-Middelton’s 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’ll develop silkscreens and make computer-generated embossments for molds and stamps. I’ll walk you through my process while encouraging your own creative exploration. We’ll work with stoneware and porcelain, fire salt and reduction kilns, explore the reduction-cooling process, and share firings with Adam Field’s 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’ll refine habitual processes and try new ones. We’ll 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


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

During the first week of our adventure, we’ll experiment with low-fire clays. The second week we’ll create with cone 5 clays and glazes. We’ll experiment with underglazes on wet clay and bisqueware. Among other forms, we’ll make face masks, tiles, spontaneous teapots, sushi plates, and nichos. The workshop will include lectures on firing electric kilns, and we’ll 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 “studio 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’ll 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’ll 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’ll 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’ll pay particular attention to heads, hands, and feet. For fun and contrast, we’ll 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’ll extend our making to include multiple approaches. This inquisitive, experimental, and interactive workshop will move students toward new pottery destinations. We’ll 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’ll use direct printing and newspaper-transfer with slips and underglazes. Students will learn the steps for creating imagery, exposing screens, and printing. We’ll also explore laser toner decals. Handbuilding, wheelthrowing, and mold making will be used to produce sculptural and utilitarian pieces. We’ll discuss the narrative possibilities of objects and images. We’ll 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’ll make wheelthrown pots that provide joy in everyday use. Demonstrations will cover simple tools and techniques for forming, glazing, and decorating. We’ll 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’ll 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), Galería 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’ll 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’ll take flat shapes and transform them into volumetric objects. We’ll 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’ll alter wheelthrown or handbuilt forms and embellish them with an array of decoration techniques, from stamping and slip-trailing to sponging and resists. We’ll 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.