Idyllwild Arts has a long history of offering outstanding ceramics programs, with such renowned faculty as Fred Olsen, Shiro Otani, Susan Peterson, Maria Martinez, Patti Warashina, Lana Wilson, and Jeff Oestreich. This summer, don’t miss our special online opportunities in clay.

Check back in November to see the line-up of workshops for 2021.

Working from Home: Decorating Hand Built Pots

June 22-26
One-Week Session

This workshop focuses on integrating surface design with hand built pottery. Using basic pottery tools and objects from around your home, you will learn how to hand build cups, plates and bowls. You will then learn a variety of surface-design methods including slip decorating, sgraffito, and other mark making techniques. During the workshop, we will discuss aesthetic issues (i.e. proportions, color theory, etc.), making strong functional pots at low fire temperatures, and creative problem solving in the studio. Additional discussions of marketing, social media and the changing landscape of contemporary craft will leave you recharged, rejuvenated and ready to grow in your own studio practice.

Daily interactive Zoom demonstrations, “office hours” with the instructor, end-of-week show and tell, and daily homework included in this dynamic workshop. Workshops run each morning, with additional content from 1-2 pm most days, leaving you time to integrate what you are learning in your own studio (or kitchen!).

Cost: $500
Lab Fee: $70
Enrollment limited to 30 students.
Skill Level: Must have some clay experience and be self directed.
Instructor: Ben Carter

Meet Your Faculty

Ben Carter is based in Farmingdale, NJ, where he maintains a studio, teaches workshops and exhibits internationally. He received his MFA in ceramics from the University of Florida in 2010. In 2016 he was named Ceramic Artist of the Year by Ceramics Monthly and released his first full-length book, Mastering the Potter’s Wheel. In addition to his studio work, Ben is the creator/host of the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler podcast, where he interviews artists about their craft, creativity, and lifestyle.

What You Will Need:

  • Good internet connection 
  • Any electronic device that has access to the internet (phone, tablet, computer, iPod, etc.) 
  • Make sure your device is charged before class begins
  • 1 image or finished piece to show the class what type of work you have made in the past.

Tools / Materials:

  • Paper 
  • Scissors
  • A dedicated clean, flat surface – a kitchen table with a piece of canvas or dry wall is sufficient.
  • Standard pottery tools: rolling pin, sgraffito tools, apron, towels, notebook, and banding wheel or similar rotating device. I’ll cover how to make one if necessary.
  • Bats or ware boards
  • 3 smaller detail brushes and one wider cover coat brush  
  • Ruler, measuring tape or other tools for dividing up space on a form 
  • Bucket to mix slip in
  • Face mask of your choice for protection while mixing dry materials. N95 is industry standard.


  • Additional underglazes of your choice (4 included in lab fee – red, green, blue, purple)
  • A heat gun or small blow torch would be helpful, but not required.
  • Stamps or texture tools

If you have never used Zoom, here is a quick tutorial: Zoom tutorial video link.

You will be required to bring additional materials to your workshop.

More information coming soon!

Lab Fee Includes:

25 lbs of Laguna EM-106 Red Earthenware clay, raw/dry materials for slip, four 2 oz jars of underglaze, shipping. These items will be shipped directly to you.