Ceramics & Hot Clay

Idyllwild Arts has a long history of offering outstanding ceramics summer camp programs, with such renowned faculty as Fred Olsen, Shiro Otani, Susan Peterson, Maria Martinez, Patti Warashina, Lana Wilson, and Jeff Oestreich.

Registration for 2020 Hot Clay and Pottery Courses will open February 1st, 2020.

Hot Clay Overview

June 9 – July 6

Coordinator: Richard Burkett
Studio Manager: Adrienne Eliades

Each Week Features:

  • Hands-on Workshops
  • Open Studios
  • Faculty demonstrations and lectures
  • Critiques and feedback
  • Faculty Exhibits and Artist Receptions
  • Small classes, maximum interaction with faculty
  • Participant exhibits

Thrown Forms and Slipped Surfaces

Victoria Christen
June 9 – 15

In this exciting workshop you will construct pots from thrown and hand-built parts with terra cotta clay. You will learn throwing skills and techniques for using the wheel to create shapes that can be cut up once the clay is leather hard. Using colored slips, commercial underglazes, and terra sigillata, the class will also examine the relationship between form and surface for functional pottery. A variety of application techniques will be shown including techniques for surface decoration, from flat areas of color to loose needle-carved drawing and delicate brushwork. Surface decoration will be done on leather hard clay, creating a close relationship of surface to form. Victoria will work alongside you in the studio, giving daily demonstrations of pottery techniques, providing one-on-one instruction, and showing a wide variety of ceramic images.

Skill Level: Basic throwing skills to advanced.
Tuition: $755
Lab fee: $65, includes clay, slips, underglazes, shared supplies and materials; you will be asked to bring additional materials.

Click here for the Hot Clay Welcome Letter
Click here for the Materials List
Enrollment limited to 10 students

Victoria Christen is a studio potter living in Portland, OR. She earned an MFA from the University of Minnesota and was a resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation. Victoria teaches workshops internationally and has received many awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Regional Visual Arts Fellowship. www.victoriachristen.com

Bodies in Motion

Kevin Rohde
June 9-15

The focus of this workshop will be to investigate human anatomy, posture and gesture to communicate complex emotion and narrative context for figurative sculpture. Details of hands and feet, clothing, hair and facial expression will be stressed to further create personality and character in these dynamic sculptures. Building solid on simple armatures, Kevin will lead you through the process of constructing full figures 20” – 24” tall. Once the armatures are removed, the pieces will be hollowed and completed. Discussion will address finishing processes, and pieces will be bisque fired after the workshop.

Skill Level: All levels, though handbuilding experience is recommended.
Tuition: $755
Lab fee: $75, includes clay, armatures, models, firing costs, shared supplies; you will be asked to bring additional materials.
Click here for the Hot Clay Welcome Letter
Click here for the Materials List
Enrollment limited to 10 students

Kevin Rohde is an artist and sculptor living in Baltimore, MD. He is the recipient of numerous artist fellowships including the Fogelberg Fellowship at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, MN, the Lormina Salter Fellowship at Baltimore Clayworks, and a Nyburg grant to travel to Tainan National University of the Arts in Taiwan as Artist in Residence. Kevin received his BA from Keystone College and his MFA from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. He currently teaches as an Adjunct Professor of Ceramics at Towson University in Towson, MD, George Washington University in Washington, DC, Hood College in Fredrick, MD, and is the Resident Artist Coordinator at Baltimore Clayworks.  rohdeworks.com and @kevinjrohde

Put A Lid On It: Handbuilding Covered Forms

Gail Kendall
June 9-15

Sometimes, in workshops, the most challenging forms you can construct don’t make an appearance: you’ve run out of time. In this workshop you will start with those more engineered forms, concentrating on lidded forms such as casseroles, teapots, covered jars and covered dishes. Using earthenware clay, slabs and coils, along with basic clay tools, various construction techniques will be demonstrated. The ins and outs of lids: style, suitability, use and handling will be explored and discussed. Gail will demonstrate and encourage the use of white slip and sgrafitto techniques in the greenware stage to set up future decoration. Handles, finials, lugs, and doodads will be discussed, demonstrated, and make their appearance. Gail will present a few image lectures concentrating on analysis of form and the relationship between form and surface. You’ll have a handout of formulas along with an image discussion of how Gail uses underglazes, glazes, luster and china paints to complete her work. Finally Gail will demonstrate plates and platters. You will take home greenware or bisqued work and new ways to think about glazing. You will work hard, explore all avenues that present themselves, get answers to questions and have a lot of fun.

Skill Level: Skilled beginning to advanced (basic ceramic skills required)
Tuition: $755
Lab fee: $65, includes clay, shared supplies, firing costs; you will be asked to bring additional materials.
Click here for the Hot Clay Welcome Letter
Click here for the Materials List
Enrollment limited to 10 students

Gail Kendall has been a resident at c.r.e.t.a.rome, Spode Fine China Works, The Archie Bray Foundation, Red Lodge Clay Center, Belger Crane Yard and Anderson Ranch Art Center among others. Her work has appeared in articles and books including Ceramics: Art and Perception, Neue Keramik, Emmanuel Cooper’s Contemporary Ceramics (UK), MASTERS: Earthenware. She exhibits widely throughout the United States. Retired from University of Nebraska-Lincoln since 2011, Kendall spends her time in Lincoln working in her clay studio, cooking, practicing the piano and knitting. www.gailkendall.com

Slab-built Pottery: from flat to FORM

Bill Griffith
June 16-22

In this workshop you will work with soft clay slabs, learning hand building construction techniques using templates and simple mold forms to create a variety of functional mid-range stoneware pottery forms. You will create mugs, tumblers, pouring pots, plates, platters or one-of-a kind presentation pots. The focus is on creating good forms and using various surface design techniques including texture stamps, rollers, stencils and commercial slips.  This workshop is especially suitable for art educators and students new to hand building, or looking to expand your hand building repertoire.  We will use Cone 6 clay, glazes and slips to complete our pots fired in electric kilns.

Skill Level: All Levels
Tuition: $755
Lab fee:$65, includes clay, shared supplies, firing costs; you will be asked to bring additional materials.
Click here for the Hot Clay Welcome Letter
Click here for the Materials List
Enrollment limited to 10 students

Bill Griffith is a studio artist, educator and administrator at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee. He lectures and teaches workshops throughout the US at craft schools, universities and craft guilds.  A recipient of a Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artists Fellowship, Bill continues to exhibit his work, jury and curate exhibitions nationally.  www.billgriffithclay.com


Thaddeus Erdahl
June 16 – 22

Come and create a clay face from a life-cast mold of your own face. Once casted, learn specific mold-making and hand building techniques that allow you to re-create and alter a series of ceramic faces and head sculptures. This workshop incorporates both traditional hollow-form hand building and press-molding processes. You will cast your own face to create a reusable silicone rubber mold as a starting point. From there, explore alteration and modification. In addition, you will learn a variety of techniques for ceramic sculpture surface design by layering engobes, slips, and glazes at low-fire temperatures. Experimentation is highly encouraged – there are no limits to what you can do with your face! This workshop will incorporate morning and afternoon demonstrations, slide lectures, and ample work time with one-on-one discussions/critiques.

Skill Level:All levels. Comfort working small and life drawing or sculpture experience are helpful.
Tuition: $755
Lab fee: $85, includes clay, silicone mold materials, shared supplies; you will be asked to bring additional materials.
Click here for the Hot Clay Welcome Letter
Click here for the Materials List
Enrollment limited to 10 students

Thaddeus Erdahl is a studio artist in St. Petersburg, FL, and teaches at Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa. He has held residencies at Guldegegaard International Ceramic Research Center in Denmark and at Arrowmont. Thaddeus has had a solo exhibition at Greenwich House Pottery in New York City and was recently nominated as an emerging voice in craft by the American Craft Council. www.thaddeuserdahl.com

Throwing Relaxed, Gestural Forms

Steven Hill
June 16- 22
As intermediate throwers hone their skills often an affinity will begin to show for working more precisely. Precision throwing can lead to sublime beauty or to mechanical repetition that leaves pots stiff. As a potter, you develop your eye along with your technical skills, sometimes yearning to make forms that breathe – pots that look as though they are still soft and pliable after they are fired.

This workshop will be structured for the potter with basic throwing skills, who would like to make relaxed forms that feel more gestural. You won’t be encouraged to unlearn any of your hard won technique, but rather to expand the ways of gently altering thrown forms. You will start with drinking vessels and bowls before moving on to larger and slightly more complex forms.

Midway through the week, you will experiment with spraying and layering Steven Hill glazes on two of our pots and do a cone 8 electric firing.

Skill Level:
Tuition: $755
Lab fee:
$65, includes clay, shared supplies, firing costs; you will be asked to bring additional materials.
Click here for the Hot Clay Welcome Letter
Click here for the Materials List
Enrollment limited to 10 students

Steven Hill has been a studio potter since 1974, originally working out of a backyard studio. In 1998 Steven co-founded Red Star Studios Ceramic Center in Kansas City, MO. Steven has taught over 300 workshops throughout the United States and Canada and has written ten ceramic articles, the most recent being, “Atmospheric-Like Effects for Electric Firing.” Currently Steven is doing what he does best… Making pots, writing about ceramics, teaching workshops and letting someone else take care of business! His new home is 323 Clay in Independence, MO.

The Poetics of Glaze Chemistry

gwendolyn yoppolo
June 23 – 29

Approach your surfaces and color palette with the same confident sense of artistry that you use in your forming process. Getting to know ceramic raw materials can be a direct and personal experience. This workshop will help you find an approach that is comfortable and that fits your natural ways of working. With your aesthetic intentions at the core of your explorations, we will apply scientific methods in an intuitive, open-ended and creative way. This workshop will equip you with scientific and creative techniques that will help you hone your use of color and surface qualities in order to realize your aesthetic intentions. You will learn fun and easy ways to perform tests with glazes and decorating slips in order to learn the qualities of various raw materials, explore trends in color response, adjust surface properties, add visual and tactile textures, and discover new recipes. The aim of your work will be to develop a unique palette of colors and surfaces, by guiding your own experiments that include color runs, line blends, equal part blends, triaxial and quadraxial blends, and individually designed blends. You  will be making test tiles and tests for cone 6 firings.

Skill Level: All levels
Tuition: $755
Lab fee:$75,  includes clay, shared supplies, firing costs; you will be asked to bring additional materials.
Click here for the Hot Clay Welcome Letter
Click here for the Materials List
Enrollment limited to 10 students

gwendolyn yoppolo uses words, ceramic objects, and food to stretch boundaries and transform perception, making experiences that intervene in usual ways of eating and drinking.  Her own explorations in ceramic materials have focused on developing matte crystalline glazes with constantly shifting color palettes.  She earned an MFA in Ceramics from Penn State, an MA in Education from Columbia University, and a BA in Sociology from Haverford College.  A passionate educator and thinker as well as a maker, she serves as Assistant Professor at Kutztown University. gwendolynyoppolo.com

Pottery Boot Camp

Darcy Delgado & Adrienne Eliades
June 30 – July 6

Learn and develop your physical throwing skills on the potter’s wheel to make functional pottery as expressive art. Improve your form language through repetition and experimentation. Focus on practice as the foundation for building tacit [body] knowledge and gaining proficiency in making cups, bowls, plates, pitchers, teapots and more. New techniques will be introduced every day by Darcy and Adrienne for throwing, trimming, and decorating greenware. You will gain an understanding of the relationship of form to function. Become familiar with works of master potters to better comprehend the mechanics of what makes ceramic forms structurally sound and invites you to want to use them.

You will leave with bisqued pots. There will be one Cone 6 reduction firing with the possibility of a Cone 6 oxidation firing. You will bring 5-10 small to medium-sized prebisqued pieces made from cone 6 clay for firings. Bisqueware will be provided for testing glazes and for beginning throwers. Bring your questions, source material, tools, or any other curiosities.

Skill Level: Beginners to experienced potters.
Tuition: $755
Lab fee: $65, includes cone 6 stoneware clay, slips, underglazes, firings, use of shared tools and supplies; you will be asked to bring additional materials.
Click here for the Hot Clay Welcome Letter
Click here for the Materials List

Enrollment limited to 12 students

Darcy Delgado earned her BFA in Sculpture at California College of the Arts in Oakland/San Francisco. Darcy is the glaze technician and a faculty member at The Potters’ Studio in Berkeley. She has shown in the San Francisco area and throughout Southern California. Darcy lives in Berkeley, CA.

Adrienne Eliades is a studio artist currently living in Vancouver, WA. She earned a BA from the University of North Carolina, and an MFA from the University of Florida. Named a 2018 Emerging Artist by Ceramics Monthly, Adrienne has been an artist-in-residence at Ash Street Project in Portland, OR, Guldagergaard International Research Center in Denmark and The Bright Angle in Asheville, NC. In addition to maintaining a vibrant studio practice, Adrienne teaches at Portland Community College. www.adrienneeliades.com

Native American Pottery Courses

Zuni Pottery

Milford Nahohai and Jaycee Nahohai
June 17-22

Jaycee and Milford Nahohai will offer hands-on instruction on how to make pottery in the Zuni tradition. Students will mix clays brought from Zuni and grind natural pigments. They will coil-build vessels in the ancient Pueblo tradition, scrape the walls to a desired thickness, and burnish them to a smooth texture. After mixing the paints with traditional binders, they will slip and paint the pottery. Weather permitting, they will then experience the drama of firing the vessels outside in a dome of dried Zuni sheep dung. The fuel is, therefore, also the kiln within which the pottery is fired. Milford’s mother Josephine Nahohai called this “building a house for the fire to dance in.”

Skill Level: All levels
Tuition: $755
Lab Fee: $85 includes clay, various pigments and slips, polishing stones, sheep manure for outdoor firing. You may be asked to bring additional materials.
Materials List: Coming Soon
Enrollment limited to 10 students

Nahohai Family represent a multi-generational tradition of Zuni pottery. Milford Nahohai’s mother Josephine revived work that her mother had done. Milford and his late brother Randy took up the work and made it internationally respected, refining and extending what their parents had done, with great respect and imagination. Jaycee, son of the potters Randy Nahohai and Rowena Him, studied art learned pottery-making from both, and from his uncle Milford and grandmother. Jaycee is quite literally crafting a new generation of design, often inspired by pieces of his dad’s best pottery, but with new shapes, colors, and motifs drawn from 19th-century and earlier pottery of the Pueblo. Jaycee and Milford collaborate on some work, one coiling the vessel and burnishing it, and the other painting the designs. Their work is published in Germany, collected in Japan, France, Australia, and exhibited in American museums. Recently a study of their pottery was published in “Ceramics in America”, the first Native American and longest study carried by the respected journal.

Cahuilla Style Pottery

Tony Soares
June 17-21

Pottery has been made for more than 1,000 years in Southern California. Learn how to collect and mix clay, then create the beautiful ollas used by the Cahuilla people of Southern California to store food and water. On day one of this workshop, take a field trip to clay sites where you will learn how to carefully extract the clay from the deposits. In the afternoon, begin processing the clays for pottery making. For the next two days, you will make pinch pots and coil pots using the paddle and anvil technique, using both the collected clay and other clay samples Tony will provide. Learn to make the natural pigment paints used to decorate the pots, and finally, fire the pots. Tony will discuss a range of topics including how to make and use a simple urban brick and charcoal briquette kiln, paintbrush making, fire-starting by friction, and making palm frond rings (pottery stands).

Skill Level: All levels
Tuition: $745
Lab Fee: $65 includes materials, field trip, use of all tools and shared materials such as screens and metates; you may be asked to purchase and bring additional materials.
Click here for Materials List
Enrollment limited to 10 students

Tony Soares learned the fundamentals of pottery from his grandmother at age 7, starting a more than 30-year journey to revive the fading art of olla making. Though not of Cahuilla descent, he has helped revive the art of Cahuilla pottery making through his experimentation with local clays and indigenous handbuilding techniques. His pottery is displayed in art galleries and museums including the Tahquitz Canyon Museum. Tony shares his knowledge to ensure that Native American pottery making is never lost. He has taught at many venues including the Agua Caliente Band of the Desert Cahuilla of Palm Springs and the Yuman tribes of the Colorado River, AZ.

Hopi-Tewa Pottery

Dorothy Ami
June 24-29
One-week session-includes Saturday a.m. firing

Learn the traditional Hopi method of creating polychrome pottery, including coil building with either Hopi gray or yellow ochre clay, sanding and burnishing with riverbed stones, designing and painting your pots with natural pigments, and firing with sheep dung. Process and prepare raw clay for pottery making and prepare beeweed plant for black paint, as well as other clay pigments for paints that fire to a range of colors from red and yellow, to pink and green.

Your instructor, Dorothy Ami, will provide the natural clays and paints from the Hopi Reservation in Arizona. You will make up to three small pieces of pottery in this careful examination of the delicate process of Hopi pottery making and the cultural foundation from which the art is inspired.

Skill Level: All levels
Tuition: $745
Lab Fee: $55, includes clays, natural paint pigments, and firing materials; you may be asked to purchase and bring additional materials.
Click here for Materials List
Enrollment limited to 15 students

Dorothy Ami (Hopi-Tewa) is from the village of Polacca at First Mesa. She began practicing the art of Hopi-Tewa pottery in 1986 under her cousin and innovator of Hopi pottery, Mark Tahbo. She later went on to win several awards in competitions, including the Museum of Northern Arizona’s Annual Hopi Show, NAU Road Scholar Program, and other private organizations. Dorothy has been featured in many publications, including Talking with Clay in the 21st Century and Hopi Tiles. This will be her second summer at Idyllwild Arts.