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Ceramics Workshops 2014

If you would like to register online for a workshop, just click on the workshop title and the link will bring you into the 
registration 'shopping cart'. You can also register over the phone by calling 973-948-5200.

- Lunches are included in the price of tuition. Visit our 
Lodging and Meals page to learn more about our on-campus options.

- Workshops run from 9:00am to 5:00pm each day and the studio is open most evenings for open studio work if desired.

- A printable version of this studio's offerings is available by clicking here.


Introduction to Throwing on the Potter’s Wheel
Charles Lid
May 17-18

If you have little or no experience in clay, this class will teach you how to advance in the techniques of throwing on the potter’s wheel. Participants will explore making a variety of basic forms from the ground floor up and beyond. Through a nurturing and energized environment you will become comfortable exploring and creating with clay, while gaining insight and control over this wonderful material.
Charles Lid received his BFA with a concentration in ceramics from Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts, NJ. Currently Charles is a part-time studio assistant for Peter Callas, a full-time ceramics teacher at Rutgers Preparatory School, NJ, as well as an adjunct professor at Centenary College. His work has been shown in various galleries and exhibitions nationally.
Tuition: $300
Studio/Materials Fee: $35


Beneath the Surface: Ceramic Science for the Artist
Dr. William Carty
May 24-25

Whether you're a professional ceramicist or a neophyte, this is an opportunity not to be missed! Learn from renowned scientist Dr. Carty who will open your eyes to the underlying chemistry that controls ceramic effects in clay bodies and glazes. In this workshop you will develop tools to predict and control results and will learn about the complexities and challenges of composing the elementary materials that make up clay bodies and glazes, often the biggest hurdle between an artist’s vision and their final result. Starting with a basic premise that most “firing defects” are not caused by firing but rather rooted in the making processes, this lecture will demystify some of the science behind ceramics. We will also discuss glaze chemistry, how that chemistry drives texture, how the body and glaze interact, how glazes melt, and glaze defects (crazing, crawling, shivering, etc., and some ideas on pin holing). Please bring examples of ceramic defects for discussion.
Advanced Beginner and Beyond
William M. Carty is the John F. McMahon Professor and Chair of Ceramic Engineering at Alfred University. He received his BS and MS in Ceramic Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla, and his PhD in Materials Science from the University of Washington. He and his research group have, with the help of many graduate and undergraduate students, conducted research in all aspects of traditional ceramics (clay, bodies, and glazes) primarily in advanced microstructure evolution and materials behaviors. Bill has taken a special interest in the work and challenges facing artists who use ceramics as a primary medium. He has authored or co-authored over 80 papers and is a frequent contributor to NCECA. After seventeen years of teaching ceramic science to artists, he is slowly understanding (and can speak eloquently, but perhaps ad nausea, about) the potential benefits of applying science to solve ceramic art creation problems.
Tuition: $300
Studio/Materials Fee: $45


Slab Constructed Pottery: From Flat to Round
Bill Griffith
May 30-June 3

Working with soft slab construction techniques, participants will explore making a variety of functional forms including cups, pouring pots, vases and one of a kind presentation pots. An emphasis on form, texture and surface pattern will be included. You will discover new ways to create fabulous forms. With time permitting, a cone 6 glaze electric kiln will be fired.
Beginner to Intermediate
Bill Griffith is the program director at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in TN and a working clay artist. His work has been included in international and national juried exhibitions and published in several national publications. Bill is a recipient of an Individual Artists Fellowship awarded by the Tennessee Arts Commission. Select exhibitions of his work include: Strictly Functional Pottery National, PA, Feats of Clay National, CA, The Art of Tennessee at the Frist Center for Visual Arts, TN, NCECA Juried National Exhibition and the La Mesa, Santa Fe Clay Invitational. Bill has been active as a juror for craft festivals and national juried exhibitions. He continues to lecture and demonstrate as a visiting artist nationally and regionally for conferences, universities and art guilds. He has served on the Individual Artists Fellowship Awards jury panels for the Ohio Arts Council, the Kentucky Arts Council, the Arkansas Arts Council and the Windgate Fellowship Awards.
Tuition: $550
Studio/Materials Fee: $55


Construction with Earthenware
Sunshine Cobb
June 6-10

This hands-on workshop will motivate you to experiment with new forms and methods of construction. Geared toward creative expansion, beginners, intermediate and advanced students will use hand building techniques such as coil and pinch methods and soft slab construction to generate a variety of vessel forms (vases, baskets, boxes, false bottom forms, tumblers, plates etc). Collaboration and fun are going to be our goal.
Beginner and Beyond
After a short stint at Chico State University, California, Sunshine Cobb went on to graduate with a BA in Studio Art from California State University at Sacramento, in 2004. She is currently focusing on functional ware, embracing the richness of red clay and currently is exploring the challenge of electric firing. She graduated in 2010 from Utah State University with her MFA in Ceramics. Recently, she has been named as an emerging artist by both Ceramics Monthly and NCECA conference. Sunshine is working as a potter and travels the country as a lecturing and demonstrating artist. She is currently a long term resident at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT. 
Tuition: $550
Studio/Materials Fee: $60


Craft Yourself…Online!
Ennis Carter, Social Impact Studios
June 7-8

Spreading the word today can be challenging. But with so many new forms of media, it’s a great time to represent your work and your journey as a craftsperson online. You just need the skills to make the most of what’s available. In this 2-day workshop, we’ll review theory about online communications; review the ins & outs of online tools; and dive in for hands-on practice (with your laptop or tablet) to fit your individual style and needs. We will cover; best ways to showcase your work online, building or joining artist & gallery websites, how social media can be a tool for working artists, online promotion & advertising, building a global community of people who love your work. Whether you need a basic website or to dive into social media, you’ll have the opportunity to focus on what fits you and your abilities the best. By the end of the workshop, we want you to walk away with the basics in place, knowledge of tools, and the skills to enhance your online presence over time.
Beginner and Beyond

Ennis Carter opened Social Impact Studios in 1996, since then Social Impact Studios has combined artistry & activism to promote important social issues. They believe good causes should get more attention than anything else. And they believe thoughtful, beautiful and meaningful communication is still the best way to engage and motivate. Social Impact Studios is a creative hub where groups and creative activists collaborate, learn and do the work. From concept to creation, they design action plans, visuals, messages and moving grassroots experiences that make a social impact – together. 
Tuition: $300


Pouring Vessels: New Approaches
Jim Lawton
June 13-17

Explore pots that pour & the magical world of fluid dynamics. Redefine your thinking on pitchers, creamers, watering cans, wine ewers & teapots. Using the wheel as a starting point for generating parts, participants will manipulate shapes with intention to contain and dispense liquids. Stretching the clay, seaming & darting it will be covered- all towards the fulfillment of the pour. What makes a decent spout? How does a handle relate on visual & mechanical terms to the tipping point of liquids? We’ll look into how traditional pouring vessel shapes came about & explore how to extend these primary utensils with a personal approach.
Advanced Beginner to Intermediate
Jim Lawton is Professor of Ceramics in the Artisanry Dept. at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He has had residencies at Penland School, Anderson Ranch, and the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, where he serves on the Board of Trustees. His work can be found at the Renwick Gallery/Smithsonian Institution; L.A. County Museum of Art; Victoria and Albert Museum; the Icheon World Ceramic Center; the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, among other public and private collections. Jim was elected a member of the International Academy of Ceramics in 2011. He was the juror and wrote the introduction to 500 Teapots Vo. 2 published by Lark Books in 2013.
Tuition: $550
Studio/Materials Fee: $60


Battle of the Burn
Bruce Dehnert & Steve Cook
June 20-24

Come join in the insanity when we light up the fast-fire wood, soda, raku, pit, and gas reduction kilns. This year's pyromania features two instructors, one from the East Coast and the other from the West, who will help guide participants through learning how to fire all of these kilns. This workshop offers the opportunity to test your own glazes and clay bodies and put your ideas to the test. You bring the bisqueware and we provide the heat. There will be a full range of temperatures and atmospheres explored. And if you're just looking to get out of your studio for a week and have round-the-clock access to our full complement of studio space, equipment, and feedback on your work you can do that, too!
Beginner and Beyond
Bruce Dehnert is the Ceramics Department Head at Peters Valley and has taught at Hunter College, Parsons School of Design, Dunedin School of Art in New Zealand, and the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak on the island of Borneo. He is the author of the book, Simon Leach’s Pottery Handbook, and has work in numerous collections including the Crocker Museum, The White House, and The New Dowse Museum.
Steve Cook earned his BA in Sculpture from Penn State working extensively in clay, casting bronze, and creating installation work with filmic projections. He also studied in Taiwan at Fu Ren University and National Taiwan University. For years he lived in Asia, taught English, hosted a radio language program, edited academic papers, worked as a stuntman, a shuttle-boat operator, and adventure tour operator. The exciting work in the Philippine film industry led him back to the USA, and in 1992 he earned an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in Film and Video with emphasis on experimental documentary installation. His work won awards at film festivals and was screened in the United States, Canada, Germany and Italy. He's been teaching three-dimensional art (ceramics, sculpture, contemporary installation) at Francis Parker School since 1999.

Tuition: $550
Studio/Materials Fee: $95


Layering Lowfire
Ursula Hargens
June 27-July 1

In this workshop, we will use low-fire decorative techniques to create complex and richly layered surfaces. Using tiles and simple pots, we will experiment with low-fire slips, stains, and glazes at each stage of the ceramic process. We will introduce and combine decorative techniques such as inlay, sgraffito, resist, and trailing. We will also discuss finding inspiration and building a decorative repertoire that is personal and meaningful. While Ursula will demonstrate using low-fire materials, the techniques and concepts presented can be used at any temperature.
Beginner and Beyond
Ursula Hargens received an MFA from Alfred University, an MA from Columbia University, and studied ceramics at Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. In addition to working as a studio artist, she regularly teaches at the Northern Clay Center and the University of Minnesota. She has received awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation, including a 2012 McKnight Artist Fellowship.
Tuition: $550
Studio/Materials Fee: $60


Exploring Alternative Hand-built Approaches to Form & Surface
Chris Pickett
July 4-8

Are you looking to expand your vocabulary of form and surface through alternative hand building methods? Whether you are a beginner or have experience in clay this workshop will inspire your to hand build. Participants will design, construct and use molds and low relief stencils to create pots with generous, playful volumes with crisp low relief surface designs, and use glazing techniques that compliment their forms. Chris will share his building techniques that utilize the different stages of clay from soft to leather hard, as well as discuss his philosophies of making and studio practice. Topics to be covered include: the relationship between form and surface, considering function vs. utility and generating interest through contrast.
Beginner and Beyond
Chris received his BFA from the University of Tennessee and his MFA from the University of Florida. He is a studio artist living in Helena, Montana where he is a long term resident at the Archie Bray Foundation. His work has been included in national and international exhibitions. Chris's work has been featured in numerous books and periodicals which include the Lark Books 500 series and Ceramics Monthly. He is represented by Crimson Laurel Gallery, Schaller Gallery, Red Lodge Clay Center and The Archie Bray Foundation's North Gallery.
Tuition: $550
Studio/Materials Fee: $60


How to Get the Most out of Your Wood-fire Opportunities
Dick Lehman
July 11-15

With wood-firing's popularity increasing over the last two decades, many people are interested in joining the fun. However, not everyone who is interested in wood-firing has a wood-fire kiln. If you are invited to participate in a wood firing in someone else's kiln you may have little control over how and where your pieces are loaded, what kind of wood will be used, and perhaps even less about what the firing approach will be. So how can you make the most of your wood-fire opportunities with so little control in your own hands? And even for those who do have their own kilns, there is the continuing question of how to get the most out of one's wood-firing opportunities. In this workshop we will explore ways of developing your own wood-fire vocabulary by maximizing success rates using pot sitters, tripods and blockers; using glazes in short wood-firings and expanding surface complexity with shaken ash, colorants and fluxes.
Beginner and Beyond
Dick Lehman began wood-firing in 1977, not because he had a developed wood-fire aesthetic, but because he was so poor that he could not afford the deposit for a large LP gas tank. He had access to nearly-free wood, so he decided to use it as a fuel. And Dick was more than a little perturbed at that green and brown and gold stuff (natural ash glaze) that "contaminated" his applied glazes. Oh how little he knew! Fast forward 35 years and consider that he now prefered that "green and brown and gold stuff" (not to mention the natural-ash blues, grays, pinks, oranges, violets) on his pots, and has gone to great lengths to get it -- including natural-ash-glaze firings lasting more than two weeks and using up to 10 cords of wood. Still, life brings strange and unexpected occurrences: despite Dick’s wood-fire enthusiasm and expertise (and because of a grouchy gnarly neighbor) he currently has NO wood-fire kiln of his own. Being a guest in others' firings has forced him to re-examine his approach to wood-firing; it has encouraged him to develop methods for maximizing his results when he is not in control of kiln design, fuel choice, firing duration, stacking procedures and locations, and cooling procedures.
Tuition: $550
Studio/Materials Fee: $100


The Many Colors of Shino
Tony Clennell
July 18-20

Shino has the potential of being all the colors of the rainbow from bubble gum pink to copper red, greens, yellows and metallic blue. There is not a color we can't achieve with this wonderful maverick glaze. Bring your own bisque in either high temperature porcelain or stoneware and we will glaze with an assortment of shino glazes, load the gas kiln, and fire. At the unloading, which is sure to be a delight, we will critique the results and discuss cause and effect.
Beginner to Intermediate
Tony Clennell has worked as a self-employed functional potter since 1980. Tony received his MFA in Ceramics from Utah State University and his Bachelor of Education from The University of Western Ontario . In 2009, Tony became a member of the distinguished Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts. Tony has attended residencies internationally in Japan, China, England and Italy. In addition to studio practice and teaching he conducts workshops internationally and has over 55 published articles in various ceramic journals. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Sheridan College School of Craft and Design.
Tuition: $385
Studio/Materials Fee: $55


Exposed Clay: Making Work for the Anagama
Simon Levin
July 25-28
Wood firing has truth. The process can be used to reveal and evoke information. In this workshop we will be playing, experimenting, testing and learning about raw materials in form and function. We will have fine grained clays, and coarse bodies, iron rich clay, and porcelains, we will have aggregates to add and explore. Experience and fearlessness will be an asset in this class. Simon’s hope for this class is to create a circle of knowledge. We will work back from what we know about wood-firing to inform the pieces that we make. A selection of work made in the workshop will be fired in the Peters Valley Anagama.
Intermediate to Advanced
Simon Levin fell in love with the movement of flame through a wood-kiln in 1993. Its sensuous quality is something he seeks to capture in his work with soft forms, sensuous full curves and flame paths etched into the surface. This quest led him to an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. He now owns Mill Creek Pottery in Wisconsin, where he and his apprentices work to advance the cause of wood-fired pottery. He has built kilns for art centers and universities throughout the United States and in Asia. In 2013 Simon spent four months as a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar in Taiwan exploring the potential of local materials.
Tuition: $470
Studio/Materials Fee: $105


Exposed Clay: Firing the Peters Valley Anagama
Simon Levin
July 29-August 5, unloading August 10
This hands-on workshop will begin long before we convene because everyone will create pieces in their own studios or the prior week in the Making Work for the Anagama workshop. Works should be made from high temperature stoneware and or porcelain clay bodies and bisque fired to arrive with bisqueware at PV. The first two days of the workshop will focus on glazing, wadding and loading the ware into the anagama. We will load the kiln with consideration of the form, flame path and wad marks. Everyone will participate and learn by in loading and firing. The firing will be a watchful process of heat movement and flame path, atmosphere and temperature. The kiln will be fired in shifts around the clock until the desired termpature and conditions are reached. The kiln will be unloaded on August 10th. The unloading will provide a plethora of information to be analyzed by noting the surfaces that developed during the firing. A reflection on the success and failures will provide considerations for the next time you touch wet clay.
Intermediate to Advanced
Simon Levin fell in love with the movement of flame through a wood-kiln in 1993. Its sensuous quality is something he seeks to capture in his work with soft forms, sensuous full curves and flame paths etched into the surface. This quest led him to an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. He now owns Mill Creek Pottery in Wisconsin, where he and his apprentices work to advance the cause of wood-fired pottery. He has built kilns for art centers and universities throughout the United States and in Asia. In 2013 Simon spent four months as a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar in Taiwan exploring the potential of local materials.
Tuition: $805
Studio/Materials Fee: $105


Tea Bowls
Jeff Shapiro
August 15-19

What drives our infatuation to make Japanese tea bowls? Is it that the tea bowl is a quintessential Japanese ceramic form? Perhaps. Making a tea bowl is a matter of imbuing the bowl with character, which is a culmination of the clay, the forming process, the trimming, and the firing. The maker must be proficient, but also know how to 'let go'. An often overlooked aspect is the foot of the bowl which Japanese tea connoisseurs and tea masters are especially attentive to. Learn all about tea bowls for tea ceremony and Japanese culture through Jeff's experience. You will learn some of the most intriguing aspects of Japanese tea bowls, and how Jeff applies his unique American 'eye' to flesh out a dynamic style all his own. Shapiro will show, lecture, demonstrate, and relate his Japanese experience. You will learn how to make simple wooden tools that will be used for trimming. He will work alongside the participants in an ongoing discussion. Discourse is encouraged. So come join in this week of workshops at Peters Valley as it celebrates, in the various studios, all those things that make tea happen.
Intermediate to Advanced

Jeff Shapiro exhibits in the US, Japan, and internationally, as well as leading ceramics programs to Japan and Italy. He has led numerous workshops in the US, India, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, Austria and other countries. Shapiro organized a symposium on The Elusive Tea Bowl as well as an exhibition of the same name at Lacoste Gallery in Concord, MA. He just returned from a solo exhibition of work made at the Carlo Zauli studio in Faenza, Italy, and a three person exhibition at Kakiden Gallery in Tokyo with Claude Champy and Tsujimura Shiro. One of the tea bowls from that exhibition was purchased by the well respected tea scholar and writer Hayashiya Seizo.
Tuition: $550
Studio/Materials Fee: $80


Functional Forms, Beautiful Surfaces
Sarah Jaeger
August 22-26

Bringing unity to surface and form is one of the fundamental challenges potters face. The right surface decoration can make a pot sing, and a beautiful surface can give a feeling of extravagance and luxury to a simple pot that we use every day. This workshop will focus on ideas and techniques of glaze decoration, particularly on wheel thrown functional pots. We will begin with demonstrations of various decorating techniques and discussion of ideas about ways to address the surface of ceramic forms. Participants will glaze the bisque pots they have brought with them, and we’ll load a glaze kiln. While the kiln is firing, we’ll work on the wheel – keeping in mind the new information about glazing, in the hope that new forms will evolve in response to new ideas about the surface of the pots.
Sarah Jaeger has been a studio potter in Helena, Montana since she completed her residency at the Archie Bray Foundation in 1987. She received a BA (in English literature) from Harvard and a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute. She received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Montana Arts Council in 1996 and Target Fellowship from United States Artists in 2006. In 2007 she was one of the artists profiled in the PBS documentary "Craft in America". In 2012 Ceramic Arts daily published a DVD showing her techniques and ideas: “Throwing, Altering and Glazing for Function and Beauty with Sarah Jaeger.” She has taught at Pomona College, the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has given workshops in the US and Canada. Her work is in public collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the University of Iowa and, most important, in many kitchens throughout the country.
Tuition: $550
Studio/Materials Fee: $75


Master Plaster: Model Making & Mold Making for Ceramics
Seth Nagelberg
August 30-September 1

This workshop is for anyone looking to add mold making to their repertoire. Emphasis will be placed on exploration and development of form. Students will design objects through drawing, paper cutting and modeling with plaster and clay. Seth will demonstrate model-making techniques including hand carving, sledging with templates, turning plaster models and casting plaster positives with foam board molds. Learn the fundamentals of making single and multi-part molds for slip casting and press molding processes. Molds can do more than just repetition. Learn how make molds do double duty. Become a plaster master!
Beginner and Beyond
Seth Nagelberg is a designer, maker and teacher. He earned his BFA in Ceramics at the University of Hartford and MFA in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Seth began teaching product design at Parsons the New School in 2003. He has combined the skill based needs of craft with the problem solving demands of design into a successful studio practice and teaching method. Developing new forms and experimenting with materials are paramount his designs. Seth founded Nail Mountain Studio to pursue his interests in design, manufacturing and entrepreneurship.
Tuition: $385
Studio/Materials Fee: $80


Finding Form and Surface: Lidded Jars and Pitchers
Michael Connelly
September 6-7

In this two day workshop, Michael Connelly will explore the potential approach towards lidded vessels and vertical pitcher forms. There will be discussions and demonstrations on the building of finials, handles, spouts and lids. All participants will take what they learned from the workshop and apply it towards lidded vessels and vertical pitcher forms.
Intermediate to Advanced
Michael Connelly is a studio potter in Brewerytown, Philadelphia as well as Assistant Professor of Ceramics at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. He received his M.F.A from Alfred University. Connelly has taught and presented lectures and workshops at various venues nationally and internationally, including classes at Alfred University, Haystack School for Crafts, Alberta College of Art and Design, Archie Bray Foundation and Penland School of Crafts. His utilitarian pottery is in the permanent collections of the China Yaoware Museum, the Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art, Asheville Art Museum and Long Beach Museum of Art.
Tuition: $300
Studio/Materials Fee: $35


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Special Needs: Peters Valley is committed to being accessible to all of our students. However, the terrain at the Valley is natural and some of the historic buildings are only partially accessible. Paths and driveways are not paved. If you need special assistance, please indicate your needs with your workshop application. At least two weeks notice must be given when requesting special assistance so that we have time to accommodate your needs.