2020 Workshops

February 3 - 7 
Michael Terra
The Expressive Human Face

In this workshop, we will explore the emotional content of our sculptures rather than the specific form. We will start with cartooning (really!) and move quickly into three dimensions focusing completely on the full range of human expressions and the emotions they imply.  The most subtle and compelling marks can communicate a remarkable range of human emotions


You will leave with dozens of small sculpted faces, small busts and a workbook with all  the information in an organized form for your ongoing studio practice!

March 9 - 13 
Kukuli Velarde
Your Inner Animal

Using shapes and forms inspired in ceramic art pieces of the ancient Moche and Nazca cultures, we will coil build an animal form or a basic human shape, in which we recognize ourselves. The intention is not to try to replicate a pre-columbian vessel, but to be inspired by its aesthetics while keeping our personal and cultural sense of beauty throughout the experience. We will decorate the piece with our own personal imagery using underglazes, writing or applying personal patterns with brushes or needles.  We will learn various post-firing techniques which include the use of wax, polyurethane, casein paint and graphite. 

Some experience with hand building is suggested.

April 6 - 11 
Caroline Douglas
Sculpting Dreams

Students will find inspiration through creativity exercises, uncovering their own personal symbols and images, particularly those coming from our dreams.  We will sculpt both animals and figures, focusing on anatomy.  Since this is Semana Santa week, we will take Friday off so students can see the beautiful procession downtown.  Since Caroline healed herself from a severe head injury in 2000 while making whimsical and dream-based ceramic sculptures, she will share how we can all experience healing through creativity. 

May 4 - 8 

Natasha Dikareva

Fantastical Creatures



Learn to develop personal iconography, symbols and forms that are significant and meaningful as you build imaginative and otherworldly creatures. Every day will begin with a demonstration, showing different hand-building techniques,.  We will approach the ceramic surface as a canvas - slips, underglazes and the sgraffito technique will create vibrant, dynamic surfaces of visual storytelling.  Mexican imagery, both ancient and modern, will be a major focus of investigation.  All levels of clay experience welcome.

July 6 - 10  
Kelsey Duncan
The Narrative Bust

This workshop will demonstrate how to make a narrative portrait bust using coil and pinch techniques.  We will start with a simple hollow vessel which will evolve into a dynamic, emotive human form.   Kelsey will teach his finishing techniques using slips, underglazes washes and glazes to achieve depth in a realistic skin surface, hand painted and screen print transfers to create elaborate patterns and imagery and how to use glazes and lusters to create fabric like surfaces for clothing detail.

This workshop is recommended for artists with some experience sculpting with clay.

August 3 - 7
Esther Shimazu
Who’s Not A Good Boy?

 Students will be constructing detailed mostly hollow dogs from toenails to teeth using multiple part joinery in this hands-on workshop.  There will be more emphasis on expression than accuracy with room for experimentation and a little unpredictability.   We will be jumping right in, so it will help to have had some experience in handbuilding.  Checking out some dogs beforehand will also be helpful. They will probably like it.

October 5 -16

Michele Collier

Spontaneous Clay


This two-week workshop will explore working with paper clay, a medium which allows spontaneity.  We will learn the basic skills of using paper clay through sculpting faces as masks from oval slabs, sculpting  hands and making each of these expressive.  During the workshop, we will make a figurative wall sculpture, a seated pose and a torso.  We will learn to use our own bodies for measurements so we can work without a model.   We will learn to use a pastry cone full of slip to fill holes, cracks and other unwanted openings created by our spontaneous approach.  Finally, we will learn various surface treatments and firing protocols.  There will be many handouts and recipes for you to take home to continue working with paper clay. 

October 26 - 30

Deborah Bridges



During this 5-day, hands-on intensive, Deborah will offer students a practical approach to composing and sculpting a  one third life-size figure. Participants will learn how to animate the figure by manipulating and altering hollow forms.  We will focus on the power of expression in the face and hands and create a 1/3 life-size seated figure.

If you stay until November 3 or 4, you will experience the magic of Day of the Dead celebrations in San Miguel.

November 9 - 13
Cheryl Tall
Mythical Women

We will sculpt our personal mythical woman.  She can relate to our own experiences or can be based on legendary women, goddesses or heroines.  Bring with you an idea of a mythical woman.  Also consider five attributes to portray in the sculpture.  What is your character's favorite animal, symbol, color, flower, significant event, country?  Her clothing, food, historical period and its architecture?

The workshop will present coil building large sculptures in fitted sections, a helpful technique for small kilns.  We will also discuss once-firing and have several press molded test pieces to be finished for once-firing during the week.