Clay Camp

Where have I been? Clay Camp! Every summer I teach an intensive ceramics class at my work studio. ( As opposed to my home studio) Its great fun, a lot of work, and a bit tiring. I just startled mysefl awake in a chair, iPad in my lap. When did I fall asleep? Whatever… 

The numbers: 

2 sessions. 10 days each. 1.5 hours a day in class. 2 classes a day. 

ages 6-9 – sculpting and hand building/ sculptural and functional work.

ages 10-17 – same as above with wheel throwing in the mix and taking priority. 

The saving grace – I have 2 ( yes – 2!!!) fab student teacher’s aides! Sweet! And I can pay them in clay… 

So I thought I would show you exactly what we have been up to… 

Jo's LOTR tile

The first teen project was a relief tile – inspired by reading, and loosely book shaped. Here is Jo – during the laborious painting process. This took at least 2 hours, painting the details in underglaze. The finished tile is outstanding and full of symbolic images in every space. It looks better in person! (Can you find Orthanc? Boromir’s horn? A swan ship? The Eye? )


Center the clay, open the clay, raise or pull the clay… repeat. Get dirty. Enjoy!

dipped and drying

Wheel thrown pieces by the teen age group. Dipped in the high fire ^10 glazes! Awaiting kiln loading!

dry. Fire. dip.

Dry. Fire. Glaze. Dip. The hardest challenge of clay camp is drying. The humid weather forces me to break a few rules, and dry pots fast, on a hot kiln. Generallly this is a no-no. But the first week we are sculpting and throwing – I have to get things fired so we can glaze them! 


New work from this week in Session 2. The book project tiles –  expanded a bit to include the favorites Dr. Who and Star Trek. A coffee monster pinch pot. (How did you know it was me? ) And 2 sleeping creatures – an elephant tucked in with radio at his head, and my sample – a bunny reading a book, that I hope to finish tomorrow!

Trim, carve, sketch

This is Emma, my teacher’s aide,  trimming pots for the teens. In the time we have – I choose not to teach trimming right away. We clean up the pots on the wheel, and by hand a bit as needed. Some I trim, and now Emma volunteers. It IS rather Zen… So while Emma trims – her mom, artist Sarah Dressler, carves intricate designs into Emma’s thrown porcelain pieces. Sweet deal! And a great way to pass the time as Sarah isnt teaching this session… 

So – in a week or so I will be fully immersed in bead and pendant making – getting ready for Beadfest in Philadelphia. But for know I am playing with clay, loading kilns and just having a good time. See you soon!




One thought on “Clay Camp

  1. Beti Horvath says:

    Looking for a bead hoarders post, I was pulled into this one. Maybe I need to take some clay classes….I want to go to camp!! Looks like a wonderful experience for the kids, and you!


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