To enhance the students’ learning experience, and to provide instructors with regular professional development, Clayworks hosts workshops led by reputable ceramists, often with national or international acclaim, these workshops enable students and instructors to consider new methods and ideas. Working alongside a practicing artist offers both students and instructors a broader perspective on the vast skills and aesthetic viewpoints in the ceramics field. Unlike many other visual arts fields, ceramics is often touted as a community of idea and skill sharing. Ceramic artists are known for their generosity in sharing techniques, tools, and even glaze recipes. This openness can enrich both the novice and expert ceramist’s experience in a workshop environment. Workshops at Clayworks are open to the public and are designed to nurture an interest in the ceramics arts at all levels of experience.


Past Workshops


Handbuilding with Color and Texture

with Lana Wilson, May 2017

Lana Wilson has given over 100 workshops on handbuilding including sessions at Arrowmont, Penland, Mendocino Art Center, MISSA and Peters Valley. She has also taught in Canada, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and has written a regular column for Clay Times magazine since 1996. Her work has been in over 185 shows and appears in fourteen books including both volumes of The Best of Pottery and Kathy Triplett’s Handbuilt Ceramics and several of Robin Hopper’s books. She is the author of Ceramics: Shape and Surface, which includes extensive cone 6 and cone 04 electric glazes she has developed and was a featured demonstrator at 2003 NCECA. Currently she serves on the board of Penland School of Craft. She has appeared twice on Discovery Channel to extol the delights of working in clay while making a teapot.



10th Anniversary Symposium

May 2016

Clayworks celebrated its tenth birthday with a weekend symposium featuring guest speaker Dr. Perry, the former curator for decorative arts at The Mint Museum, and demonstrations from and discussions with the artists below.


Investigating Surface with Majolica

with Linda Arbuckle, April 2016

In this hands-on workshop Linda Arbuckle will demonstrate majolica glazing, decorating methods, and brushwork. While talking about various technical issues for low fire and majolica, she will discuss development of personal work, formal strategies for surface design, development of color, and other lively topics of ceramic interest. Linda will include a lecture presentation on historic and contemporary majolica, looking at decorated pottery and the development of her own work.

Participants will need to bring terracotta bisque pieces. Clayworks will supply glaze and decorating colors. Through sketchbook exercises, participants will explore options for personal surface organization and use of color.

Linda Arbuckle trained in arts and ceramics at Cleveland Institute of Art and Rhode Island School of Design, receiving a BFA and MFA in Ceramics. A professor in Ceramics at the University of Florida School of Art + Art History, she is active in the field exhibiting her work, connecting with other clay artists, and presenting workshops. To learn more about Linda Arbuckle: http:/


Cone 6 Glaze Discussion

with John Britt, January 2016

This workshop will be a general overview of ceramic glazes, focusing on but not limited to cone 6 glazes. It is designed for beginner to intermediate potters. We will discuss cones, kilns, firing dynamics and principles as well as applying those principles to various firing cycles. This will lead us into some basic classifications of glazes, like ash, celadon, temmoku, etc. We will discuss how and why each type of glaze works and how you can achieve them, how to adjust your glazes and how to find new ones. We will discuss glazes from my new book: “The Complete Guide to Mid-Range Glazes: Glazing and Firing at cone 4 – 7”, but will go into more detail than the book allowed.

To learn more about John visit


Printmaking and Clay

with Susan Feagin, January 2015

Susan Feagin we will explore printmaking techniques on clay in this hands-on workshop. Participants will experiment with screen printing directly onto clay and onto newsprint for transferring onto clay, making clay monoprints, creating sgraffito imagery, and carving imagery in clay. Participants can make our own screens and templates for printing. Participants may create their own vessels or tiles inspired by these processes.

Susan’s Artist Statement: “Ceramics, like a handwritten note or a worn book page, can evoke memories and timelessness. The vessels I create are scrap paper collages created from suspended fragments of time represented by pieces of letters, hand-pulled prints, newspaper cut-outs, and journal pages. These vessels reflect the intimacy and the comfort of my handmade journal and sketchbook. Stoneware slabs are draped and collaged together over molds. I try to work quickly. The forms are simple so as to contrast the busy surface and also to suggest immediacy. It appears as if the paper scraps have come to life and lifted themselves into an inviting shape, calling us in for a closer look.”



with Leah Leitson, November 2014

This one day workshop will deal with some of the ways to manipulate both the form and the surface of freshly thrown pots. Techniques and ideas of altered parts will be directed toward the making of functional pots. A slide presentation will also be included and the atmosphere will be one of adventure, playfulness and creativity.

About Leah: Leah Leitson teaches ceramics full time at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC.  She received her M.F.A. in ceramics from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1996, and her undergraduate B.F.A. in ceramics from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred, New York, in 1984. Leah completed residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT. and Banff Center for the Arts in Alberta, CN.  She is a member of the Piedmont Craftsmen, Inc. and the Southern Highland Craft Guild.  Leah has led many workshops through out the U.S., including Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC, Arrowmont School of Crafts, Gatlinberg, TN, and has taught workshops in Italy and Israel.

Leah works exclusively in porcelain. Her work is predominantly inspired by the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century decorative arts, particularly utilitarian table wares and Sevres porcelain as well as being inspired by plant forms in nature. Her work has been featured in many exhibitions Nationally and Internationally. Her work can be seen in arrange of publications of books and magazines. She is also represented in ceramic books and her work is found in Museums and private collections.


Akira Satake

January 2014

Akira Satake is leading a two-day hands-on workshop that will focus on slab construction techniques and Kohiki slip decorating for creating functional pottery forms. Participants will learn to work with both soft and hard slabs, exploring a variety of processes and techniques to create teapots, tea cups, pitchers, vases, boxes and other functional pottery. Participants will learn techniques to create rich surfaces evoking the signs left by the forces of nature on the world we experience.

About Akira: “For me, the act of creation is a collaboration between myself, the clay and the fire. Collaboration means finding what the clay wants to be and bringing out its beauty in the way that the beauty of our surroundings is created through natural forces. Undulations in sand that has been moved by the wind, rock formations caused by landslides, the crackle and patina in the wall of an old house, all these owe their special beauty to the random hand of Nature. The fire is the ultimate random part of the collaborative equation. I hope the fire will be my ally, but I know it will always transform the clay in ways I cannot anticipate.”

Akira Satake was born in Osaka, Japan and has been living in the U.S. since 1983. In 2003 he relocated from Brooklyn, New York to Swannanoa, North Carolina, where he has a wood-fired kiln and a gas kiln. In 2013 he opened Akira Satake Ceramics/Gallery Mugen as his working studio and exhibition space in the River Arts District in Asheville, NC.

Akira is also an internationally acclaimed musician whose CD “Cooler Heads Prevail” was awarded the prestigious German Music Critics Award for Best World Music Recording. He will close the workshop with a brief mini-concert performed on shamisen and banjo.


Alex Matisse

November 2013

In this one day demonstration workshop, Alex Matisse will demonstrate several wheel thrown pots from small to large scale forms.  Particular emphasis will be made on form and surface as he demonstrates his techniques of throwing and slip trailing. A slide presentation of his work and process will also be presented during the workshop.

About Alex Matisse: I grew up in a converted white clapboard church in the center of a small New England town to a family of artists and anthropologists.   One side nurtured artistic creation, while the other explored, among other things, the function of art in society.  My interest in clay is an intersection of these two sides, art and its function, both holy and humble.

For three years, I apprenticed in the workshops of North Carolina potters Matt Jones and Mark Hewitt.  Their work combines traditions, from the Anglo-Oriental school of Leach, Hamada, and Cardew to the folk pottery of the south-eastern United States and many places between.   In their workshops I learned to love these simple pots; adorned or bare, quiet and strong, they make their place comfortably at the table or hearth and speak to the thousands of years of pots before them.

My work is made in a fusion of preindustrial country traditions in both process and material. It is fired in a large wood burning kiln and made of as many local materials as the chemistry will allow, while still affording me the physical attributes necessary for my aesthetic decisions. I believe in the beautiful object; that there are inescapable aesthetic truths, physical attributes, that remove time and place from the defining characteristics of the made object.  These objects can be viewed today or many years from now and be understood as beautiful.

Though their quotidian value may become antiquated, their aesthetics will save them.  I believe in making pots that carry this truth while, as Henry Glassie told me in passing one day, holding one hand to the past with the other outstretched to the future.


"Scratching the Surface"

with Ronan Kyle Peterson, April 2013

This demonstration workshop will focus on techniques to enliven the surface of your ceramic vessels through slipping, sgraffito, champleve, inlay, slip trailing, terra sigillata, resist patterning, glaze layering, and utilizing atmospheric effects in electric kilns. Functional and sculptural ceramicists alike will benefit from demonstrations and discussions intent on activating the ceramic surface. Workshop attendees will also receive a packet of slip, terra sigallatta, and glaze recipes for use in their home studios.


Ben Owen III

February 2013

Ben Owen III visits Clayworks to conduct a workshop that will focus on working on the potters wheel.  Many different forms and styles will be demonstrated that have been a foundation of Ben’s family Pottery and his studies while in college and abroad.  Some forms will be made in multiple pieces and assembled during the workshop. Attention to detail and the finishing of work will be discussed and the various ways of glazing and firing techniques.  A presentation and video will be shown to describe some of his ways of processing pottery.  Marketing and other aspects of representing ones work will be discussed.  An open discussion will be encouraged during this special weekend.

Ben Owen III (b. 1968) has made pottery since he was 8 years old at the site where his grandfather and father established the Old Plank Road Pottery in the Seagrove area of Piedmont North Carolina in 1959. Ben III worked at the potter’s wheel during high school and in the early 1990’s while in college. He produced work in the shapes, glazes and traditions of his grandfather. As he grew older and more experienced, he traveled in the US attending workshops and conferences. He also traveled abroad, to Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and recently to China where he diversified his experience while taking advantage of an exchange program and visiting local artists.

Over the years, Ben has made work for Bob Hope, Perry Como, Elizabeth Taylor, Ronald Reagan, and recently has made a special gift for musical artist James Taylor as a lifetime achievement award on behalf of the University of North Carolina. Ben has been the recipient of many awards and honors, including NC Living Treasure in 2004 and being featured in the 2005 N.C. Museum of Art show “The Potters Eye”.

Many of Ben’s one-of-a-kind works have recently been installed by interior designers in a series of hotels and corporate settings that includes the Umstead Hotel in Cary, NC, the Ritz Carlton in Tokyo, Japan, recently in the Ritz Carlton in Charlotte, NC and Quintiles Corporation.  Other installations have been for private residences as well.  Much of Ben’s work is now involved in custom projects.


“Crazy Ornate Pots”

with Jenny Lou Sherburne, November 2012

 In this one day workshop, Jenny Lou Sherburne will demonstrate several wheel thrown and altered functional pots. Particular emphasis will be made on form and surface as Jenny Lou demonstrates her techniques of throwing, pinching, altering, stacking and handbuilding. She will do lots of carving, stippling and decorating. Jenny Lou will show how the attention to details can create a fully resolved form and bring a form to life.

Jenny Lou Sherburne has been a Studio Potter for over twenty-five years and has operated studios in Chicago, Florida and North Carolina. She served as an apprentice at Berea College’s unique Ceramic Apprenticeship Program and later earned a Master of Fine Arts at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge under the tutelage of Joe Bova and Linda Arbuckle. She has taught classes at Penland School of Crafts and is currently a member of Potter’s of the Roan.


"The Spirit of Porcelain"

with Emily Reason, May 2012

In this one day workshop, Emily Reason shares the techniques and principles she applies to her porcelain pots.  As Emily demonstrates throwing and trimming, she’ll discuss the unique working-characteristics of porcelain.  As potters, our initial objective is to create forms that are conducive to function.  Emily believes that when surface details are given thoughtful consideration of the form and pots are crafted with care, artistic voices are exposed. Emily will explain how she makes decisions about form and surface in her work while demonstrating carving and brush working. As a group we’ll discuss our motivation for making pottery, from inspiration to making a living as a potter.  A slide presentation of Emily’s work, influences and recent travel experience in China will also be given.

Emily Reason works as a full time potter in Marshall, NC.  She works primarily in high fire porcelain.  Emily exhibits her work internationally, teaches workshops around the country and is the author Ceramics for Beginners: Wheel Throwing, Lark Books, 2010.


“Cut, Copy and Paste”

with Jason Burnett, January 2012

What happens when you introduce digital and print process within your ceramic work? Technology can enhance your creativity and introduce new ideas to your own style of making. Jason will demonstrate how to screen print using slips, use Photoshop to alter images and drawings, and ways to create stencils for image transfer. Participants will get their hands dirty with this hands-on workshop and will learn new techniques including decal applications. Participants will leave the workshop with new ideas and inspiration!

Jason Burnett earned a BFA in ceramics and BA’s in both printmaking and graphic design at Western Kentucky University in 2009. Since then Jason has exhibited regionally, nationally, and internationally. His work has been published in numerous periodicals as well as Lark Books “500 Ceramic Sculptures.” Jason recently finished a two year fellowship at Penland School of Crafts and currently lives and works in Fletcher, North Carolina. To see more of Jason’s work check out his website at