Whistle Stop Clay Works Return to Whisle Stop Clay Works home page.
Glazed clay tile.

Adult Clay Classes

Our six- and four-week adult sessions offer a relaxing and supportive environment in which to learn and work on the techniques you need to realize your creative vision in clay. Because of our small class sizes — 6 to 8 students for wheel throwing and 6 to 12 students for our other classes — there is plenty of individual attention and opportunities for discussion and sharing among students.

If you are a beginner, you'll be amazed at how quickly you start producing functional works of art. We begin by teaching basic techniques and working with fundamental forms that can be expanded upon for more advanced clay work. We also cover a variety of surface options and an introduction to glazes and the glazing process. All courses have a lesson plan, but if you would like to learn or work on something specific, please speak to the instructor before class starts. We try to accommodate requests whenever possible.

If you are more experienced, the multi-week session is a good bargain. It is the perfect opportunity to refresh and improve skills, learn new techniques, have full use of studio glazes and firings and gain unlimited access to the studio during open studio hours.

With each six- or four-week class enrollment, students can take advantage of at least 20 hours of open studio time per week to work independently on honing skills or finishing projects. Open studio also provides a great opportunity to learn from other students and artists sharing the space.

Adult courses are open to anyone age 16 and older. The session price of $235 for six weeks or $180 for four weeks includes:

  • One 2 1/2-hour, instructor-led class per week.
  • Unlimited time during published open studio hours to practice and continue working projects.
  • Glazes, 25 lbs of clay, studio tools and firings.
  • Basic tool kits for all new students in beginning classes.
  • Extra clay and tools are available for purchase.

Read the Class Descriptions below, and then check our Calendar for upcoming class offerings. You can register for class online, in person or by mail. If paying online, please call 683-2529 before registering to insure there is a spot available in the class you want.

Adult Class Descriptions

We tailor each session to the schedules and artistic interests of participants, so class times and topics vary with each session. Intermediate and advanced techniques are addressed and covered when experience is sufficient.

Please bring an apron or old towel and wear comfortable clothes that you don't mind getting dirty. Working with clay can get messy. The clay comes out of a fabric without much effort, but some glazes and other materials aren't so forgiving.

It may seem like a small detail, but we also recommend that you remove all rings and bracelets and clip your fingernails as short as possible to avoid multiple problems while throwing clay. Fingernails are all too likely to poke, gouge, rip and scratch wet clay.

CERAMIC SAMPLER — Open to all skill levels.

This is good session for anyone who is new to clay or looking for unique projects using a variety of clay building and sculpting techniques. We'll work with a wide variety of hand-building methods that vary each session, i.e. slabs, coils, pinched, extruded and hollowed-out forms. We'll also spend time working on the pottery wheel. Various surfacing techniques are covered to put the finishing touches on your creations.

HANDBUILDING BASICS & BEYOND— Open to all skill levels.

If you're interested in functional or sculptural forms, this is a great class to find your voice in clay. For beginners, we start with the basic construction methods and explore the limitless possibilities of the material. For those with experience, we'll brush up on those skills, learn new techniques and create strong forms that are built to last. Projects are based more on construction methods, therefore are open to interpretation and personal interest.

WHEEL THROWING BASICS & BEYOND — Open to all skill levels.

If you've never worked on a pottery wheel, you should know that this class requires patience, an open mind and, of course, a sense of humor when things go awry! We start with the basics and work on the technical skills and control you need to form your own creations on the wheel. Explore designing and making your own plates, bowls, vases, mugs, bottles and baking dishes from clay. For those who have wheel experience, we focus on honing skills and exploring new techniques and more complex forms, including two-part vessels, lidded forms and larger pieces.

Handbuilding a free-form object from clay. Throwing clay on a pottery wheel.

Handbuilt clay elephantGlazing pottery in an adult clay class.Trimming a clay vessel on the pottery wheel.
Handmade clay tile