Hands, Heart, Head!
Workshop Descriptions

You must be registered for the CLAY conference
to attend any workshop listed below.
Most workshops are FREE with your registration, but "sold" on a first-come, first-served basis; others are ticketed for $15-$25

Design your schedule and your Clay Conference experience, then register here.

The Workshops and presentations below were sold out within one month of open registration! We will have a signup at the conference for observation space and possibly additional seating. Meanwhile, some presentations we KNOW we can take a few more people, so check them out below!

Friday Morning

Steve Loucks – An Easy Way to Adjust Glazes - FREE
Friday, February 16, 10:00-11:00 
(As of January 1, 2018, there are more spaces available)
Steve defines what is a glaze and the important glaze application factors and then outlines his simple, kitchen method approach to glaze testing that is from a potter’s perspective for testing, developing, and adjusting glazes. His method does not require any computer software programs or complex mathematical calculations. The testing method utilizes his special tile design that clearly reveals how much and to what extent a particular ingredient influences the glaze to produce the particular effect or quality being tested.

Larry Allen - Getting the "Graph" in Sgraffito - FREE
Friday, February 16, 11:00-12:00
Larry will produce a small thrown piece for each participant to learn about and practice sgraffito techniques. A master carver, Larry will show you around (and around) your piece to create a design that leads the eye through contrasting surfaces of colored slip and the clay body itself.  If you are planning to take this workshop you could create your own piece(s) to bring with you. Keep it wrapped so it stays leather hard in your travels!


Friday Afternoon

Didem Mert - Slab 'n Pinched Cup - FREE
Friday, February 16, 2-3 PM

Join Didem Mert to learn how to create a handbuilt functional cup using soft-slab and pinch techniques.  Didem will teach participants a handful of tricks to make pinched work without the typical hand strain that can often occur when using these techniques.  At the end of the session you'll receive a "how to" instructional packet which will include her terra sigillata recipes and application methods.   *Each participant will make a cup, , but participants will not be able to decorate with terra sigillatas, as the work needs to be bone dry in order to apply terra sigillata.

Tara Sartorius – A Public Porcelain Tile Mural at the Riverfront - FREE
Friday, February 16, 3-4 PM

(As of January 1, 2018, there are more spaces available)
Thinking of installing tiles outdoors? Follow the creation of a large-scale (13’h x 21’w) public tile installation. The mural image floats on a substrate of hand pressed porcelain tiles embossed with architectural images of important landmarks in Montgomery. After a quick-paced slide talk leading through concept, negotiations, photography, mold making, image transfer, underglaze painting, and firing (with trials and tribulations thrown in for comic relief) we will walk to the Riverfront to see the piece in person. It is right nearby!


Saturday Morning

Chandra DeBuse - Divide and Conquer: the Divided Dish - FREE
Saturday, February 17, 10:00 AM-11:00 PM
In this hands-on handbuilding workshop, participants will make their own divided dish (example: egg tray, condiment dish) using soft clay slabs, wooden or bisque shapes, craft foam, and furniture foam. Chandra will discuss variations in which participants can design a variety of dishes using the methods covered in the workshop. In a short image presentation, we will explore historical and contemporary egg trays and divided dishes.

Kristin C. Law & Joey Brackner – Face Jugs of Alabama - FREE
Saturday, February 17, 10:30-11:30 AM
Discover the artistic and cultural history of Alabama’s face jugs, then learn how to hand build your own small, personally symbolic piece. Joey Brackner will provide extensive visuals and share some historical works from his personal collection. Kristin Law will lead participants in hand building, developing symbolism to tell a visual story, techniques for sculpting facial features and symbolic additions, and conclude with a discussion of various finishing techniques. Participants will gain insight in conveying the “spirit” of who their face jug represents and what their jug might contain. (Alabama History, Social Studies, Visual Art, English Language Arts, Alabama Bicentennial Related)

Stacy Morgan - Slip Trailing for Surface Decoration - FREE
Saturday, February 17, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM
Could your work benefit from a little textural enhancement and added dimension? Stacy Morgan will share her method of slip trailed surface decoration, including the how-to of making basic slip trailing smooth, easy and effortless. You'll learn about fool proof slip preparation, crack-free flow adjustment, application methods and finishing. 


Saturday Afternoon

C. A. “Cat” Traen – Clay as Cultural Community Connector - FREE
Saturday, February 17, 1:30-2:30 PM
Hear it from a winner! Cat Traen is the 2017 winner of the Making A Difference in Ceramics Award from the International Ceramic Artists Network (ICAN) for her work in positively impacting people and her community through ceramic arts. She will connect ideas of working with her local community to building a global community, all through the love of clay. She will highlight her recent experiences in travel to India, and will provide guidance on how to empower your teaching through domestic and international educational travel opportunities

Akira Satake - Finding Beauty in Imperfection - FREE
Saturday, February 17, 2:00-3:00 PM

Akira Satake will lead a workshop involving both handbuilding and throwing techniques he uses in the making of his tea ceremony bowls, tea pots, water jars, ikebana vases, and sculptural objects. Participants will learn to create rich surfaces inspired by the natural world. Some techniques that will be demonstrated are: 1) Applying a coating of clay mixed with sand onto the surface of wheel thrown pieces and then altering them, 2) mixing air and other materials into the clay body and then tearing off the clay or cutting with a wire to create the shapes, 3)brushing kohiki slip on clay slabs and stretching the slabs to crack and distort the surfaces. He will share his experience and knowledge in a discussion of the Japanese aesthetic. Participants will gain insight in finding the beauty in imperfection, the meaning of "wabi-sabi," and the importance of "Ma"- the space in between.

Meredith Knight - Brick Carving and Community Engagement - FREE
Saturday, February 17, 3:00-4:00 PM
(As of January 1, 2018, there are more spaces available
The Alabama Clay Conference has been so fortunate to receive a donation of 500 greenware bricks from the Acme Brick Company. Clay Conference Steering Committee member and artist Meredith Knight will inspire and connect you with several subtractive carving methods. You will receive two bricks of your own, as well as some to leave with us for placement in a public wall to be installed at Montgomery's Riverfront Park. Take the bricks and ideas back with you and see how you might apply such a project in your own community, whether a school or shared installation in your town. Drying and firing suggestions will be included. If you sign up for this workshop, bring some heavy duty metal tools; old, round-ended table knives work great, but bring anything else you believe might work. It'll be bricktastic!

Creating Your Career

Saturday, February 17, 5:00-7:00 PM and Sunday, February 18, 9 AM to 12:30 PM

The Alabama Craft Council, in order to help artists increase their professionalism, is sponsoring Creating Your Career, hosted by Craft Council president, Curtis Benzle.


Creating Your Career sessions begin on Saturday with one evening session, and continue Sunday with your choice of two sessions from four different presenters.

Creating Your Career sessions transcend the standard view of professional practices and focus on an intensely practical methodology to help all artists leverage their creative intelligence to earn a living and build successful careers.  

Curtis Benzle - All Artists Making A Living
Saturday, February 17, 5:00 PM-7:00 PM

This presentation is a practical examination of the essential attributes of “creative intelligence” and how that mindset can develop new income streams, opportunities and financial success.

Sunday, February 18,  9-10:30 AM and 11 AM-12:00 PM
Choose TWO Workshops from these FOUR: 

Photography for Studio Artists: John Phillips 
Sunday, February 18, 9:00 – 10:30 AM or 11:00 AM- 12:30 PM
John’s approach to photography is based on a very realistic perspective from the studio artist’s point of view.  Basically: how to take great photos without expensive equipment and years of experience.

Marketing and the Media: Brooks Barrow
Sunday, February 18, 9:00 – 10:30 AM or 11:00 AM- 12:30 PM

Brooks will present “Marketing and Media” from his unique and successful perspective that has resulted in Brooks being featured in the Alabama Tourism Dept. Visitor Guide, American Craft magazine, Lakeshore Magazine and creating work for the Calvin Klein Home Collection.

Social Media: Stacy Morgan
Sunday, February 18, 9:00 – 10:30 AM or 11:00 AM- 12:30 PM
Stacy is one of the powers behind the social media connections of the Alabama Clay Conference. With a background as a marketing manager, Stacy understands potentials and limitations of social media, and will guide us through methods that lead to success.

Pricing - a Practical Approach: Curtis Benzle
Sunday, February 18, 9:00 – 10:30 AM or 11:00 AM- 12:30 PM
Curtis will outline a comprehensive approach to Pricing that is simple to understand, requires little math and is guaranteed to provide all artists with a pricing guide that will result in profit.

Sunday Workshops - $15 each

Dr. Christopher Greenman - Throwing Off the Hump - $15
Sunday, February 18, 9-10:30 AM
at Armory Learning Arts Center, 1018 Madison Ave. 36104

Dr. Christopher Greenman, Professor of Art at Alabama State University, will demonstrate the process of throwing teabowls off the hump with improvisation and depth, adding textures and slips. Bring your own clay (10-12 lbs.), a ware board and some plastic. Give it a try and take your new pieces home to be fired. 


Margaret Barber - Textures and Custom Plaster Stamps - $15
Sunday, February 18, 11 AM-12:30 PM

Join Margaret Barber to learn how to cast your own plaster stamps with detailed success. This workshop will provide you with tried and true plaster-mixing and casting experience. You will leave with at least two more tools to deploy in your studio.