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.


Richard Burkett: Free Your Fear of Formulation: An Introduction to Hyperglaze- $15

2:30pm-4pm, Hammond Hall Design Lab

This short workshop will address glaze making and how to make or modify your own. Learn to use HyperGlaze software and to start understanding what makes glazes work.  A free copy of HyperGlaze will be provided to this workshop’s participants, along with presentations to read after the workshop. 


Margaret Burnham: Ceramics Conservation- FREE

9:00am-10:30am, Leone Cole Auditorium

Margaret will discuss the history of ceramic conservation, where to get trained, and before and after treatment image. This is purely PowerPoint presentation, with samples that I have made and plenty of time for questions. I am occasionally asked what potter to send broken ceramics to, and I suspect that potters get the same queries!  I do not re-fire ceramics, and all of the repairs are non-invasive and reversible.

Maria Spies: Throw, Alter, and Texture- FREE


9:00am-10:30am JSU Ceramics Studio rm 103
(20) Participants
Maria enjoys throwing, then altering forms to achieve a variety of effects. In her mini presentation she will throw several forms. She will then demonstrate how and when to alter, texture and assemble each piece. Participants will be given a leather hard piece to alter along with Maria. Handouts will be provided. Participants should bring a sure-form rasp and a chop stick. Strong work is built on simple techniques performed in timely steps.

Diana Faris: Glazing & Layering Success, with AMACO’s Mid-Range Glazes

9:00am-10:30am JSU Design Studio, Carlisle Fine Arts Facility

(20) Participants

Diana Faris (MFA Ceramics) will share tips and images regarding application, mixing and layering of cone 5-6 brushing glazes. AMACO Celadon, Potters Choice and Shino oxidation glazes provide limitless possibilities to achieve your own surfaces without experimenting with dry materials and chemicals.  Application and firing variables will be reviewed and reference materials provided.

Zach Sierke: Exlporing Wild Clay and Local Materials- FREE

10:45am-12:15pm, Leone Cole Auditorium

Observational workshop/presentation, Open to All Participants.

In this workshop, Zach will take you deep into how to find, process, and work with raw clay straight from the earth. This intensive session will start with a native clay petting zoo, throwing demo, and a discussion of different qualities of native clay bodies and their uses. This will be followed by a presentation on locating and digging your own clay and a demonstration on how to make terra sigillata. This workshop is packed with information not only about clay from the region, but also the qualities of clay in general from a working, geological, and chemistry perspective.

Steve Loucks: Put a handle on it- FREE

 10:45pm-12:15pm, JSU Ceramics Studio

Open to All Participants

In this hands- on workshop, Steve will demonstrate a number of creative approaches to making handles. Participants will get to “Put a Handle on It” as they make various handles along with him.

Cindy Miller: Working with Precious Metal Clay (PMC)- FREE

12:30pm-2:00pm, Leone Cole Auditorium

Observational workshop, Open to All Participants.

A jewelry designer who was always looking for new creative outlets, Cindy enrolled in a silversmith class while living in Colorado and began applying her skills to jewelry design. Traditional silver work soon lead to the discovery of Precious Metal Clay (PMC) which quickly became Cindy's medium of choice. Cindy has been working with metal clay since 2004 and received her PMC certification in 2008. As part of the Metal Clay Master's Registry she has earned a rating of Maters Level II. 

Rick Berman: Bamboo and Deer Tail Brushes- FREE

12:30am-2pm, JSU Ceramics Studio

Hands-on Workshop, Limited to (20) Participants

With very simple techniques and massive amounts of curiosity each participant will go home with at least four or five brushes. We will need several bench grinders so if you have one please bring it. Also if you have a source for any species of bamboo please bring whatever is easy for you. Roughly half inch to one inch or so is plenty big for brushes, and we will also need wood glue, scissors, waxed dental floss, or waxed twine. If you don't bring anything that's fine too because I have plenty of everything.

This is very important. Please no road or hunt kill. You can buy perfectly tanned deer tales at any fly fishing store or online. Two will be more than enough.



Creating Your Career

Saturday, February 23, 5:00-7:00 PM and Sunday, February 24, 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 ($15 each).

Saturday (Feb. 23)         5pm-7pm             

Curtis Benzle: All Artists Making A Living

5pm-7pm, Roundhouse Lecture Hall                                      

Curtis is the President of the Alabama Craft Council.  His work is in the permanent collections of over thirty-five public institutions including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian and Montreal Museum of Art.  He is featured in over twenty-five books on Contemporary Art and has lectured to over seventy-five audiences world-wide. 

Sunday (Feb. 24)       9:00am-10:30am       

John Phillips: Photographing Your Artwork- $15

9am-10:30am, Hammond Hall                                

John Phillips has twice received a Fellowship by the Alabama State Council on the Arts    and has been featured in “Alabama Craft” on PBS. John is featured in "The Contemporary Blacksmith", "Cross Section” (German, “The Anvils Ring”  Quarterly international blacksmith magazine), “Ironwork Inside and Out” Volumes 1 and 2, and “Fireplace Accessories”.

Curtis Benzle: Pricing for Profit- $15

9am-10:30am, Roundhouse Lecture Hall   

Benzle Porcelain, Curtis’ studio line, was carried in over 500 retail outlets and sold on (HSN) the  Home Shopping Network.


Jennifer Redstreake: Licensing Your Art: Exposure and Income-$15

9am-10:30am, Hammond Hall          

Jennifer has been licensing her artwork internationally for four years. Her work is carried in stores including Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Goods and Ashley Furniture.  She has produced three fabric lines, illustrated several children’s books, won three ADDY awards and continues to create and sell her original paintings nation-wide.


Sunday (Feb. 24)                           11-12:30

Michelle Novosel Pennell & Caitlin Lyon: Product Development: From Idea to Success- $15    

11:00am-12:30pm, Hammond Hall              

Business partners and sisters, Michelle and Caitlin are the owners of Pizzelle’s Confections in   Huntsville, AL. Pizzelle’s was awarded the Best Creative Small Business in 2018 by the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce.  Michelle and Caitlyn epitomized the full range of creative intelligence when they departed from jobs in technical writing and healthcare to found a high-end chocolate shop—Pizzelle’s. Learn from Michelle and Caitlin just how to go from “idea to successful product”.


Curtis Benzle: Community Art Education- $15   

11:00am-12:30pm, Roundhouse Lecture Hall                                   

Curtis Benzle is Professor Emeritus at the Columbus College of Art & Design. He has taught workshops and community art classes for over forty years.  In 1974, after moving to Hilton Head, SC, Curtis founded “Sea Pines Summer Arts” as a way to earn money and establish himself in a new home. It worked!


Tena Z. Maybe: Intuitive Marketing for Studio Artists- $15

11:00am-12:30pm, Hammond Hall                     

Tena has been a dedicated and accomplished potter since the 1970’s. In 2009, Tena was                       selected as a Forbes Magazine National Small Business Competition top 5 winner. Tena’s most                recent accomplishments include the International Trade Excellence award given by the             Birmingham Business Alliance (2014) and The Enterprising Woman of the Year Award given by    Enterprising Women Magazine (2015). Tena’s work has been featured in Cooking LightBon                         Appetit and Coastal Livingmagazines and fine restaurants nationwide use her dinnerware. Tena has been featured on Time Warner channels demonstrating the use of potter’s wheel and raku firing.


Tara Sartorius: Writing for Artists- $15     

11:00am-12:30pm, Hammond Hall                                                  

Tara Cady Sartorius is currently the Program Director for the Alabama Arts Alliance. She served as Curator of Education at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts for twenty-one years. Tara received her Masters degree in sculpture and art criticism from Pratt Institute. She is a regular contributor to Arts and Activities magazine.

In this workshop, we will work on writing artist statements and will touch on business correspondence methods as well as tips for writing articles for magazines.