North Carolina

The Art of Working Clay by Hand

Discover the thrill of working clay by hand as you join experienced instructors to create your own unique masterpieces. Plus, explore the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains!
Rating (5)
Program No. 21934RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Encourage and inspire your creative spark as you experience the joy of working clay by hand. Working under expert guidance in a fully equipped pottery studio, use soft clay slab construction and extruded forms to learn and apply a range of techniques including slip and score construction, the slump mold process, scraffitto design and glazing. Begin with raw clay, form it, glaze it and fire it to produce decorative and functional pieces you can take home proudly. It may all sound foreign now, but by the end of the program you’ll sound — and look! — like a pro.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Daily climbing a flight of stairs to the second floor of a building where classes are held, walking up and down hills.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Work with a professional potter to create your own pieces.
  • Go home with useful and beautiful finished pieces as well as a toolbox full of new skills that will surely spark your interest to do more with clay!
  • Learn specific handbuilding, throwing, glazing and kiln/firing techniques, as well as gaining new insight into the culture of clay.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room. Appropriate for beginners and more advanced students. Opportunities are available for traveling companions to attend a different program at Montreat during the same week. Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Becky Garrity
Time and time again, sculpture has proven to be Becky’s calling. She studied sculpture and ceramics at the College of William and Mary and landed a pottery apprenticeship in Japan. After a brief stint as a graphic designer, she devoted herself to pottery and for the past 21 years, she has been committed to making pots and teaching pottery. Her aesthetically impressive work is showcased in galleries across four states, and she claims her pottery is inspired by the energy of her eager students.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Tracy Bailey
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Becky Garrity
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Ann Laird Jones
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Handbuilt Ceramics: Pinching, Coiling, Extruding, Molding, Slip Casting, Slab Work (A Lark Ceramics Book)
by Kathy Triplett
Handbuilt Ceramics is written for beginners and experts alike. As a newcomer to the world of clay, you'll start by learning how to set up a workshop and gather tools, select a clay and shape it, and decorate and fire what you make. Then, when you're actually ready to plunge your hands into moist clay for the first time, the author will guide you carefully through a series of step-by-step projects: a basic pinch pot, coiled planter, slip-cast pitcher, press-molded relief tile, and more. Each of these projects comes with helpful "how-to" photos, and each is designed to let you practice at least one handbuilding and decorating method.

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