To Register for Classes call Ruth at (702) 685-7573
7 Week Membership: $160.00
3 Months Membership: $275.00
6 Months Membership: $465.00
1 Year Membership: $795.00
Mondays 6:00-9:00 pm: Pottery Class for Beginners and Intermediates with Brian Ayriss and Chris Winter.
Tuesdays 10:00-1:00 pm: Pottery Class for Beginners and Intermediates with Bill Wright and Beth Bishop.
Wednesdays 10:00-1:00 pm: Pottery Class for Intermediates with Sandy Smith.
Wednesdays 6:00-9:00pm: Pottery Class for Beginners and Intermediates with Stephen Wells and Beth Bishop.
Thursdays 10:00-1:00pm: Pottery Class for Beginners and Intermediates with Bill Wright and Beth Bishop.
Thursdays 5:00-8:00 pm: Handbuilding Class for Beginners and Intermediates with Beth Bishop.
Thursdays 6:00-9:00pm: Pottery Class for Beginners and Intermediates with Chris Winter.
Saturday 10:00-1:00 pm: Pottery Class for Beginners and Intermediates with Brian Ayriss and Beth Bishop.
Instruction: 7 weeks for $160.00 Tool Kit $18.33. And, clay is $30.00 for 25 lbs. There are no hidden costs. Your 7 weeks registration includes unlimited classes and access to the pottery. The pottery studio is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Pottery Tool Kit: You can also purchase tool kits from other places as long as it’s a kit made by Kemper. They have the best quality tool kits. The tools in the other kits are not sharp enough to work with.
Purchasing Clay: clay can be purchased for $30 for 25 lbs. The cost of this clay includes the cost of firing, glazing and helps us cover the cost of utilities and other consumables.
Please note: new students can come in to any of the beginning pottery classes listed above to register and get started on the potters’ wheel. We’ll assign you a shelf and get you started. Wear comfortable clothes and be ready to get dirty!
Pottery West Instructors
Each of our instructors differ in how we teach and what type of work we create. This is what makes our teaching technique in pottery so effective. It’s important to learn from different instructors to find the way that works best for you at the level of learning you are currently at. Sometimes this is confusing – let us know if we need to help you understand something better.
Pottery West 7 week Syllabus
This is handed out to you when you start classes with us. This week-to-week guide will help you as you attend different classes with different instructors. Hand this to your current instructor for that class section and they will know what you need to be learning during that week.You will want to keep this on your assigned shelf with your clay, tools, and your clay work.
This week-to-week guide will help you and your instructors stay on schedule while you learn to make pottery on the potters’ wheel. Everyone learns at a different rate of speed. Be patient with yourself. It takes practice and once you learn how to work on the potters’ wheel it’s a rewarding, affordable hobby.
When you register at Pottery West you can attend as many scheduled classes as you’d like. The pottery is open 24/7 to make it convenient for you to come in and practice on your own. A glossary of pottery terms is provided for a reference at the end of this syllabus.
Weeks 1 and 2:
a) Learn how to center clay on the wheel and create a cylinder.
b) During this time you will want to make sure you have transferred your work from the bat onto the wood board. Make sure you clean off the bat and replace it on the rack. You will be assigned a shelf for your work, and tools.
c) Be sure to also cover your work with plastic to keep it from drying out too quickly.
d) You will also be given a handout that helps you remember what to do for clean up before leaving the pottery.
e) The first thing you will want to do when you come back in is get these first pieces you created and uncover them to let them continue to stiffen up. We want them to become what’s called Leather-hard for trimming.
f) Ask one of our instructors for help.
a) Learn to Trim/Tool the work you’ve already created (or thrown) on the potters’ wheel. These first pieces you’ve thrown may be uneven on the top rim making it difficult to do this part of the process. Your teacher at the time may recommend you trim them by hand and continue to practice throwing. Ask your instructor what would be best. Remember to sign your name on the bottom of your work and put the finished work in the back courtyard to be bisque-fired. Ask an instructor where this work needs to be placed.
Note: It’s important to send these first pots through the kiln to be bisque-fired. We’re not worried about quality at this point. It’s mud. The more you practice the easier it will get and the better your work will become. You will want to have pots to learn how to glaze during weeks 5 and 6.
a) Continue throwing on the potters’ wheel. If you need help with centering, opening, and pulling up the walls, please let one of our instructors know you need help. Don’t be shy- we’re here for you.
b) Continue to trim the bottoms of your work and remember to sign your name. Ask for help if you are unsure about trimming your work.
a) Get with an instructor at the beginning of class and let them know you need to learn how to glaze. The instructor will show you where to find your bisque-fired work in the back courtyard on the shelves. If you do not have time to glaze all of these pieces be sure to put the rest of them onto your shelf located inside the pottery.
b) Make sure you show the instructor all of the pieces you’ve glazed to make sure the foot is properly cleaned. Have the instructor show you where to place your glazed work on the shelves in the back courtyard. This instructor may also know when the next Glaze-firing will be.
a) By now you may know if you want to keep working on the potters’ wheel. If you do, you can continue to throw, trim, and glaze your work as you come in for classes and open studio time. You may want to learn how to create bowls, bottles, pull-handles for cups, and create lidded jars. These are just a few of the things you can create on the potters’ wheel. Let us know if you decide to re-sign up for another 7 week round of classes, or a 6 month or 12 month membership.
b) If you are not enjoying the potters’ wheel at this point you can also have instruction in Hand building. Some of our instructors are trained to help you learn how to work in clay without the wheel. Ask them to help you.
c) If you decide to not continue with pottery you will want to make sure all of the clay work you’ve been working on is completed with your name on the bottom and placed out in the green ware section to be bisque-fired.
a) You’re work should be out of the glaze kiln within a 2 week cycle.
b) If you decide you would like to continue taking pottery ask about our wood-kilns and Raku-Firing. These are 2 other forms of firing your work with us. We have one of the nicest facilities in the country- along with one of the best growing communities. Welcome to Pottery West!
Glossary of Pottery Terms:
Throwing: Creating a piece of pottery or sculpture on a potters’ wheel.
Bat: A flat, round, disc that is placed onto the potters’ wheel to place your clay onto while working.
Center (or centering): The act of making a ball of clay be in the center of the potters’ wheel while it is spinning. When done correctly this clay will appear to be still while it is still spinning around.
Opening: Placing a hole directly into the center of the ball of clay while it is spinning.
Pulling up the Walls: Place the left hand inside the opening and the right hand outside the opening at 4:00. Apply pressure with the right hand and “pinch” the clay wall between your hands. Move your hands upward slowly. This act squeezes the clay and elongates it to create a ‘wall.’
Cylinder: Once a ball of clay has been centered, opened and the walls have been pulled up you have created a Cylinder. A good teaching technique is to have you cut this cylinder in half vertically with a wire-tool to see how well you’ve thrown. Ask an instructor to show you how if you have not been shown this technique by week 4.
Leather-hard: The clay is now becoming stiffer from having been left un-covered. It will turn slightly darker in appearance and be slightly cold to the touch. (This is an indication it still has moisture in it.) I liken this stage to hard chocolate or hard cheese. This is a perfect stage to Trim or Tool a Foot onto your pottery.
Trimming, or Tooling a Foot: This is a technique that is done to the pottery when it is leather-hard. It gives the bottom of the foot a nicer look and also helps to hold on to the pottery while dipping it into glaze.
Greenware: A blanket term for clay that has not been cooked in an oven yet. Or, in ceramics, we say “it has not been fired in a kiln.” At this stage the clay can be slaked down in water to become like mud again. When greenware has lost all of it’s apparent moisture (become bone-dry) it is ready to be bisque-fired in a kiln.
Bisque Fire: Bone-dry clay is placed into a kiln and slowly brought up to a temperature of about 1750 degrees. At this point the structure of the clay is going through a chemical change. It can no longer be slaked-down into mud by placing it into water. It has become stone-like.
Glaze: A powdered substance made from clay, glass, and other chemicals. Water is added to this mixture and it is applied to your bisque-fired clay by dipping or spraying. You will first learn how to dip your clay work as a beginner and later, if you continue to take pottery classes, you will learn how to spray-glaze.
Glaze-fire: At Pottery West you are working with either type of clays: Stoneware or Porcelain. Both of these clay body’s fires to a temperature of at least 2300 degrees. We call this temperature range “Cone 10”
Open-studio Time: Pottery West is open 24/7. Open-studio time is your time to come in and use the studio when there is not a scheduled class. This is a great community with lots of people coming in at different times to use the facility. Our instructors are also here doing their own clay work. Please be considerate and limit your clay-related questions to class time only. We love to talk about other things, too.