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Winter 2021 classes now live !


Using Clay to find yourSELF
Time: Sunday 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Dates: Jan 17, 2021 – Feb 14, 2021
Skill Level: All Levels This 5-week workshop is an opportunity to experience how conceptual artists think. Do you have something to say that is just itching to come out? You know you’re creative but don’t know how to harvest that creativity? Participants will be guided through the steps of creating a concept, from the hint of an idea, to seeing it manifested as a ceramic object. The basic fundamental soft hand-building will be presented: pinch, coil and slab.  We will explore surface treatments and various glaze techniques for earthenware ^04. All experience levels are welcome and all forms of expression will be encouraged. Clay and firing fees are additional. Curb-side clay purchase and curb-side firing available with Baltimore Clayworks staff.

Virtual Coil Vessels: Paddle + Anvil 
Time: Wednesday 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Dates: Jan 20, 2021 – Feb 10, 2021
Skill Level: All Levels
Join us for this virtual 4-week session introducing participants to the basics of  flattened and paddled coiling to make both functional and decorative items using a paddle and anvil method. Participants will gain appreciation for this traditional art form which has numerous iterations across cultures all over the world. Students will explore the coiling process to create a variety of bowls, flanged rims, vases or flower pots.  Learn the fundamentals of working with a paddle and anvil to compress and stretch the coil, create elegant curves and bold rims. All experience levels are welcome and all forms of expression will be encouraged, including combinations of organic and geometric construction.  Bisque anvil available with registration, curbside pick at Baltimore Clayworks office.
Clay and firing fees are additional. Curb-side clay purchase and curb-side firing available with Baltimore Clayworks staff. HANDBUILDING CLASSES (in-person)

Foundations in Figure Sculpture: Expressive Faces
Time: Wednesday 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Dates: Jan 13, 2021 – Feb 17, 2021
Skill Level: All Levels In this fun 6-week course students will learn the basic tools, materials and process for sculpting the human figure.  Participants will hone their observational skills while creating a bust and/or self-portrait through self-observation in a mirror. Students will move through the steps of measuring proportion, understanding volume, planes and anatomical structure to create finished works. Some previous clay experience recommended. Class size will be limited to 6 students.  Course fee includes 25# clay and bisque, glaze firing fees are additional.

Hands, Toes & Faces: Life Modeling Details 
Time: Wednesday 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Dates: Jan 13, 2021 – Feb 17, 2021
Skill Level: All Levels
This 6-week course will focus on specialized topics including hands, feet, and various facial features. Rather than creating a finished figure, we will hone our skills in the details of the human anatomy using 2-weeks blocks to model and refine parts of a whole. Class size will be limited to 6 students.  Course fee includes 25# clay and bisque, glaze firing fees are additional.

All children’s programming is currently scheduled for in-person meetings. However, there is a virtual contingency plan if necessary during the session.

Clay After School (ages 6-12)
Time: Tuesday 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Dates: Jan 12, 2021 – Feb 16, 2021
Skill Level: Children This is a 6-week afternoon class for ages 6 – 12. Students will work with their hands and discover the magical qualities of clay!  They will explore texture, color and shape while building technical skills as they create a wide variety of wonderful creations.  Each class session will introduce a new technique and present a new, exciting challenge.   All works will be created in red earthenware, decorated with vibrant AMACO velvet underglaze and glaze fired to cone 04. Class includes all materials and firing.

Home School Ceramics and Science (ages 6-12)
Time: Wednesday 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Dates: Jan 13, 2021 – Feb 17, 2021
Skill Level: Children
Our 6-week homeschool classes are designed for children whose schedules allow them to enrich their education with an afternoon clay class! Students will discover techniques used to create wonderful clay projects while getting a behind the scenes look at the scientific aspects of how ceramics are made. In the studio, we will use slab, coil, and pinch sculpting methods to create unique ceramic masterpieces! This class is for youth with some or no previous clay experience, all are welcome. Class includes all materials and firings. 

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Black Lives Matter.

June 4, 2020

Dear Community Members,

We stand IN UNITY with the Black community and the nation to end the violence done to our people – our brothers and sisters. Black Lives Matter.

As members of the Greater Baltimore Community for forty years, Baltimore Clayworks recognizes the injustice that the Black community faces on a daily basis. We mourn the loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and tragically, so many more Black Americans for 400 years. We support the on-going protests against police brutality and systemic racism at large.

Baltimore Clayworks stands in solidarity to fight for racial justice and to dismantle systems of white supremacy. We acknowledge that white-led organizations benefit from these systems of oppression. We have a long road ahead that points to a brighter future and we will make sure to be alongside others steering toward positive change. We refuse to ignore the truth and will not turn away from seeing the broken systems externally and within our own organization as well.

We can all play a part in solutions with our commitment and financial resources. Baltimore Clayworks is committed to supporting Black lives financially and in our programming.

For the next four weeks, we are donating 100% of Baltimore Clayworks’ portion of shop sales to Black-led organizations. Each week we will highlight a different organization. Beyond these critical four weeks, Clayworks staff will ask and listen to Black-led organizations in Baltimore to learn how we can provide on-going support. We will quickly determine a specific plan of action based on what we hear.

We would like to hear from you and take the time to listen to our community and reflect on what you have to say. Please reach out to us if you feel the need to do so. We encourage your progressive suggestions, sentiments, reflections and positive ideas. Especially, we would like to hear the voices of Black and Indigenous people. cyndi.wish@baltimoreclayworks.org, subject line Black Lives Matter.

White allies are essential to ending white supremacy and its violence. We need you and your voice. Attached are links to resources and information so we can all do our part in this global effort to end violence:

Keep your spirits high. Our hearts are with you.

Take care of yourself and thank you,

Baltimore Clayworks Staff and Board


Information and Links

*SURJ is a national organization with local chapters where you can transform your support into action. Join them today.

*A highly recommended website to visit is the National Resource List. This has an extensive list of different ways we all can get involved and educate ourselves. Please take the time to explore the many resources available and share it with your children, your family and friends.

“Not everyone can be on the frontline right now, but there are other ways to support.”

Donate to a BAIL FUND in your area or around the country: https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org/nbfn-directory

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Community Spotlight: Nicole Fall

Clayworks is excited to share a new “Community Spotlight” series of written blog posts by members of our community. During this period of isolation, we hope these posts can spread joy, introduce you to some of the people that make Clayworks amazing, and help you #claypositive. We are kicking off this series with members of our staff – next up is Nicole Fall, Baltimore Clayworks’ Community Arts and BCYF Grant Manager.

“I come from a family of artists; my grandmother, my mother, an aunt, an uncle, and one of my sisters were or are artists. Now my spouse and my grown children are artists as well. I consider myself a sculptor. I created and sold my first sculpture when I was 13 years old – this made something of an impression on me. It was an “I can do this!” moment.

I majored in ceramics at MICA where I made sculpture that was influenced by nature and undersea imagery which was then used to explore the human condition. The department at that time consisted of professors; Doug Baldwin, Ron Lang, and Lois Hennessey; conceptually and technically strong hand-builders. Their teaching was premised in the attitude that you will come up with an idea and then figure out technically how to make it happen. They encouraged big ideas so I made a clay sculpture that was about 7 feet tall before I graduated.

Doug Baldwin brought us seniors to Baltimore Clayworks in 1981, pretty soon after it had opened. He wanted us to see options for continuing to work once we graduated.

Upon graduating, I set up my own studio in every basement (and one living room), of every house I lived in. I was making very thin, fragile clay objects. It was frustrating to endure so much breakage, I wanted to build bigger, AND teach college…  SO, I went to graduate school and learned how to weld steel. Since then I often combine steel with clay. It makes it possible to build things that are weightless-seeming, tall (25 feet so far), with the primordial substance of clay.

I have managed Community Arts twice at Clayworks; in 2000 and again in 2018. It combines my experience as an arts educator and artist with the activism of enhancing access to the arts for all. I very much enjoy the challenge of making clay programming happen in as many spaces as possible in Baltimore. Because of the pandemic we are currently working on how we can deliver programming in a time of quarantine where we cannot have direct contact with the youth we work with.

This time of Covid 19 has been challenging personally. A relative has come to stay with us for the time being and she has Alzheimers. Our time is structured by her needs and like, when we were raising children, we have rediscovered artmaking with interruptions. I have also managed to rediscover solitude and plan on bringing more of that back into my life.  I hope and wish everyone is managing well.”

-Nicole Fall

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Community Spotlight: Merina Casa

Clayworks is excited to roll out a new “Community Spotlight” series of written blog posts by members of our community. During this period of isolation, we hope these posts can spread joy, introduce you to some of the people that make Clayworks amazing, and help you #claypositive. We are kicking off this series with members of our staff – first up is Merina Casa, Baltimore Clayworks’ Development Associate.

“I’ve always had a soft spot for ceramics, mostly because of my mother, who is a fearless and talented woman. When I was growing up, she tried almost every craft you can think of: painting, drawing, glass blowing, carpentry, upholstery, metal sculpture, ceramics, to name just a few. Trust me, there were more. Ceramics was one my mom stuck with for a long time, and she was great at it.

My mom was a large part of the reason why I wanted to become a part of Baltimore Clayworks. She had to stop working on pottery after getting shoulder surgery when I was in college, but she still loves and appreciates ceramics.

Throughout my life, I’ve always been artist-adjacent, never really feeling like I could claim the title. I’ve dabbled in a few art forms, printmaking, drawing, painting, but nothing that I felt like I had ownership of. I think I was deterred, and possibly jealous, of my mom’s innate talent in all things creative.

I had worked at Clayworks for a few months before I was ready to take a class. I’d gone through a bad breakup in the Spring, and I was finally feeling like myself at the start of the Fall session, so I figured I’d give it a try. I knew I wanted to take Sam’s class, I’d always loved his planters, and anyone who knows me can tell you that I am obsessed with houseplants.

One of the first thing Sam tells you is to “DANCE AROUND THE POT! YOU BECOME THE WHEEL!” in his charming, and at times, intimidating Jamaican accent. You watch him mold a perfect cylindrical pot in a matter of minutes while dancing around and around a couple of stacked buckets and bats. It’s almost hypnotizing, and very calming.

For three hours, things just melt away when you shuffle around those stacked buckets. I haven’t made anything groundbreaking, and probably won’t, but I’m enjoying learning about this medium. I feel closer to my mom when I send her photos of what I did in class each week. I’ve learned so much about all the things that clay can do, and how many possibilities come from each piece.

I’ve done a lot of self-exploration in the past year, and I think ceramics has helped me find confidence in new ways that I needed. Being around all the wonderful artists at Clayworks made me realize that these are my people, and I am indeed an artist. Lofty title included.

During these weird covid-19 times, I’m still dancing around pots, this time with Lizzo as a soundtrack (highly recommend). On the other hand, I have also found it incredibly difficult to motivate myself right now. I start projects with great energy and enthusiasm and lose steam halfway through. I’m sure I’m not the only one with that problem. I am the most and least inspired I have ever been. My house is cleaner than it’s ever been, though.

I miss my studio friends, my coworkers, watching people drive the wrong direction down Smith Avenue from the Gallery building. I know we’ll be back to work at some point, whenever that may be, I hope it’s soon. Sending lots of love and light to everyone reading this. Thanks for listening.”

x Merina Casa

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