The Clay Connection organizes and presents the conference, with the overriding goals of providing attendees with accessible, hands-on instruction, and professional presentations at an affordable price. Over 100 potters, hand builders, and sculptors from across the nation will converge on the beautiful setting of the 4-H Educational Center in Front Royal, VA that this year features nationally known artists Steven Hill, Fong Choo, and Danna Rzecznik.

Mark your calendars with the dates of October 1-4, 2015, for this wonderful event. For more information contact: conference@theclayconnection.org or see the Conference page of this website.

 

What conference attendees have to say about the event:

"Fabulous organization. The schedule was very comfortable, wonderful, relaxed, yet fruitful!”

“The community here is remarkable. I felt so welcomed and so comfortable as a first time attendee. I am so excited for the next conference.”

"It is a unique experience to be in a room where people are passionate about the same thing you are."

“An awesome event – I highly recommend it!”

 

Past Conferences

11th Biennial Mid-Atlantic Clay Conference|  October 1-4, 2015
Main Presenters: Steven Hill, Fong Choo, and Danna Rzecznik
Friday Workshop Presenters: Brett Thomas; Colleen O’Sullivan and John Jensen; Dick White; Michael Hough; Clay Walthall; Jayne Shatz; Kourtney Stone; Sherry Chaples; Guy Zoller; Diana Faris of Amaco Ceramic Co.

The Conference opened Thursday night with a Welcoming Reception and Buffet (catered y Witt Caterers), introduction of Vendors, and digital images presented by the Friday workshop leaders. Friday night was a catered dinner supplied by Six Star Catering from Winchester, Va. Curtis Haymore was our DJ for the evening, playing music for listening and dancing. Saturday night everyone was invited to Mike Swauger (The Kiln Doctor’s) store in downtown Front Royal for dinner, music, and more!

On Friday, there were workshops presented by local potters and artists. Brett Thomas held 2 session of Raku firing overlooking the mountains and valley surrounding the Conference Center. Colleen O’Sullivan and John Jensen also presented two sessions giving students a chance to experiment with Primitive Firing techniques. These pots, as well as the Raku results were placed out on display after the firings. Sherry Chaples, a Precious Metal Clay (PMC) artist taught 2 sessions Discovering Silver Clay, and everyone walked away wearing their new jewelry! Dick White presented a workshop on methods for creating decorative edges on pottery with stencils. Michael Hough led workshop participants in slab building techniques with surface enhancement using everyday materials. Clay Walthall taught workshop participants the basics of glaze chemistry and mixing. The glazes participants in Clay’s workshop mixed were then used by Jayne Shatz and her participants as she taught various techniques for creative glaze application. Kourtney Stone taught a figure sculpture workshop where students worked from a live model. Glazes and Underglazes taught by Diana Faris from Amaco Ceramic Company gave students the opportunity to test new techniques. Their tiles were fired and returned to students before they left on Sunday.

The main presenters gave varied demonstrations that were engaging, informative, and allowed all conference attendees to leave with new ideas. Steven Hill discussed techniques for throwing and altering functional forms. He also led a significant discussion on the transition from cone 10 to cone 6 glazing, spraying on layers of glazes, and once firing his pottery. Fong Choo also discussed his playful, experimental approaches to glazing and the importance of testing and breaking the “rules” of glazing. In addition to describing his throwing process, through which he develops forms that will accommodate his glazing style, Fong demonstrated his techniques for making creative handles with clay and reeds. Danna demonstrated her slab building techniques that include color inlay and developments of various textures. Her process is aimed at making hand-built pottery that encourages user interaction.

Overall, the 11th Biennial Mid-Atlantic Clay Conference was a huge success! Those on the Conference Planning Committee were Marianne Cordyack, Chair, Stephanie Firestone, Lore Potoker, Barb Oksanen, Jayne Shatz, Kourtney Stone, Mike Swauger, Dick White, Guy Zoller.

 

10th Biennial Mid-Atlantic Clay Conference  |  October 3-6, 2013
Main Presenters: Nick Joerling, Jim Sankowski, and Joy Tanner
Friday Workshop Presenters: Brett Thomas; Colleen O’Sullivan and John Jensen; Steve Mitchell and Lyn Jordan; Sherry Chaples; Reggie Pointer; Jonnie Friedman; Guy Zoller; Diana Faris of Amaco Ceramic Co.

The demo presentations were interesting and enlightening. Many new techniques were presented to inspire participants to use when they returned to their studios. Nick Joerling is a “hand-builder trapped in a wheel thrower’s body” (his words). He loves the lively nature of thrown forms but is most excited about the cutting and altering work done afterwards at his table. Jim Sankowski works with porcelain on the wheel. He also does a lot of alteration to the thrown forms and uses decorative slip trailing and beautiful reduction glazes to enhance his functional work. Joy Tanner is also a wheel-thrower, uses stoneware clay and fires her work in a soda kiln. Her work is mainly functional, but is finely detailed with nature-inspired carving.

The Conference opened Thursday night with a Welcoming Reception and Buffet, introduction of Vendors, and digital images presented by the Friday workshop leaders. Friday night was a catered dinner supplied by Six Star Catering from Winchester, Va. Curtis Haymore was our DJ for the evening, playing music for listening and dancing. Saturday night everyone was invited to Mike Swauger (The Kiln Doctor’s) new store in downtown Front Royal for dinner, live music, Raku firings and more! A wonderful time was had by all!

On Friday, there were workshops presented by local potters and artists. This is the first conference that all the Friday presenters did hand-on workshops, much to the delight of participants!

Brett Thomas held 2 session of Raku firing overlooking the mountains and valley surrounding the Conference Center. Colleen O’Sullivan and John Jensen also presented two sessions giving students a chance to experiment with Primitive Firing techniques. These pots, as well as the Raku results were placed out on display after the firings. Steve Mitchell and Lyn Jordan demonstrated throwing and decorating medium to very large pots using Indian print-block textures and hand-built components. Decoration assistance from the audience was encouraged. Sherry Chaples, a Precious Metal Clay (PMC) artist taught 2 sessions Discovering Silver Clay, and everyone walked away wearing their new jewelry!

Reggie Pointer presented, “Covering the Covered Jar” to teach exciting ways to make and decorate containers both on and off the wheel. He helped students to experiment with colored slip, printmaking, and clay stamps as tool for decoration. Jonnie Friedman taught Hands On Clay, a workshop to teach participants the major steps of hand-building and wheel-throwing skills.  Guy Zoller repeated his ever-popular Portrait Sculpture workshop where students were able to sculpt the bust of a person, working from a live model. Glazes and Underglazes taught by Diana Faris from Amaco Ceramic Company gave students the opportunity to test new techniques. Their tiles were fired and returned to students before they left on Sunday.

There was also a “Genius Bar” panel on Sunday Morning to answer varied clay-related questions from the audience. The “geniuses” were Mike Swauger, Dick White, and Jayne Shatz.

Overall, the 10th Biennial Mid-Atlantic Clay Conference was a huge success! Those on the Conference Planning Committee were Marianne Cordyack, Chair, Stephanie Firestone, Carol Hurwitch, John Jensen, Barb Oksanen, Jayne Shatz, Mike Swauger, Dick White, and Guy Zoller.
 


9th Biennial Mid-Atlantic Clay Conference  |  September 29-October 2, 2011
Main Presenters: Hayne Bayless, Posey Barcopolous, and Susan Halls
Friday Workshop and Demos: Brett Thomas; Colleen O’Sullivan and John Jensen; Dana Lehrer Danze; Jayne Shatz; Joyce Michaud; Mike Swauger/The Kiln Doctor; Michael Hough; Guy Zoller; Tracie Griffith Tso

These demonstrations were inspiring and full of ideas and techniques for the participants to "take home". Hayne is a hand-builder and works mostly with slabs and extruded pieces to produce his functional work. Posey also makes functional work that is thrown on the wheel, altered, and beautifully decorated with majolica glazes. Susan makes clay animal sculptures by hand that are full of life and personality. We felt very lucky to have these wonderful artists headlining our conference!

On Friday, several local potters presented exciting demonstrations and hands-on workshops for our participants to attend. Potters who participated in the Raku workshops led by Brett Thomas enjoyed the excitement and camaraderie that Raku tends to bring out in clay workers. Participants in the Primitive Firing workshops led by Colleen O'Sullivan and John Jensen learned many new, innovative techniques that will inspire their future pot production. Dana Lehrer Danze demonstrated a 2-part teapot construction method, and Jayne Shatz gave a wonderful art history talk entitled: Women in Ceramics. Joyce Michaud educated viewers on the way clay moves during wheel-throwing to help them perfect their throwing techniques. Mike Swauger, The Kiln Doctor, talked about Kiln and Studio Safety, and Michael Hough did a hands on workshop on combining found objects with clay to form sculptures. Guy Zoller also taught a hands on workshop teaching high-relief figure sculpture to a room full of excited participants. Tracie Griffith Tso taught brush painting on pottery, beginning with practice on paper, leading to painting on ceramic tiles that were later fired and ready to take home Sunday! Rounding out the serious fun of clay work was a Panel Discussion on Using the Internet to Promote Your Ceramic Business.

 

8th Biennial Mid-Atlantic Clay Conference  |  October 1-4, 2009
Main Presenters: Suze Lindsay, Gay Smith, and Frank Giorgini
Friday Workshop and Demos: Jayne Shatz and John Jensen; Guy Zoller, Dana Lehrer Danze, Marianne Cordyack; Tracie Griffith Tso; Mike Swauger/The Kiln Doctor; Ramon Camarillo; Brett Thomas

The Saturday evening slide show featured work from the main presenters. A new feature this year was digital recording and projection of presenters in the main conference room. The Conference opened Thursday night with a Welcoming Reception and Finger Buffett sponsored by Clayscapes, featuring free t-shirts for all participants. Friday night membership meeting and Board elections were followed by a dinner catered by Old Town Bakery held at the outdoor Fairfax Shelter pavilion. There was a lively pot exchange led by Amy Wandless, and music for dancing by the band, Nightmusic. Vendors included Clay Times, Manassas Clay, The Kiln Doctor, The Ceramic Shop, Ceramic Supply, and Mayco Colors. Jayne Shatz and John Jensen presented demonstrations on Large-scale vessel making and Creating Sculpture Multiples through the use of molds. Hands-on mini workshops by: Guy Zoller (Figure Sculpture), Dana Lehrer Danze (Surface Resist and Slip Decoration), Marianne Cordyack (Brush Making), and Tracie Griffith Tso (Chinese Brush Painting on pots). Mike Swauger, The Kiln Doctor, presented a comprehensive workshop on studio set-up and equipment. A new feature, a panel discussion, entitled “Sustaining Creativity” featured Jayne Shatz, Mike Swauger, Guy Zoller, and Colleen O’Sullivan. Ramon Camarillo and Brett Thomas hosted Raku workshops. Member Julie Sedell offered therapeutic massage. Committee members were Marianne Cordyack, Chair, Stephanie Firestone, Barbara Oksanen, Jayne Shatz, Mike Swauger, Dick White, and Guy Zoller.

 

7th Biennial Mid-Atlantic Clay Conference  |  October 4-7, 2007
Main Presenters: Randy Brodnax, Don Ellis, and Mark Epstein
Friday Workshops and Demos: Dana Lehrer Danze; Joyce Michaud; Bill Schran; Gail Adkisson; Marianne Cordyack; Meredith McEver; Guy Zoller; Jayne Shatz; Philip Berneburg; Ramon Camarillo; Brett Thomas

The Main Presenters provided demonstrations and talked about their work on Saturday and Sunday. Dana Lehrer Danze, Joyce Michaud, and Bill Schran provided demonstrations on surface decorating techniques, the physics of throwing, and extruders, respectively. Mini-workshops included Throwing Small (Gail Adkisson), Brushmaking (Marianne Cordyack), Mask Making (Meredith McEver), and Figure Sculpture (Guy Zoller). Jayne Shatz discussed environmental ceramics, and Philip Berneburg led a firing clinic. Ramon Camarillo returned to host advanced Raku workshops, and newcomer Brett Thomas hosted beginning and intermediate Raku workshops. A slide show featuring the Friday workshop leaders followed the Thursday night Welcoming Reception sponsored by Clay Times magazine and Baltimore Clayworks. An outdoor feast featuring Brodnax Gumbo, pot exchange, and music by the Aloha Boys followed Friday night’s membership meeting. Saturday evening was a slide show that featured work from the main presenters. Vendors included Clay Times, Highwater Clay, Manassas Clay, Mecca Pottery Tools, The Ceramic Shop, The Kiln Doctor, and van Gilder Pottery. Member Julie Sedell offer therapeutic message. Committee members: Debra Barger, Marianne Cordyack, Roberta Couver, Stephanie Firestone, Barb Oksanen, Jayne Shatz, and Mike Swauger.

 

6th Biennial Mid-Atlantic Clay Conference  |  October 20-23, 2005
Main Presenters: Neil Patterson, Sandi Pierantozzi, and Bill van Gilder
Friday Workshops and Demos: Jennie Coffin; Jane Cullum; Michael Hough; Beth Kendall; Joyce Michaud; Bill Schran; Stephanie Firestone; DeDe Mandrell; Ramon Camarillo

The Thursday night slide show featured the Friday workshop leaders, while the Friday evening slide show featured main presenters Neil Patterson, Sandi Pierantozzi, and Bill van Gilder. Vendors included Clay Times, Highwater Clay, Manassas Clay, Mecca Pottery Tools, The Ceramic Shop, and The Kiln Doctor.  Jennie Coffin, Jane Cullum, Michael Hough, Beth Kendall, Joyce Michaud, and Bill Schran provided demonstrations on Brushes, Slips and Underglazes, Practical Approaches to Goblets, Building Big, Uniqueness in Porcelain, The Physics of Throwing, and Secret of Crystalline Glazes Revealed, respectively. Mini-workshops included Gesture Figure Sculpting (Stephanie Firestone) and Silver Clay Sampling (DeDe Mandrell). Ramon Camarillo returned to host the raku workshop. Eka Kapiotis returned to offer therapeutic message. Committee members: Debra Barger, Marianne Cordyack, Roberta Couver, Stephanie Firestone, Helen Hensgen, Susan Jenkins, Barb Oksanen, Aileen Redding, Janelle Seiberlich, and Mike Swauger.

 

5th Biennial Mid-Atlantic Clay Conference  |  October 2-5, 2003
Main Presenters: Judith Duff, Julia Galloway, and Mark Shapiro
Friday Workshops and Demos: Jane Cullum; Michael Hough; Beth Kendall; Phil Chapman; Dave Straney; Alfredo Ratinoff; Ramon Camarillo

Jane Cullum, Michael Hough, and Beth Kendall provided demonstrations on handles, building big, and hand-building techniques, respectively. Mini-workshops included brush-making (Phil Chapman), YiXing teapots (Dave Straney), and tile decoration (Alfredo Ratinoff). Ramon Camarillo returned to host the raku workshop. The Thursday night slide show featured local potters Beth Kendall and Marianne Cordyack, while the Friday afternoon slide show featured Mark Shapiro’s talk on Early American Pots and Studio Pottery Today. Vendors included Creative Clay Pottery and Studios, The Kiln Doctor, Highwater Clay, Clay Times, and Mecca Pottery Tools. The newest and most appreciated feature of the 2003 conference was therapeutic message (Eka Kapiotis). Chaired by Mike Swauger with committee members: Mary Kay Crowley, Jennifer Dinkelmeyer, Stephanie Firestone, Claire Hasselbeck.

 

4th Biennial Mid-Atlantic Clay Conference  |  October 5-8, 2001
Main Presenters: Lana Wilson, Paul Dresang
Friday Workshops and Demos: Ramon Camarillo; Dave Straney; Dave Gambel; Debra Swauger

The Conference expanded to include a Thursday afternoon check-in with a Meet and Greet Thursday night. Friday events featured local Raku potter Ramon Camarillo, throwing competitions, YiXing (pronounced ‘ee-shing’) teapot demonstration (Dave Straney), an underglaze decoration (Dave Gambel), throwing demonstration (Debra Swauger), and a catered luau with music by the Aloha Boys. Vendors included Creative Clay Pottery and Studios, The Kiln Doctor, Highwater Clay, Clay Times, and Mecca Pottery Tools. Proceeds from a Silent Auction were donated to the victims of the 911 attack on the Pentagon. Chaired by Mike Swauger with committee members: George Brown, Mary Kay Crowley, Jennifer Dinkelmeyer, Stephanie Firestone, Claire Hasselbeck, Debra Swauger.

 

3rd Virginia Clay Conference  |  September 30-October 9, 1999
Main Presenters: David Crane, Kevin Crowe, Silvie Granatelli
Friday Workshops and Demos: Ramon Camarillo; Jennifer Coffin; Jayne Cullum; Beth Kendall; Bill Schran; Mike Swauger

Chaired once again by Fran Newquist, it introduced more Friday events featuring local artists Ramon Camarillo, Jennifer Coffin, Jane Cullum, and Beth Kendall. Special program additions included two clay-related first aid stations: The Glaze Doctor (Bill Schran) and The Kiln Doctor (Mike Swauger).

 

2nd Virginia Clay Conference  |  September 5-7, 1997
Main Presenters: Lisa Naples, Donna Polseno, Ellen Shankin
Friday Workshops: Phyllis Roderer, Austin Brown

This conference was also chaired by Fran Newquist and featured Lisa Naples (hand-built functional earthenware), Donna Polseno (sculptural forms), and Ellen Shankin (wheel-thrown, altered stoneware). In addition to a participant exhibition and competition, mug exchange, and trade show, highlights were expanded to include workshops on raku (led by Phyllis Roderer) and pit firing (led by Austin Brown).

 

1st Virginia Clay Conference  |  1995
Main Presenters: Rick Berman, Ron Meyers, Michael Simon

The First Virginia Clay Conference was chaired by Fran Newquist and featured Saturday and Sunday all-day demonstrations by the 3 main presenters in the Lower Robinson Lodge at the 4-H Center. Highlights included an Art Show, a mug exchange, trade show (Laguna Clay, Highwater Clay, Campbell's Clay, Pine Ridge Pottery), and a major write-up in the then-newly published Clay Times newsletter.