AU Press Releases

Ceramics Division offering variety of summer clay workshops for art students

The Alfred University (AU) Division of Ceramic Art is offering a series of intensive clay and ceramic workshops designed for students interested in working with clay throughout summer 2014.

The workshops will give students the opportunity to learn from internationally recognized artists o their own turf, sharing their facilities, libraries, and community.

From Monday, June 30-Friday, July 11, Wayne Higby, professor of ceramic art at AU, will lead “A Raku Workshop,” which will culminate in a Raku firing event on Saturday, July 12. Rooted in the history, legend, and lore of the 15th century Japanese tea ceremony, raku has come to be known as a fast-firing process with rich possibilities for glaze color and texture. Higby is internationally recognized as a raku master for his innovative techniques and concepts.

From Monday, July 7-Friday, July 18, Walter McConnell, AU professor of ceramics, will lead “Big Clay: Raw,” an opportunity to explore the possibilities, experiment widely, and build large-scale, raw clay sculptures and installations. McConnell is well known for his moist clay installations housed in plastic enclosures which address the relationship between nature and culture.

AU Professor of Ceramics John Gill will conduct “The Morphology of Shape” from Monday, July14-Friday, July 25. During this workshop, Gill will share his expertise and knowledge while assisting students in learning how to go beyond history to find new forms and ideas. In addition, high-fire glazing techniques will be explored, including atmospheric firings.

The fee for each of these workshops is $850, plus a $75 materials fee.

AU Professor of Ceramic Art Andrea Gill will lead a “Four Week Intensive Studio” from Monday, June 30-Friday, July 25. This workshop is intended for those looking for an intensive ceramic art experience, whether to prepare for graduate school or to reconnect with studio practice. Students will work independently in individual workspaces with daily input from Gill and graduate teaching assistants. This course can be taken for four undergraduate or graduate credits. The fee for this workshop is $1,600, non-credit, or $2,124, credit; each will also cost an additional $125 for materials.

Scott Jelich, currently working towards a master of fine arts degree in ceramic art at the University, will lead two, two-week sessions and one four-week session of a “Beginning Ceramics” workshop. The two-week courses will run either Monday, June 30-Friday, July 11 or Monday, July 14-Friday, July 25. The four-week program will take place Monday, June 30-Friday, July 25.

No experience is necessary for this workshop, which will offer concentrated time to practice the wheel and develop skills in pinching, coiling, and slab work. If desired, the first session can be extended until July 12 to participate in the Raku firing (see information on “A Raku Workshop”). Fees are $600 plus a $45 material fee for each of the two-week sessions; cost of all four weeks is $1,000 plus a $90 materials fee.

Finally, William Carty, professor of ceramic engineering and materials science at AU, will conduct a two-day course entitled “Ceramic Science for the Artist”, Wednesday and Thursday, July 18-19. This workshop will serve as an introduction to the science and technology of ceramic bodies and glazes and is intended for artists to understand some of the underlying chemistry.

Participants will develop tools to predict behavior of materials to solve problems in the studio and are encouraged to bring examples of defects or problems for discussion. The fee for this course is $200. Although this workshop is being offered for the first time as a separate course, those who enroll in any of the other workshops are welcome to join this two-day lecture program.  

All of the workshops have the same goal: to create an atmosphere for artistic and personal growth.

Registration for all courses is now open. On-campus housing is available: $285/two weeks, $570/four weeks; off-campus housing is also an option for the four-week workshop. For more information on housing, meals, and registration, contact Cathy Johnson at, call 607. 871.2412, or visit

Higby is the Robert C. Turner Chair of Ceramic Art in the College of Ceramics at AU. A published authority on ceramic art, Higby’s work has been shown internationally in museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. He earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Colorado-Boulder and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

McConnell earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in ceramics and painting from the University of Connecticut and a master of fine arts degree in ceramics from the College of Ceramics at Alfred University. His work has been exhibited in Connecticut, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, California, and New York. He completed an artist residency at the European Ceramic Work Center in Den Bosch, Netherlands, and received a research grant from the University of Connecticut Research Foundation.

John Gill has exhibited his work extensively across the continental United States and has a collection on display at the Taipei Museum in the People’s Republic of China. He is the recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and an Individual Craftsman Grant. Gill earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Kansas City Art Institute and a master of fine arts degree from the AU School of Art and Design.

Andrea Gill’s work has been featured in many major United States and international cities including Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, and London. Her pieces have also been featured in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. A recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship and National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant, Gill earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design and a master of fine arts degree from the School of Art and Design at AU.

Jelich earned his bachelor of fine arts degree in ceramics from the University of Alaska-Anchorage and spent a year attending the University of Montana, where he received the President’s Award for “Best in Show” at the 2012 University of Montana Winter Student Juried Show.

Carty is known for his research in ceramic processing and the connection to material properties. His current research focuses on decreasing harmful pollution and emissions of commercial glassmaking and whiteware production, including the development of lead-free glazes and using froth flotation to beneficiate industrial waste streams. Carty earned a bachelor of science and master of science degrees in ceramic engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Washington.