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2022 What a year full

Clay Arts Vegas Year in Review - So long, 2022!

The Clay Arts Vegas family began 2022 with the continuation of the Extended Family Dinner gallery show at Las Vegas City Hall featuring the uniquely diverse formal table settings created by many of the students from CAV. A newly designed web page and class scheduling system streamlined registration for classes and online shopping in the gallery. Full enrollment in weekly classes frequently generated wait lists and new enrollees in 8-week sessions continuously filled the studio. I asked a few of the current students at Clay Arts Vegas, “How will you remember 2022 and your experiences at Clay Arts Vegas?”

Clay Arts Vegas pottery class 2022
Thursday night class

Margaret DeYoung regularly enjoys hand building class on Thursday mornings, and attends the Sunday morning advanced wheel class at Clay Arts Vegas - the class designed to stretch the artist’s imagination as they engage in projects over several weeks time. The totem project was one such project for Margaret! In the style of a classic overachiever, Margaret chose to make not one, but three totems - a total of 54 interlocking beads created by throwing forms with “flanges” to provide stability to the design. Margaret summed up the experience, “I don’t ever want to throw one of those d@#ed flanged pots for a totem!” Nevertheless, all her hard work resulted in three beautiful totems for her yard! Margaret also pointed to the value of engaging with visiting artists Amber Aguirre and Esther Shimazu, as she integrated her skills creating sculptured figures from clay. She shared, “Amber’s workshop was wonderful for me as it enabled me to improve on skills learned in Esther Shimazu’s workshop with great success! Amber was so encouraging and helpful”.


Celina DeMarzio attended an 8-week wheel classe this year and primarily attends hand building classes where she focuses on applying the techniques she learns in class to making projects such as decorative boxes and wine glasses. She comes to class to make art and to have fun interacting with the owners, staff and students at Clay Arts Vegas. Celina is especially appreciative of the opportunity to attend visiting artist, Amber Aguirre’s workshop where she refined her sculpting techniques.

Celina DiMarzio - dog

Diane Ronnow is passionate about making pottery. She attends both wheel and hand-building classes regularly and maintains a semi-private studio space to increase access to the studio and house her bursts of creativity. She recognizes that applying techniques learned in hand building to her wheel projects is advancing her craft. Diane uses handles, carving, decorating, and sprig molds as some of the crossover techniques she learned while hand building. Diane shares, “I have definitely improved as a potter, but I think the biggest thing is that I am much better at fixing things that are going wrong, hopefully catching the problem before it gets too hard to fix. I love the amazing learning opportunities at this studio. We don’t just make a plate or a cup, but do so many other things that you would never find somewhere else. We get into the art of pottery. Diane appreciates the studio approach, “…Here they not only give you the opportunity to make something of your own (design) and not just a copy of what everyone else is doing, but encourage you to do that.”

Dianna Ronnow - tea set

Julie Hopkins is one of the volunteers at Clay Arts Vegas. She regularly attends both hand building and wheel classes. Julie gains inspiration from others by noticing the design and glazing of finished work made in the studio. She states, “Looking at other’s work is inspiring and makes me want to ‘kick it up a notch’ in my own work.” Julie is fascinated with the history of masks and the stories connected with the West African tribal masks that reflect all aspects of life. She adjusts the techniques and refines her craft with each mask she makes, focusing on attention to detail and taking time to create beautiful finished art.

Julie Hopkins - Mask

Leslie Shurmur appreciates the opportunity to continue working on one project during several class sessions during the Sunday wheel class for members, a new addition to the weekly offerings at Clay Arts Vegas during 2022. Leslie shared, “Thom managed to select an incredibly eclectic group of artists to not only push our skill set, but to really expand our imaginations and creativity.” Averaging about 10 hours of class time versus the usual 3 hours to complete a project, Leslie enjoyed taking extra time to bring her art to completion.

Leslie Schumur - Desert Life

Cathye Baldinado attends hand-building classes and has been part of the CAV community for several years. Here’s what Cathye shared about this year, “2022 is about doing what I want, being open to new projects and ideas, and just trusting myself without any expectations.”

Cathye Baldondo - vessels of the desert

The 2022 workshops with visiting artists provided opportunities for the CAV community to learn a range of pottery techniques during extended hands-on sessions. John Kellum began the series with the “Alternative Firing” workshop. The participants engaged in altering basic forms to create imaginative forms and learned Kellum’s vibrant raku process during a demonstration. Stephen Mullins continued the workshop series in June with, “Personal Images on Clay”. Participants created highly decorated forms by applying colored slips, layering decals, experimenting with mono prints, paper resist slip decorating techniques. During the September workshop “Accentuate the Narrative” with Amber Aguirre, attendees created artistic narratives as they formed original anthropomorphic sculptures. During the final workshop of the 2022 season, “Making Faces at the World: Exploring Textures and Expressions in Clay”, Richard Wehrs immersed participants in exploration of texture and underglaze techniques while creating expressive, exaggerated, sculptural forms.

John Kellum Workshop

Stepen Mullins Workshop

Amber Aguirre Workshop

Richard Wehrs Workshop

In June and July, twenty-four young pottery enthusiasts attended Clay Arts Vegas Summer Youth Camp. During the 6-class sessions, the young artists learned basic hand-building techniques while making bobble-head sculptures, whistles, rattles, and storyteller figures inspired by the art of New Mexican artist Helen Cordero. Participants attended four sessions devoted to hand-building and two sessions learning to make basic forms on the wheel.

The Clay Arts Vegas family is preparing another year of classes, workshops include Jason Walker, Tip Toland, Adrienne Eliades, and Charlie Teft. We also are planning our Casper Wyoming Adventure, and student gallery shows. We will be welcoming new resident artists, and new products.

Thank you for an AMAZING 2022, and we look forward to spending time with you in 2023.

PS - Remember to visit the West Sahara Library to catch the WHAT INSPIRES YOU SHOW and don't forget to sign up class


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1 Comment

Brandy Dean
Brandy Dean
Jan 02, 2023

I really like how you highlighted some student experiences in this post. It really shows how there are so many ways to express yourself through clay.

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