Conversations on Clay – C01W01-20

Date: Jun 01 - Aug 26, 2020

Skill Level(s): open to all i

Instructor(s): Yana Payusova, Randy Johnston, Rose B Simpson, Tony Marsh, Doug Casebeer, Chris Staley, Jeanne Quinn, Arlene Shechet, Del Harrow, Linda Swanson, Chris Gustin, Gail Kendall

Price Option(s):
$896 — Reduced Tuition (COVID-19 Artist Relief Offer)
$1,400 — Full Price Tuition (For those able to pay at this time)

Students may choose to pay the Reduced Tuition or the Full Price Tuition. Additional need-based scholarships available upon request.


Anderson Ranch invites you to join our online community to engage in a rigorous and stimulating Critical Dialog Program about the exciting world of contemporary ceramics. Through lectures and discussions with leading ceramic artists,  each Monday and Wednesday for 12 weeks, we connect to embark on a variety of topics that are crucial to today’s field of ceramics, giving participants the opportunity to reflect conceptually on this hands-on medium. Each month focuses on a different overarching topic as a way to deepen our dialogue. Sessions in June explore ceramics’ potential for narrative, addressing themes of memory, personal history and community. In July, we pose questions and ideas about maintaining inspiration in the studio, creativity, and strategies for momentum and ingenuity. Sessions dig deep into the aesthetics of the clay object, its functionality and formal aspects of the medium.


June 1 / 3 Yana Payusova  – Memory as Weight, Power, Burden:  We  explore the emotional tension within memory, materiality, and identity. Group discussion is accompanied with reading, narrative generation and looking at historical and contemporary artists who work within similar conceptual framework.

Yana Payusova paintings and sculptures blend the styles and symbols of folk art, Russian icons, graphic poster art, illustration, and comics, and reflect Payusova’s cultural heritage and her training in traditional Russian realist painting.

June 8 / 10  Randy Johnston –  The Persistence of Mingei Influence Through four generations of Ceramic Artists:  Randy Johnston discusses the beginnings of the Mingei movement in 1919, and trace the historical and aesthetic influence through four generations of artists working in ceramics.

Randy is now a full-time studio artist after a long teaching career at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. Randy is a two-time recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.

June 15 / 17  Rose B. Simpson  – Reverence and Humanity in Historic and Contemporary Native American Ceramics:  Santa Clara Pueblo artist Rose B. Simpson will talk about what “contemporary” may mean to artists who hail from a rich cultural history. She covers themes of context, preservation, exploitation, and ingenuity in post-colonial indigenous practices.

Rose B. Simpson lives and works at The Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. She has an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design and an MA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her sculptures are in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Denver Art Museum, amongst many others.

June 22 / 24  Tony MarshThe Mystery & Power of Objects:  Pottery Bowls of the Mimbreano culture:  Tony discusses the power of Mimbres bowls made by hand, anonymously, 1000 years ago in what is now the American southwest and the numerous ways in which they are powerfully encoded with the belief system of the culture they served.

Tony Marsh teaches at California State University Long Beach where he was the Program Chair for over 20 years. His sculptures are in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mad Museum of Art in NY, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, amongst others.

July 6 / 8  Doug Casebeer – Artists and Inspiration:   Doug Casebeer discusses in personal terms the path that has been influential in his journey to becoming a visual artist. Techniques and studio practices that unlock latent influences that impact artistic choices in art making, as well as methods to keep your studio practice alive and engaging are also covered.

Doug is the Resident Artist in Ceramics for the University of Oklahoma and is the Artistic Director Emeritus of Ceramics at Anderson Ranch Arts Center.  Doug received his MFA from Alfred University followed by several years of work for the United Nations. In 2019 he was recognized by NCECA for his contributions to the field as Honorary Member.

July 13 / 15  Chris Staley – Creativity without Boundaries:  What is creativity? How do our lives influence what we create? Why is it important to understand that everything an artist/potter creates is a metaphor? What are some simple exercises that can teach us to be more creative? These questions are explored with a lively discussion to follow.

Chris Staley is a Distinguished Professor of Art at Penn State University. He was selected to be the Penn State Laureate for 2012-2013. He has received two National Endowment of the Arts Grants. His work is in many collections, including the Smithsonian Institution’s Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of Art, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

July 20  / 22  Jeanne Quinn – Home Theater: Why the relationship between ceramics and installation makes sense:  Installation artists make meaning from relationships between objects, as well as creating expression in the objects themselves.  The same description fits traditional ceramicists: we make expressive vessels that allow sensory relationships between objects and the body. Understanding domestic spaces as a kind of installation, and installation as a space for multi-sensory experience, makes a natural connection between ceramics and installation.

Jeanne Quinn  earned her M.F.A. in ceramics from the University of Washington. She has exhibited widely, including the Denver Art Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Kemper Museum for Contemporary Art, and Art Basel/Design Miami. She has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the European Ceramic Work Centre, and others. She is a Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Colorado, and currently serves as department chair.

July 27  / 29  Arlene Shechet – Arlene’s work is presented on Monday. On Wednesday, Arlene  joins for a question/answer conversation session.

Arlene Shechet is a New York-based artist, known for her sculptures that defy categorization. Some are figurative, some are architectural, and others resemble melting vessels or growing biological forms, always looking off balance or on the verge of collapse. She has received numerous awards including a John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, an Anonymous Was A Woman Artist Award, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, and an American Arts and Letters Award for Art. Her work is in public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.

Aug 3  / 5 Del Harrow  – 5 Cups: the Intimate Aesthetic Experience:  Cups are both functional and aesthetic objects, and they provide opportunities for intimate aesthetic experiences. Del Harrow will open our curiosity and thinking towards the intricate experience of cups as epistemological objects: an object we might use to think with, and whose thinking we might feel at work in us.

Del Harrow teaches ceramics and sculpture at Colorado State University. His work has been exhibited recently at the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Arizona State University Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Haw Contemporary in Kansas City, Mo., and Harvey Meadows Gallery. Del received his M.F.A. from Alfred University.

Aug 10 / 12 Gail Kendall – How I got this way:  Gail Kendall discusses ideas that have influenced her direction in the field of pottery making and formed her philosophy as a craftsman. Gail will raise questions of why pottery, why hand building, why decoration, as well as talk about why she is influenced by European traditions.

Gail Kendal is a studio artist and a professor Emerita at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she taught for 24 years. She has done several artist-in -Residence programs both nationally and internationally and exhibits her work widely throughout the United States.

Aug 17 / 19 Linda Swanson  – CHRYSOPOEIA: The Alchemy of Ceramics :  Linda discusses the capacity of ceramic materials and processes to reveal something beyond the scope of intentionality. She explores how we experience ceramic materials ability to change and how such transformations might enable us to think about ourselves, both individually and collectively, through matter.

Linda Swanson is an artist whose interests are grounded in the metamorphic nature of ceramic materials and processes. Her work has been exhibited in the United States, Canada and Europe. Swanson was awarded the Raphael Prize in Ceramics by the Society for Contemporary Craft in 2014 and an Emerging Artist Award in 2013 from NCECA. Swanson earned her MFA from Alfred University. She has taught at Alfred University, the Kansas City Art Institute and currently teaches at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

August 24 / 26  Chris Gustin – Talking Through the Vessel:  What is it that makes a pot ‘good’? Dealing with both the functional and sculptural concerns of pottery form, Chris explored the architectural nature of the vessel and the underlying organizational strategies that exist in all pots.

Chris Gustin is a studio artist and an Emeritus Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Chris’ work is published extensively and is represented in numerous public and private collections. He has received two National Endowment for the Arts Artist Fellowships. He is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics and the American Craft Council College of Fellows.

Additional Information: This workshop will meet 3 – 4:30PM MST on Mondays and Wednesdays. Zoom Video Conferencing software (download free from will be used to facilitate the class sessions.

Further details will be emailed to registrants.


Tattletale, 2012 - Arlene Shechet

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