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Special Winter Workshop
Surface Design with Maureen Mills

There is still room!

February 17th & 18th, 10 am – 5 pm
Fee: $170

Maureen Mills is passionate about surface design and decoration, in fact, she has written one of the best books on the subject, “Surface Design for Ceramics”  published by Lark Books in 2008. In this workshop, through demonstrations about planning form and space on the wheel, we will examine what makes appropriate surface treatment on particular forms, using design principles as our guide. We’ll use slips in a variety of ways from trailing to sgraffito, inlaying and resists to develop ideas about individualizing your surface treatments.

In addition to ongoing demonstrations there will be image presentations and time for hands-on opportunities for students to try techniques. Students are encouraged to bring leather hard tiles and/or leather hard pots to experiment with. We can even do a group critique to share ideas about how to take your work further.

Special Spring Workshop Naked Raku Vases by Scott Tubby
Naked Raku with Scott Tubby

April 7th glazing 10 am – 1 pm
April 8th firing 10 am – 5 pm
Fee $170

Bring some bisque fired pieces to fire. Nobody will be getting naked for this workshop, sorry! it just refers to the pots, in that they will not be glazed, but will be decorated with smoke patterns. Burnishing your pots can work well, though is not required. This is a low fire process similar to Raku firing. Your pieces will be covered in a sacrificial clay slip which will get removed afterward. You can decorate with wax resist to create areas of black. After firing to a low temperature, your pieces will get pulled out of the kiln with tongs and will be immersed in buckets of combustibles and left to smolder. The smoke will turn any areas of the pot not covered with slip, including  the crackle patterns, shades of black and gray.

You can learn more about Scott from his bio and you can visit his website.

Spring 2018

Iris demonstrating making a large two part potPurple Sage Pottery offers classes for all ages taught by teachers as committed to teaching as they are to pottery. While grounded in the fundamentals of hand-building, throwing and glazing, we strive to nurture your creative spirit. Classes are small, having at most 10 students.

You can take full advantage of our well-equipped studios, including electric wheels, slab rollers, extruders and various tools. We recycle your clay, a great benefit, which assures that you will always have clay in good working condition, giving you more time to create. Our extensive selection of beautiful reduction-fired glazes will practically guarantee the success of your work. It is handled with great care, and we pride ourselves on the exceptional results we get from our 70 cubic foot gas fired kiln.

Classes for Adults

Pottery Class with Anni MelanconClick here for class brochure (printable PDF)

New! Monday evening beginner and beyond:

Lisa Mistretta will introduce you to basic hand building and throwing techniques and help you improve your current skills.
Spring only!

Tuesday morning intermediate:

Purple Sage Pottery owner Iris Minc helps you refine current skills and learn more advanced techniques. Spring only!

Tuesday morning beginner and beyond:

Beth Bell will introduce you to working with clay and help you improve your hand building and throwing skills.

Tuesday night beginner and beyond:

Lisa Mistretta helps you discover the joys of working with clay through hand building and wheel throwing.

Tuesday night intermediate/advanced:

Benefit from Anni Melancon’s depth of knowledge to boost your clay work to the next level.

Wednesday night all levels:

Beth Bell helps you express your creativity with clay through developing hand-building and wheel throwing skills.

Thursday morning beginner and beyond:

Iris Minc will introduce you to clay with basic hand building and wheel-throwing. For those with some experience in clay, she will introduce more advanced techniques, giving you the tools to materialize your visions in claySpring only!

Thursday night beginner and beyond:

Beth Bell will introduce the basics of hand building and wheel throwing as well as introduce more advanced skills to those with more clay experience to help you express your creativity in clay. Spring only!

Tuition and class times

10 week Spring Adult Sessions cost $300
8 week Summer Adult Sessions cost $240

  • Spring Classes start the week of March 26th
  • Summer Classes start the week of June  8th
  • Morning sessions are 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Evening sessions are 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

$5.00 per pound is charged for finished pieces

Saturday Open Studio

9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday Open Studio time is available to former and present students. No instruction is offered during this time period. Current students may get additional studio time between classes and former students may work independently. Either may bring a guest under their guidance. First-time guests may attend free-of-charge.

Saturdays with class: an additional $40 will cover students for 10 weeks while taking a class. This fee is kept low to encourage students to practice. Current students may, however, pay $12 per Saturday or $6 per hour.

Former students and guests: $55 a month or $18 per Saturday or $8 per hour.

Kids & Clay

We are at this time not offering any classes for children. We will consider running a special class with a minimum of 5 kids.

Young Student Working Clay

To Register:

Call or email to check space availability for classes. Please mail one-half of the tuition fee to Purple Sage Pottery, 3 Mechanic St., Studio D, Merrimac, MA 01860. Make check payable to the instructor teaching the class or Purple Sage Pottery. Registration fee is refundable up to one week prior to the start of class. Please indicate the desired class, and include your home and work phone numbers and email address.

The balance of the class tuition is due on the first day of class.

[Download PDF of Registration Form]

Purple Sage Teacher Profiles

Iris MincIris Minc founded Purple Sage Pottery 23 years ago to create her own work and share her love of pottery with students and fellow potters. Iris has been developing her own unique style since graduating from college in 1981, designing her own molds, stamps and other tools to make her work truly one-of-a-kind. Her independent style and easy-going nature carries into her classes, where she helps her students materialize their ideas and concepts into clay.

Beth Bell carving vaseBeth Bell’s journey with clay began 24 years ago at the Worcester Center for Crafts, where she developed her unique, playful style. Still a student of clay, Beth finds that learning and teaching are two sides of the same coin. Her combination of passion and patience helps her students find their own voice in clay whether they are hand-building or throwing.

Anni MelanconAnni Melancon
has been a studio potter in Gloucester since 1978. For the past 21 years, she has generously shared with her students at Purple Sage her broad experience with clay and glazed techniques. Anni’s expertise includes decorative and functional stoneware, majolica, raku and pit firing.

Lisa MistrettaLisa Mistretta brings her love of clay and easy going nature to her pottery classes. Students will benefit from her creativity and depth of knowledge, as she inspires them to take their creative energy to the next level.

Studio Rental Info

For the potter who is ready to work independently, studio access is available. $140 per month will allow you to use the studio anytime.

You’ll need to purchase your own clay. Firing fees are charged by the kiln load for bisque firings and electric kiln glaze firings. Use of the gas kiln is figured by the cubic inch or by the kiln load for the more productive potters.

You will have your own storage shelf for tools and clay, as well as use of the studio racks and damp closet to keep works in progress. You will have control of your own pots through the various stages, including loading your own bisque kilns and helping load your pots into the gas kiln. Learning about gas firing your own pots is encouraged. You may use most of the studio glazes or mix your own. Support and instruction is offered to help emerging potters acquire the tools to become successful at making pottery on their own.