Pinon ceramic studio, Ghost Ranch

NMPCA 2017 Ghost Ranch Workshops

Ceramic art studio, Ghost Ranch, 2016 workshopClay art lives at Ghost Ranch!  Some of you are undoubtedly aware that the former Pot Hollow ceramic art workshop at Ghost Ranch was wiped out in a flash flood in 2015.  While the rest of the ranch was unaffected, the ceramic art studio and 4 other art workshops were damaged beyond recovery.  However, newly renovated workshops on higher ground continue to ensure that ceramic art programs still provide enchantment.  Ranch management is committed to their programs in ceramic arts, and have created a space in one of the existing buildings, Pinon, just above the former Pot Hollow at the top of the mesa.  This convenient location is a very short walk away from the dining hall and several accommodation buildings.  The ranch has invested materials and effort in upgrading the facilities, including refinishing the ceramic art studio room, buying a large raku kiln and potters wheels, providing a large covered portal for outdoor working space that rivals the workspace we had before.  Several donations of tools, wheels and kilns have brought the facilities up to a level that makes workshops a pleasure.  The NMPCA has pitched in with money to provide an awning to enhance the portal workspace, covers for the kilns, curtains for the shelves, and time and effort to make everything clean, organized and in shipshape for the 2017 workshops.

For 2017, the NMPCA is sponsoring two exciting workshops, both emphasizing hand-building and functional work.

Hand Building with Paper Clay 

Jerry Bennett at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, August 21-26, 2017.  More information and register:

What impresses me about Jerry Bennett is his extensive knowledge of paper clay and how it compares to regular clay: how to make clay, nuances of working with this versatile material, and many ideas about creating work that is strong, functional, aesthetic, and fun to make.   I first met Jerry at an NCECA conference (in Kansas City) and then attending a paper clay symposium in Michigan last year.  Jerry was one of three presenters as this symposium, held at Fernwood Farm in Fennville, MI.  (The other presenters were Graham Hay and Rebecca Hutchinson.)  At the symposium, all the attendees eagerly jockeyed for a position near Jerry so that they could see and hear his ideas about hand building.  I saw Jerry to be a very patient instructor who generously demonstrated his own techniques as well as asked students what they wanted to achieve and guided them to make their own ideas come to fruition.  Jerry also gave a wonderful slideshow on the history of the use of paper clay and showed his own extensive and varied functional and sculptural work.

From Philadelphia, this will be Jerry’s first visit to Ghost Ranch.  We look forward to working with Jerry as he discovers the landscapes of the southwest and shares his ideas about paper clay with us.  The five day workshop will give us plenty of time for Jerry to demonstrate, for participants to explore different aspects of the paper clay medium, and to fire work to cone 6.  Paperclay will be provided.  Bring your own favorite clay tools, or we have plenty to share at the Ranch workshop.

Jerry has lots of interesting information and more pictures of his work on his website at

Sign up no later than July 20, earlier to insure space in the workshop and your choice of accommodations.  Read Barbara Campbell’s sidebar below about ranch accommodations.

Lauren Karle at Ghost Ranch

Sewing Clay: Slip Transferred Patterns on Slab-built Pots.  Fun and learning in New Mexico.  September 8-10, 2017.  More information and register:

When I talked to Lauren recently, she said “The works starts when the pieces come out of the kiln.”  This was startling for me to hear, since Lauren has a lively practice for making work that we had learned a little about last year in a short session at the “New Mexico Connections” workshop.  Also, there have been articles and a video about Lauren from Ceramics Monthly describing how she makes her work.  The statement made sense as Lauren described her current series of “cultural appreciation.”  This series has a background of red, white and blue stripes with cultural patterns on top, such as Islamic, African, Chinese, Native American and Panamanian.  These are, for the most part, motifs from fabrics, such as mud cloths and molas.  Using her transfer technique and hand building methods, Lauren created plates, bowls, and cups with these motifs.  Lauren’s thought in creating place settings was to use them to encourage sharing of cultures, thinking about how all cultures belong here.  She wants to encourage people to learn from each other in an atmosphere of curiosity rather than fear.  Lauren plans to use these pieces in a variety of community settings and activities, including the two recent “Edible Pop-Ups” dinners where potters and chefs collaborated in an evening of conversations and celebrations of food and art.

At this year’s workshop at Ghost Ranch, we will have two full days to learn from Lauren and explore ideas with her about pattern development, image transfer, slab-building of functional work, and ways to engage in community.  This will be a popular workshop, so be sure to sign up as soon as possible to reserve your space and get the accommodation choice you want…but definitely before August 8.

Read more about Lauren and see more of her work on her website at

NMPCA will sponsor a scholarship for one person to this workshop.  Preference will be given to students.  The workshop will pay the workshop registration, meals and accommodation in a dorm room.

Ghost Ranch Accommodations:

Barbara Campbell, our NMPCA Ghost Ranch Coordinator, provides some information about this year’s changes in charges for rooms and meals.  These changes have come about because of organizational and procedural changes at the Ranch.  Whereas before, there was one price for both room and meals, this year, you pay for a meal package (all meals) separately from the room charge.  There is now a single price per room, so the price is the same if one or two people stay.  Here are the room charges this year for the three types of rooms.  Here are pictures of the rooms and further explanation.

Private room/bath $150/night for 1 or 2 people.

Semi Private (private room sharing a bath with one other room) Bath is between the two rooms $140/night for 1 or 2 people

Dorm rooms (Bath is shared between a number of rooms and one has to go out of the room and along a portal or to a nearby bath house) $90/night for 1 or 2 people.

If you have a roommate, and you go to register for the workshop on our site, both roommates need to submit a registration, but only one of the two of you need to pay for the room.  Sharing the cost of the room is an issue between the two of you.  If you don’t have a roommate, we can try to find one for you, but if we can’t, you will end up paying the full room cost.

While not explained in the registration, there is an additional option.  If you want to add additional people to the room (sharing a bed in private or semi-private rooms, dorm rooms if more than two beds), the cost is $10/night/person.  If you want this option, please indicate on your registration and we will contact you.

Each person staying on the ranch is required to buy the meal package separately from the room charge.  It is $36/day for all three meals.  The price on the registration reflects the number of meals for each workshop.  If you want additional meals, for example if you are staying off the ranch and want to buy lunch during the workshop, you can pay the ranch directly at the dininghall.  Breakfast, $10; lunch, $12; dinner, $14.

There is a conservation fee charge of $5/visit for each and every person who comes on the ranch to spend time hiking or taking courses or for R&R.  This is paid by the workshop fee.  In addition to the room charges, the Ranch charges the NMPCA for the use of the studio facilities.  This is also paid by the workshop fee.  These two charges from the ranch have necessitated our increasing the workshop fees slightly.

We have analyzed these changes, and if you stay in a room with a roommate, the overall cost is about the same as last year.  If you want to have single occupancy in a room, the price has increased.

by Ceramic art studio, Ghost Ranch, 2016 workshopJudy Nelson-Moore

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