and private instruction
“Melissa is an excellent pottery teacher. She has many years of experience helping all levels of students from total beginners to seasoned potters hone their skills. She’s able to address skill issues from basic centering to throwing a tall cylinder and everything in between."
90-Minute Pottery Wheel Experience
Have you ever wanted to try sitting at the potter's wheel? This 90-minute pottery wheel experience is the perfect way to simply try it out. I'll begin the time with a brief demo on what to do, and the rest of the time is yours to explore what it's like to throw and shape clay into pottery. I can offer as much or as little hands-on help as desired. You will have the option at the end to choose one or two pieces to keep and leave with me for finishing. I'll do all the post-construction work: trimming, bisque-firing, glazing, and glaze-firing, along with signing your name and the date that you made the piece. Glaze-fired work is generally ready for pick-up four weeks later (sometimes sooner), or it can be mailed to you for a small fee. I am able to host two people at a time during these mini-sessions, so invite a friend! You'll each have your own wheel. Ages 15 and under are accepted if attending with an adult participant.
9-Hour Beginner Course
In-Person Private Lessons for Adults and Teens
In this 9-hour course, I will cover all of the basics of centering the clay, opening, raising the walls, shaping your pot, and how to trim and prepare your pottery for the kiln. This class is perfect for new students who have never worked with clay, students who might be enrolled in a large class setting and aren't getting enough personal instruction, or as a refresher course for those who have tried it before and are returning to the hobby.
If you prefer to work off-wheel, our time will be used to explore hand-building construction techniques. Beautiful pottery can be made without the use of the wheel, and I'll show you how!
One-on-one instruction for ages 16 and older.
You pick the skill you'd like to work on
For potters who are already familiar with the basics of throwing: Are you having trouble centering larger amounts of clay? Maybe you'd like to throw pots with thinner walls? Want to learn how to measure pots for lids that fit? Or perhaps you've just bought your first kiln and would like time with a seasoned potter to learn how to program and run it, safely and with confidence. This by-the-hour option allows you to pick the skill that you would like to focus on, without the commitment of keeping work and needing to return. We will only book the time needed to go over what you want to practice. Graduates of my 9-hour course receive a discount: $50/hr
Virtual Live-Help Sessions
For beginner wheel-throwers with their own space
I've been teaching novice wheel-throwers for many years, and have helped fix thousands of wobbly pots. If you have your own wheel and are just getting started, but need coaching through the basics (hand positioning, pressure on the clay, how to correct when things get wobbly, how to trim and finish your pots, etc), I can help! We can set up an hour session over Zoom or Facetime where I can watch you throw and help make suggestions or corrections where needed. I can also demonstrate from my end if it helps (Kickwheel or Electric) $45/Hour
HOOKED FROM THE START: I took my first Ceramics class while I was in college and immediately fell in love. I knew from the start that it would be a life-long relationship. I was at school to become a teacher, but I applied for and received a semester-exchange opportunity at (then) Buckinghamshire University in England in their Ceramics and Glass program. I graduated from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania with a Major in (Art) Education and a Minor in Ceramics.
TEACHING EXPERIENCE: I have enjoyed teaching art for 20+ years. I spent over 10 years in a public high school that had a full ceramics program with throwing and hand-building as part of the curriculum. I also ran my business, Art with Miss Melissa, and taught local art classes and organized art-parties for children ages Pre-K through 8th grade. Now, along with making and selling my own work, I still love to share this passion for art and the making-process and help others create their own mark with clay.
CERTIFICATION: I hold active teaching certificates in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for grades K-12 and have up-to-date teaching clearances. My business is insured through Hartford.
A much younger version of myself in my first Ceramics course at Kutztown University. 1996