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Education Seminars

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Books and classes abound to teach you how to make things out of clay, but what about everything else the books don’t tell you? To answer all those pesky questions, the Archie Bray Foundation Clay Business is presenting a series of educational seminars to teach participants basic technical information about clay, glazes and firing. Designed especially for teachers and home hobbyists who love to work with clay but never received formal training. These seminars will explain all of the details of doing it on your own.

All sessions are approved by the Montana Office of Public Instruction for four credits each of teacher renewal units.

*To register, click on the classes below.

*Registration information below.


Electric Kiln Repairs

Next seminar to be announced. 

This demonstration workshop will cover the basics of electric kiln repair—changing elements, replacing relays and damaged bricks and installing a new thermocouple. This session will also explain general kiln maintenance, repair costs and what repairs can wait and what repairs need immediate attention. 

This is a great class for teachers, anyone with their own kiln or anyone thinking about buying a used kiln.



Setting Up Your Own Studio

2015 date to be announced.

Are you thinking about setting up your own home studio? Do you have a kiln and you're not sure how to set it up? Are you an art teacher new to ceramics and not sure what to do next? This session will cover the basic equipment found in a home studio, decision making factors for purchasing large equipment--including used items, the pros and cons of making your own glazes versus buying premixed glazes, considerations for layout of the physical studio space with a special focus on electric kiln power requirements, basic safety in the studio, material storage, and clay recycling methods.

Primarily geared for home hobbyists setting up a personal studio, but teachers with smaller clay programs will benefit as well.



Glaze Defects

2015 date to be announced.

This is a must attend session for anyone firing their own work. At some point your glaze didn't turn out and you weren't sure why. This session will explain common glaze defects like pinholing, bloating, blistering, crazing, and crawling and cover some simple ways to fix or avoid those problems.

If you have finished pieces with glaze problems, bring them.



Ceramics 101

2015 date to be announced.

This seminar will cover the basics of practical ceramics and terminology. Where does clay come from? What are the different types of clay and firing temperatures and how do we choose which clay to work with? What is a glaze?

This is a great class for beginners, art teachers new to ceramics and anyone with a lot of questions. Bring them all, you will get answers.

Please note this is an informational class only. This is not a hands-on pottery making class.



Using Your Electric Kiln

Next seminar to be announced. 

Are you wondering about how to get the most out of your electric kiln firings? This is a perfect class for anyone new to firing their own work in an electric kiln. This session will discuss how to program, load and fire electric kilns for bisque and glaze. We will also cover routine maintenance for kilns.



Registration Information

• Please register by following the links above, calling the Clay Business at 406-442-2521 or by email.

• All informational seminars are 4 hours long and take place on a Saturday from 1–5 p.m. in Helena at the Archie Bray Foundation in the Resident Center conference room, and will be taught by Clay Business Retail Sales Manager Joshua Rysted.

• The fee for each seminar is $40 per person.

• The Clay Business will be open before and immediately after each session for participants.

• Payment in full is due at the time of registration. Cash, Check, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted.

• A minimum of 5 people are required for each workshop to run, maximum of 15 people.

• Unless stated otherwise, full refunds less a $15 administrative fee will be made up to one week before the workshop.


About the Instructor

joshua-headshot.jpg The voice of the Clay Business, Joshua Rysted has been answering all types of questions at the Bray since 2006. There is more than a good chance that if you’ve called the Clay Business then you’ve talked to Joshua. He is a working potter and lover of technical ceramic information. Joshua is familiar with clays, glaze materials, electric kilns and studio equipment. He shares information in the manner in which he would like to hear it—straightforward and thorough.


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