Independent Study and Mentoring Program

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Next Session: November 1, 2022 – October 31, 2024 Are you a potter or ceramic artist who feels the need to push your skills and design abilities to the next level? Do you want a mentor to partner with you in your journey in clay? Our Independent Study and Mentoring (ISM) Program works with potters who want to develop or refine their own bodies of work. Our ISM Program is for both the emerging and seasoned artist. The program allows you to hone skills among a vibrant and creative community.   “I’m so grateful for the ISM program because it’s given me the space and resources to explore my own style beyond what I ever could have expected. Being in such a supportive community encourages me to push my artistic boundaries is an amazing experience.” – Avery Wells, 2017-2019         This 1-3 year study is built upon the historical tradition of learning from master potters and the passing down of knowledge and experience. As an ISM student, you receive individual input from seasoned professionals. You’ll be immersed in a flexible environment that is perfect for developing a body of work that is unique to you. Whether you aspire to earn a living in ceramics, or simply wish to create more space for clay in your life, our ISM program provides the structure to live out your artistic dreams.    

“At 60 years old, I found a whole new person: i — an artist.” – Tracy Hawkins, 2016-2018

        The ISM Program may be right for you if you are an emerging potter, or if you have been working with clay for years but wish to explore new avenues in your work. The ISM program allows potters to have regular access to a studio (7 days a week), community with other potters, opportunities to explore multiple firing techniques, mentorship and instruction from professional and teaching ceramic artists. We believe that in two years a potter can hone their skills and develop a unique body of work that will equip them to launch into a variety of creative ceramic pursuits. This program, like all things at The Village Potters Clay Center, is designed to be highly relational with one-on-one meetings with mentors, group discussions, and critiques. In many ways, this program is customized to the goals of each ISM student. Whether you plan to be a professional potter or a part-time creative, this program will afford you the opportunity to go as far as you wish.

The Studio:

Over 2,400 square feet with designated individual work spaces (with your own shelving units, wheel, and table) + community work space (handbuliding tables + glaze mixing area) / slab roller / extruder / additional shelving in kiln room / glaze kitchen / spray booth / kilns (oxidation, gas reduction, raku, kazegama (wood ash)), on-site purchasing of Laguna Clays, on-site purchasing of various tools in our tool shop.  

“The ISM program at The Village Potters is truly an invaluable experience. My technique and confidence in my work has grown exponentially due to the mentorship by master resident potters and flexible studio accessibility to practice. I have always been interested in glaze development in particular and this program has not only encouraged me to pursue that interest but provided access to the materials, educational workshops, and insightful guidance from mentors to enable my glaze exploration to be successful. I entered this program with very limited knowledge of how to fire any kiln and now can not only confidently fire my own electric kiln but have had such fun helping fire gas reduction kilns, raku/alternative firings, and even a Kazagama kiln. I truly believe the ISM program and TVP community as a whole offered everything I could dream of to transform me into a refined and knowledgeable potter.” – Keira Peterson, 2017-2019 and 2021-2022.


The Program:

7-day access / various demonstrations each month (online and in person) / one-on-one meetings mentors / critiques / discounted intermediate & advanced classes and workshops

The Costs:

$425 / month or $4,845 yearly (discount offered when paid in full)

Payment Options:

yearly or monthly (1 – 3 year commitment)

Additional Costs:

clay / firings / glaze mixing / use of glaze kitchen ($20 per month) (small test batches are no charge)

Mentoring Staff:

Sarah Wells Rolland, mentor – honing excellent skills, plays an integral and supportive role in empowering strategies in reaching goals in clay. 32 years in clay Lori Theriault, mentor – honing excellent skills with an emphasis on functional pots, with specialities in business strategy and marketing. 20 years in clay. Julia Mann, technical mentor – honing masterful skills and learning every aspect of operating a functioning working studio, problem solver. 40 years in clay Additional staff available in areas of skill, business, and alternative atmospheres. *Apprenticeships (scholarships) available on a competitive basis. Please inquire if interested. For additional information or questions contact us at or call us (828) 253-2424.

TO APPLY:   View Application Here

Application deadline for November 1, 2023 entry is Friday, September 1, 2023.