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Fall 2021 Workshops & Classes

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Fall Classes & Workshops

September 21 - December 30

Registration is now open!

Visiting Artists

The Narrative Figure

with Kelly and Kyle Phelps

Saturday, October 16 | 1 - 4pm

Kelly and Kyle Phelps will demonstrate a variety of techniques they use to create figurative ceramic relief work with an emphasis on storytelling. The twins will share their process from start to finish on how their work is created and discuss how the use of the figure can be the perfect vehicle to communicate topics like but not limited to social/political, environmental issues, race, religion, class, sexuality, gender, poverty, war, and other issues of our time. Sequential topics that range from initial idea generation, inspiration from music, pictorial documentation, personal interviews, site visits, material meaning, and other related topics that inspires and informs their work will be explained. Formal aspects of armature/relief board construction, composition, scale/proportion, figure sculpting, surface treatment, hollowing, drying, and firing techniques, and final presentation will be revealed. By the end of the workshop, each student will have a better understanding of how to produce their own ceramic figurative narrative. In this workshop, the twins will create high relief figurative-narratives that will be influenced by their blue-collar working-class background.

Sankofa: Writing New Narratives

with Jason Vasser-Elong

September 29 | 6 – 7:30 pm

Jason Vasser-Elong will conduct a writing exercise around the idea of memory and history. Inspired by Alicia Piller's exhibition, Unearthed: Time Keeping Mound City, Jason will discuss how through this region's past civilizations and powerful social political events, how we form our own sense of place and identity. The confluence of memory lives in shared histories. Through dialogue, the narratives we have inherited will be challenged. Ekphrastic poetry, by observation, will allow space for new stories as we remember that like a Blazing Star, our histories can be relit, relearned and reimagined. Photo by Jennifer Goldring.

Exploring the Depths of Surface Design

with Mike Gesiakowski

Saturday, November 13 | 1:00 - 5:00pm

Join ceramicist Mike Gesiakowski at Craft Alliance as he demonstrates his techniques to achieve depth in the surfaces of his work. He will illustrate the use of different ceramic materials that he uses in his process, as well as his vinyl masking methods to create his historical and architecturally inspired surface designs. Discussions will center on the clay surface as canvas, use of imagery and symbolism, architectural content and technical explanations.


Sustainable Wood-Fire

Experience atmospheric wood-fire with Dan Barnett at his Watermark Studios in Worden, IL. An atmospheric firing process (salt, soda, and wood) is the interaction of a clay surface with fusible materials that are added to the kiln during the firing process to form a glaze on the clay. Dan has developed a high-efficiency, fast-fire wood kiln that uses a small amount of wood sustainably harvested from his land.

Small Sculpture

Don't let ceramic sculpture intimidate you! Join Kimberly Mayden to learn the basics of small-scale ceramic sculpture. Starting with a ball of clay that fits in the palm of your hand, learn to sculpt a solid form, carve and hollow it out, and reassemble.

Hand Building: Level 1

Work in clay using your hands as the tools! Learn basic hand-building techniques such as coil, slab, and pinching methods to explore tableware forms and sculptural ideas. You will learn basic surface design techniques using glazes, slips, sgraffito, resist, and carving to get your decorating skill set started!

Hand Building: Level 2

Develop your hand-building skills while working on projects of your own choosing. Figurative, abstract, functional, or sculptural, you will learn the necessary techniques to successfully complete your artwork. Students work on independent projects while receiving consultation, technical demonstrations, and critiques of their work.

Figurative Hand Building

In this course, students will explore sculpting parts of the figure or the whole figure by learning hand building skills; slab, coil, and draping methods. Explore and focus on pushing the boundaries of proportions into distortions and exaggerations of figurative forms. Prerequisite: Handbuilding: Level 1

Slab Built Dinnerware

Learn to use soft slab, hard slab, and templates to create functional dinnerware! This class will also guide you through the basic finishing processing of surface techniques in glazing and decoration.

Surface Design & Decoration

In a decorative rut? Add fresh, new techniques to your design tool box! In this course, you will explore exciting ways to enhance your ceramic surfaces using classic decorative techniques like sgraffito, inlay, and resists; while adding digital stencil design, lithography printing, and screen printing to the mix. Demonstrations in the last week of class will include design and application strategies for the combination of multiple techniques. You will leave this class with a personal collection of reusable silk screens and machine-cut stencils for future use!

Surfaces for Functional Ware

In this course, the instructor will guide you through building functional forms on the wheel and presenting surface techniques that will enrich your ceramic artwork. The class will focus on building surfaces from wet work through the glazing process and will cover the fundamentals of making forms, plus stamps and sprig molds, slip techniques, brushwork, glazes, and how to apply and layer these materials for a successful firing. Push your development and build your technical skills in ceramics.

Wheel Throwing: Level 1

Learn how to throw pots on a wheel. This wheel-throwing course focuses on skill development and form. Explore fundamental techniques of throwing cylindrical shapes, bowls, and plates. Take this class as many times as you like to gain proficiency. Classes include individual and group instruction.

Wheel Throwing: Level 2

If you have experience on the wheel, this class focuses on refining your technique and developing a personal aesthetic. Demonstrations and discussions will focus on concepts, the relationship between form and function, and advanced wheel and glaze techniques.

Advanced Wheel: Jars, Pitchers & Mugs

Build your throwing skills by learning to make serving sets! We will focus on the visual relationship between objects as well as technical aspects on creating parts to build functional forms. Create pottery that functions beautifully and is perfect for coffee or tea time with creamers, sugars, cookie jars, mugs and more! Let's do coffee!

Throwing: Construction & Assembly

Explore more techniques on the potter's wheel by assembling and constructing parts! Use your wheel throwing skills to refine forms focusing on proportion and scale to create sculptural pieces.

Thrown, Stacked & Altered

Learn how to use the pottery wheel as a tool to create forms that can be combined with hand-building techniques. This process is perfect for making complex vessels and structures. Alter wheel-thrown shapes into geometric, abstract, whimsical, or functional vessels.

Spouts, Lids & Handles

This class focuses on creating multiple parts to build forms on and off of the potter’s wheel. Refine your throwing techniques by learning spouts, lids, and handles! Take time to understand the function, and your personal aesthetic, of pouring vessels. Learn steps of attaching and building clay parts to advance your clay forms. Demonstrations and discussions will focus on the relationship between form and function, advanced wheel and altering techniques, glazing and surface treatment, as well as your personal thought process.

Glaze Application

Students will focus on using the glaze kitchen tools and learning best glazing practices, dipping, pouring, and spraying. This course will also implement exciting surface design techniques like wax resist, masking, and blocking. Please prepare and bring 6-10 bisque wares from your other courses.

Glazing for Atmospheric Kilns

Experience atmospheric firing and watch the clay surface interact with soda ash! Students will need to prepare pieces for bisque to use in this course. Explore glaze testing and glaze development in the glaze kitchen for the soda atmosphere.

Members Studios

This extra studio time is available by appointment only to Craft Alliance members


Centrifugal Casting: Projects 1

Learn how to create models to cast into metal with the centrifugal casting machine. Explore additive and subtractive wax techniques as well as the “ins and outs” of casting organic or plastic materials. Castings can be used as design components, jewelry pieces, or small sculptural objects. Basic fabrication and surface finishing techniques will be covered. Students will have the opportunity to create two castings. Tools, casting grain, and basic supplies provided.

Centrifugal Casting: Projects 2

This class is for intermediate to advanced students who wish to expand and refine their knowledge of centrifugal casting techniques. Students will create a vulcanized rubber mold, allowing them to create many wax model copies for the production of cast multiples. Tools, casting grain, and basic supplies provided.

Stone Setting Techniques

This in-depth class includes stone setting tips and techniques that every stone setter should know. Packed with examples and projects with plenty of practice settings, you will learn the basics of capturing a stone including bezel, tube and tab setting. Add some sparkle to your jewelry projects while expanding your metalsmithing knowledge. This class covers many contemporary stone setting designs and techniques. Students will leave with a comprehensive understanding and building blocks for effective stone setting.

Jewelry Foundations: Level 1

This class is designed for students with little or no prior metalworking experience. Learn traditional metalsmithing techniques such as sawing, piercing, forming, soldering, surface embellishment, and finishing.

Jewelry Foundations: Level 2

This class is designed for the beginning metalsmith who has completed at least one class and will commit to additional practice in the basic skills necessary to the craft before continuing on to more advanced classes. Students will complete projects, both directed and independent, which combine skills such as sawing, filing, texturing, soldering, forming, and finishing, as well as becoming more proficient with tool usage.

Jewelry & Metalsmithing: Level 3

This course builds on traditional metalworking techniques learned in beginning classes. Intermediate students continue to refine technical skills and acquire new ones such as basic stone setting. Guidance in design will be provided in making one-of-a-kind jewelry, small scale sculpture, and functional objects.

Advanced Jewelry & Metalsmithing

In this advanced class, students will receive individualized attention as they work on self-directed projects of their own choosing, whether jewelry or small objects. With the guidance of an instructor, students will advance their proficiency and expand their skill set in order to problem solve as well as further develop their own unique aesthetic and voice. Techniques elaborated on may include findings, hollow construction, soldering and soldering set-ups, forming, textures, stone setting, cold connections, chasing and repoussé. Students are responsible for supplying their own metal.

Enamel Imagery

Bring imagery and color to your metalwork! Learn to apply vitreous enamel to copper and fire it in a kiln. Then, create decals using images from black & white photos, prints, or your own drawings to fire onto the enamel's surface. Completed enamels can be used to create a pendant, earrings, or a bracelet.

Member Studio

This extra studio time is available by appointment only to Craft Alliance members.


Beginning Woodworking

Learn the fundamentals, safety, and techniques used in the Wood Studio by making projects. Create a wooden joiners mallet and a carved spoon. Spend time learning and understanding some of the power tools and hand tools used for woodworking.

Introduction to Woodturning

This course is an introduction to woodturning on student lathes. Students will learn basic woodturning techniques, including safe speeds for various object sizes, mounting your work, making adjustments, choosing the right type of wood, how to keep lathe tools sharp, and much more!

Making Cutting Boards

Learn how to create a series of beautiful cutting boards by laminating, cutting and manipulating different hardwoods. We will start with a basic cheese board and get progressively more complex. Learn to use the bandsaw to make a curvy serving board and end up making an impressive chevron board. This 4 week course will cover and discuss types of wood, wood grain, laminating compositions, and the use of a planer. We will also use a chop saw, sander and a router. All skill levels welcome.

Making a Shaker End Table

Honesty, utility, and simplicity. These guiding principles of the Shaker way of life found expression in their execution of craft, perhaps no more revered than their considerable legacy in woodworking. The style is characterized by its minimalist design and commitment to quality. The result is a lightness in space afforded by well thought out and executed joinery.This class will focus on the layout and execution of mortise and tenon joints, sliding dovetails, and for the more adventurous, half-blind and through dovetails. The basic skills covered will be dimensioning lumber, care and maintenance of hand tools, and basic finishing techniques.


Drawing Fundamentals

This is a drawing foundation course. The focus of this class is to develop visual accuracy, basic drawing skills, and to become acquainted with the use of a variety of drawing tools and surfaces. Drawing fundamentals is a great foundation to add to your sketchbook of ideas and push your artwork to the next level!

Drawing: Level 2

The focus of Drawing: Level 2 is to continue developing visual accuracy, basic drawing skills, and to strengthen abilities gained in Drawing Fundamentals. A variety of drawing tools including working with color pastels, brush and ink, and conte' crayons will be explored to develop artistic capabilities.

Printmaking Fundamentals

In this class students will develop skills that explore principles of relief printing and collagraph printing. New processes such as Mokulito and solvent transfers will be introduced. Students are encouraged to experiment by combining processes to create visually interesting prints.


Introduction to Crochet: Wearables

Learn basic stitches and explore a variety of yarns and a hook to create wearables; scarves, hats, and beautiful knits! The beginning techniques, patterning, and color matching of crocheting wearables will be explored. Crochet is a wonderful craft that will open up many creative possibilities in fiber!

Introduction to Embroidery: Basic Stitching

Review basic stitches and then advance weekly with new stitches. Design and transfer your designs, explore a variety of threads and substrates and discover possible finishing techniques. Embroidery can open many creative possibilities for you!

Introduction to Sewing: Garment Construction

Explore basic sewing machine skills and hand sewing techniques like hemming and basting. This is a 6 week course, on the second class meeting, we will meet at Jackman's Fabrics on North Lindbergh, Jackman's is closed on our Sunday class time, so we will meet there on Saturday, November 13th at 1:00 pm. Students will choose their own fabric, pattern, thread, notions, these purchases are not included in the cost of the class. Students will be learn how to make a simple skirt or an apron with a pattern, while consulting with the instructor about which patterns can be managed with a beginning skill level.

Introduction to Indigo Dyeing

This is a great class for quilters or fabric fanatics! Design and create varying patterns and unique textiles to later transform into wearable or functional objects. Learn indigo dyeing and produce samples for inspiration, as well as prepare fabrics for the dyeing process! Different pattern techniques will be explored like, Sashiko stitching, knotting, clipping, post wrapping, and other creative methods!

Indigo Dyeing: Six Scarves, Six Weeks

Learn indigo dyeing methods by creating six beautiful scarves. This course will cover various shibori techniques, layering textures, exploring stitching, and screen printing on cotton and silk fabric. Have you heard of Scoured Organza? This is a process that removes sericin from Organza, in the non-resisted areas. This process will be demonstrated to discover up to three colors with one dye color!

Floor Loom Weaving

Discover the magic of weaving on a four-harness floor loom for 6 weeks! Beginners will learn to warp the loom and weave basic patterns. Intermediate students will explore the advanced process of pattern drafts or tapestry techniques. Project planning and material selection will also be covered. Creativity with color and texture effects are emphasized in this weaving course.

Dyeing and Mixing: Scarf

This wearables workshop will explore Shibori techniques and indigo dyeing to create a beautiful, wearable wrap or a scarf. Using a beautiful natural fiber scarf as a base, learn to pattern and composition. Wear it, gift it, or hang it as a conversational wall piece!

Textiles: Print, Stitch and Felt

Explore textiles through printmaking, felting, and embroidery stitching!

Beginning Weaving: Cricket Loom

Come learn the basics of weaving in this three-hour, four-week introductory course. We’ll start by learning how to select materials, warp our Cricket Looms, and plan projects. From there, we’ll get to work making our textiles, exploring different techniques for creating patterns and textures. Even as a beginner, completed weavings can be made into a variety of functional objects, including handbags, belts, and placemats!

Stitch Along! with Carlene Fullerton

Take a midday break and join us for a stitching session full of great conversations, community, and craft! We invite you to bring your latest knitting, embroidery, or crochet project into a circle of friends. Choose one of 6 Wednesdays to join us! Guest Artist, Carlene Fullerton will be hosting, Stitch Along and can mentor and assist in any new embroidery stitching. This event is free and open to the public, please wear a face mask at all times.

Member Studio: Fibers

This extra studio time is available by appointment only to Craft Alliance members


Fused Glass Coasters

Come and create a set of fused glass coasters in the new Glass Studio! Learn fusing basics to assemble glass compositions and prepare four handmade coasters. Make a set for your home or give them as a thoughtful handmade gift. Your artwork will be fired in the glass kiln and will be ready for pick up after the weekend.

Introduction to Glass Bead Making

In three intense, fun-filled hours, learn to wind hot molten glass on steel to form colorful glass beads! Explore a variety of flameworking techniques and go home with a handful of beads at the end of this workshop. No prior experience is required.

Stained Glass: Framed Composition

Learn to use a pattern to cut, foil, and solder a framed composition out of stained glass and wood to hang in your home! Choose designs and patterns in exciting colors and tints. Easily customize and create a beautiful piece of artwork that will brighten any wall!

Fused Glass Pendants

Learn basic glass fusing techniques to create beautiful, wearable pendants. This workshop will explore designing your dynamic wearable by cutting various glass; frits, canes, stringers for outstanding colors and fun textures!

Glass Fusing: Jewelry & Wearables

Learn the basics of glass fusing to create jewelry and decorative wearables! Explore how to use and incorporate various fused glass to create different textures and colorful effects in your wearable forms. Explore creating components for your jewelry with glass confetti, frits, rods, and stringers.

Introduction to Glass: Level 1

This course is taught by four glass instructors, each class meeting you will receive new instruction! Explore the different types of glass; melting and fusing concepts within kiln firing, annealing, and soldering by exploring lampworking, fusing, and stained glass. Consider designs for glass beads, fused pendants, fused surfaces, and stained glass compositions in order to create functional and sculptural pieces.

Glass Bead Making: Level 1

This is an introduction to lampworking course, learn how to manipulate glass by using heat from a small torch! Create unique glass bead forms using decorative techniques with glass stringers, frits, and cane. Explore methods of making your new glass beads into colorful and textured wearables.

Members Studios

This extra studio time is available by appointment only to Craft Alliance members

Youth Classes

Ages 10-15

Flaming Glass

Learn to work with a torch and molten glass to create small, sculptural glass objects. Explore a variety of flame working techniques and make beads, animals, and sculptures from colorful glass rods.

Learning to Weave!

Creative kids can come learn the basics of weaving in this 2-hour, 4-week course. We’ll start by learning how to select materials, warp our looms, and set up a new project. From there, we’ll get to work creating colorful textiles and weaving fun patterns. Finished pieces can range from handbags and belts, to placemats and wall-hangings.

Hot Glass Jewelry

Play with fire! Melt glass with a torch and pattern, shape, and design into beads. String your colorful, textured beads into a wearable bracelet or a necklace. Learn a variety of flame working techniques used to make unique and colorful glass beads in this camp.

Learning to Sew!

In this introductory class, students will learn the basics of both machine and hand sewing. We’ll learn how to thread a sewing machine, wind a bobbin, and sew a seam. We’ll also explore hand-sewing techniques, along with a variety of fun embroidery stitches. Over the course of four weeks we’ll work through several projects together, ranging from survival skills like repairing ripped clothing to making our own tote-bags!

Youth Camps

December 28-30

Drawing 101

Draw up your fun ideas with a variety of pencils, inks, and pastels! Create a wide range of artworks; illustrate cityscapes, people, animals, plants and more! Color, line, texture, perspective and your imagination are all explored in this camp.

Dig into Dirt

Explore fun ways to build in clay; create mugs, bowls, sculptures, and tiles. Learn hand building techniques such as coil, slab, and pinching. Decorate and texture clay artworks by using tools and colorful underglazes. Projects will be fired and ready for pick-up two weeks after the last day of camp.


Explore fibers through festive techniques; stitching with colorful threads, tie-dye and fabric printing, and using buttons and beads to embellish! Learn how to join pieces of cloth to create decorative and wearable constructions.

Spinning Mud

Round and round we throw! Campers will have fun using the potter’s wheel and gaining new skills in clay; wedging, centering, forming, and even glazing with a colorful palette. Projects will be fired and ready for pick-up two weeks after the last day of camp.

Flaming Glass

Learn to work with a torch and molten glass to create small, sculptural glass objects. Explore a variety of flame working techniques and make beads, animals, and sculptures from colorful glass rods.

Melt it Like it's Hot

Harness the power of fire in our metals studio. Use molten metal casting techniques along with fabrication and soldering skills to create small objects from copper and brass. Get ready to “fire up” the torch and fabricate small sculptures and jewelry!