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. After 12 hours of firing, the kiln reaches its full temperature and wood ash glazes the pottery.
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!
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.
Making a Ceramic Stein & Scratch Brewery Tasting
Join Stephanie Dukat of Carbondale, IL for a handbuilding and tasting workshop. Learn handbuilding and decorating techniques to create your own personalized ceramic stein. As an added bonus, taste several seasonal beers brewed by Scratch Brewery of Ava, IL–ranked by Men’s Journal as “America’s Coolest Microbrewery”
Students will work with a clothed model to sculpt life-like heads and full figures. Working over an armature, you will sculpt a lifelike head (8-12"), and small gestural full figures, then hollow. Special emphasis on facial features and hands. Low fire clay and glazes will be used to make the surfaces come to life.
Learn to mix colored porcelain (cone 6). Students will mix line blends, triaxial blends, and wedge pigment into clay to make a range of colors. You will make small tests in the first class that will be fired for the following class. Students will then look at the tests and use the colors in their own unique ways!
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 processes of surface techniques in glazing and decoration.
Soda Glazing in the Kiln
Experience atmospheric firing and see the clay surface interact with soda ash! Students should prepare pieces for bisque. You will also learn glaze testing and development in a soda atmosphere. *Prerequisite: Completion of both a wheel and hand-building class.
Surface Design & Decoration
Malaika Tolford & Bev Aroh
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!
Plaster Mold Making for the Ceramic Process
This specialized workshop focuses on the uses and practicalities of molds and plaster in the ceramic process. Basic and advanced mold-making techniques including one part, two part, and three part molds will be explored. Learn how to make your own mold soap and ceramic slip during this workshop! Note: this course will not include jigger & jolly or pressure-casting molds. Prerequisite: Any Craft Alliance clay course, Handbuilding or Wheel Throwing.
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.
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.
Wheel 2: Mug Mastery
Take mug making to the next level by learning to refine your current mugs. This workshop will focus on the fundamentals of form, volume, handles, rims and bottoms; as well as the aesthetic choices that will help to create a more individualized body of work.
Wheel 2: Shape Shifting
Learn how to use the potter's 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.
Robert Thomas Mullen
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.
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.
An introduction to metal inlay techniques using controlled heat and pressure. Often called ""marriage of metal"" this process allows you to add dots, lines and other patterns onto the surface of your metal. Prerequisite: Jewelry Foundations. Must have experience with piercing, filing, sawing, and high temperature soldering.
Raising is the process by which a flat sheet of metal is formed into a three dimensional, seamless, hollow vessel through a series of hammer strikes causing it metal to compress and move. This class will introduction to the fundamentals of the process.
Making a Cookie Cutter
In this workshop students will learn to bend, solder and finish a cookie cutter of their own design. Come in and personalize your holiday traditions with us!
Making a Pewter Ornament
In this workshop, students will learn how to carve molds out of cuttlebone. These will then be used to cast small pewter ornaments, pendants or charms. Students may be able to cast multiples time permitting.
Making a Cocktail Spoon
Introduction to cold forging, a process by which metal is shaped through a series of direct hammer blows forcing it to take a desired form. Students will forge a spoon with one piece of heavy gauge copper stock using heat, various hammers, and domed metal surfaces.
Making a Tea Scoop
Customize your tea time with a handmade tea scoop for measuring out the perfect brew. Students will learn how to form the bowl and handle of their scoop, embellish the surfaces with texture, and solder the two components together. Students should have experience with filing, sawing, hammering, and high-temperature soldering.
Making an Etched Cuff Bracelet
Bring in your favorite black & white image, pattern or photo and transfer it to copper. Students will learn about a variety of resists, including PnP paper, to mask off their metal and prepare it for etching. Once etched, the copper will be formed into a bespoke cuff bracelet. Prerequisite: Metalsmithing 1 or equivalent.
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. Use these skills to create jewelry, functional objects and decorations. Tools, copper or brass sheet, and other basic supplies provided.
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.
In this class, students will continue refining and practicing their skills, while also learning new techniques that can expand design possibilities. The course is student-directed, so the topics we cover will depend on the needs and interests of the class. Techniques taught may include forming, cuttlebone and broom straw casting, tube, flush, combination bezel setting, reticulation and Keum-boo. Students can always expect to receive individualized help with designing their pieces and completing their personal projects.
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.
Sterling Earrings with the Hydraulic Press
Create two pairs of earrings in this workshop, one for you and one for a friend. The hydraulic press allows you to produce pillowy 3D forms from a flat sheet of metal without marring its surface. Students will learn various techniques to apply texture to their metal as well as instruction on how to cut out an acrylic matrix die. The die allows for the replication of multiple puffed forms of the desired shape. Finishing techniques will also be discussed. Prerequisite: Metalsmithing 1
Member Studio: Metal
This extra studio time is available by appointment only to Craft Alliance members.
Making a Candlestick
Elevate your table light with a handmade wooden candlestick. Students will transform a wooden blank on the lathe into a holder of their own design. No previous woodturning experience is needed.
Making a Wooden Pen
Make 2 ball point pens on the lathe in just 3 hours! Learn the skills needed to prep, turn and finish your creations and take home 2 completed pens. Pen kits and wood will be provided. No previous woodturning experience is needed.
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.
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.
Making a Wood Ornament
Create festive wooden ornaments to give as gifts or use for decorations. Learn the basics of turning wood on a lathe to create the simple forms, such as snowmen, trees and holiday lights, and then use stain to color the pieces.
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!
Advanced Bowl Turning
Take your wood turning skills even further! Explore design, wood selection and how to maintain consistent wall thickness, as well as natural edge and footed bowls. *Prerequisite: 1 previous woodturning class.
Basic Hand Sewing
This course introduces a variety of useful and ornamental hand sewing stitches and techniques that encompasses everything from basic mending to “pro” hacks for fitting. Students will also learn the proper way to attach fastenings, historical garment stitches and fine finishing techniques. Class will culminate in the design and creation of an original project utilizing hand stitching.
Basic Machine Sewing
Machine sewing is a great skill to have, no matter who you are. In this course students will learn to run a sewing machine and a serger and utilize notions like bias tape and zippers. Basic construction techniques from cutting to stitching will culminate in creating a project showing off a variety of skills.
Beadwork & Embellishments
Feeling like your wardrobe is looking a little drab as of late? Looking to spice things up with a sequin, spangle or seed bead? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this one day workshop you will learn the basics of how to apply unique embellishments to fabric. We will go over supplies needed, how to use beads and sequins and how best to apply them to wearables. Bring a garment that could use a little sprucing up or use fabric provided in the studio. No experience necessary!
Darning, Mending & Sewing
Learn to repair your ripped jeans and hole-y shirts with Alexis Giger of Little Cliff, a St. Louis-based mending and clothing repair studio. In this class, students will learn how to repair holes in woven garments with fabric patches and hand sewing techniques. Each student will be able to experiment with sewing front and back applied patches, and are encouraged to bring their own garments to mend. Participants will learn how to make their repairs nearly invisible, or they can choose to experiment with decorative visible mending. The goal is to extend the lives of clothing according to each wearer's style!
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.
Making a Felt and Stitch Ornament
Create a unique felt ornament or decoration with a canvas of fleece and colorful threads. You will learn needle felting techniques, create a composition of imagery, and complete your work by learning different types of embroidery stitching.
Introduction to Embroidery
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 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!
Intermediate to Indigo Dyeing
Take your dyeing even further with beautiful indigo. Students will be able to explore more techniques using this ancient colorant through exploration and experimentation.
Devoré Fabrics: Fiber Etching Techniques
Explore the surface design technique of devoré. Using an etchant on a mixed fiber fabric the chemical burns away the natural fibers creating translucent designs and patterns. Participants will experiment with freehand, repeat patterns, and stencil methods to create their own patterns on fabric including satin and velvets.
Learn how to dye textiles with plant based dyes. In this course, students will learn the foundations and history of natural dyeing. They will experiment with different types of fibers and dyes, including foraged materials, fresh plant matter, and dried pigments. Students will leave with an understanding of the processes of pretreatment and different dye techniques, such as immersion dyeing, bundle dyeing, tataki zome, and various folding techniques, as well as a variety of their own plant dyed goods.
Rust & Tea Dyeing
Enter a new world of dyeing techniques using rusting items. Things that we thought were throwaways now transform textiles into fabrics of beauty. Tea will be combined with the rust to add another level and more depth to your creations.
The Art of Weaving
In this class, students will learn how to execute their own weaving project using a table-top loom. This includes (but not limited to) calculating material based on design, loom set up, discussing material and color choices, group discussions on weaving as a contemporary art medium, and individual instruction throughout the process. All levels welcome.
Member Studio: Fiber
This extra studio time is available by appointment only to Craft Alliance members.
Print & Paper Arts
Learn basic techniques for making handmade paper sheets with natural plant fiber pulp (abaca). We will use basic sheet-forming skills combined with lamination, and adding other bits or fibers, to make beautifully textured paper. Your sheets can be framed as art or used for cards, collage, or other art forms. Participants should wear nonslip shoes and clothes that you don’t mind getting (slightly) wet.
Bookmaking with Print Media
This in-person workshop for beginners introduces participants to the art of bookbinding. Learn how to use bookbinding tools and materials to make multiple book structures. Participants will be guided through the process of creating their own zine, sketchbook, or artists’ book using techniques including one-sheet books, pamphlet stitch books, accordion books, stab binding books, multi-signature softcover books, and hardcover accordion books! Students will develop the skills needed to create a variety of books and by the end of the course, each student will have created their own artist book and the class will engage in a final critique and discussion of all the work produced!
Stephen Da Lay
After exploring Drawing Fundamentals with us, discover your personal style by taking a further dive into perspective, form, lighting, value, and composition. Use different drawing mediums and become more familiar with charcoal, pencil, inks, and other media. Explore your ideas and new compositions as you add to your sketchbook of ideas and push your artwork to the next level!
Hand Papermaking: Basic 3D Forms
Take your handmade paper beyond the flat sheet. Participants will make a variety of simple forms that can be covered with wet sheets or dipped in pulp. This workshop will use abaca fiber that results in a strong, translucent paper ideal for forms. Participants should wear nonslip shoes and clothes that you don’t mind getting (slightly) wet. This is an intermediate level class.
Making a Photo Album
In this workshop you will learn how to bind a custom photo album using the Secret Belgian Binding technique. This unique binding looks complicated but is simple to learn, and allows the pages to open flat. Your finished photo album will make a perfect gift or keepsake to store your memories.
Making Plantable Seed Tags
Learn the basics of papermaking in this hands-on workshop. Students will create gift tags from paper pulp and flower seeds that can be planted in the Spring.
Introduction to Acrylic Painting
In this class, students will explore the basic fundamentals of acrylic paint and color mixing. You will start with a simple still life to learn composition and painting skills. Principles like planes of color, light, shadow and line will be explored. The combination of all of these will enable you to create a successful composition.
Introduction to Etching
In this class you will learn the basics of the intaglio etching process. Each student will create at least one copper etching plate and print an edition from it. The edition will include at least 5 to 10 prints.
Introduction to Screenprinting
Explore silkscreen through drawing fluid and stencils. This course focuses on silkscreen practices without the use of the exposure unit. Over the class you will learn about screens, inks, papers and how to create screen-prints. The class will introduce monoprint, drawn resist, contact stencils, paper stencils, sun exposure and complimentary techniques. You will learn the fundamentals and while building skill and knowledge in the process of the serigraphy. Projects will explore paper, fabric and other substrates resulting in a diverse body of prints by the end of the course.
Introduction to Printmaking
Interested in exploring printmaking techniques? Introduction to Printmaking is a sampler class that orients beginning level printmakers in printmaking techniques and the printmaking studio. In this 6 week course, students will focus on relief and intaglio printmaking processes and leaving with print work in both processes.
Leather Wrap Journals
In this workshop, students will create a hand bound soft-cover book that can be used as a sketchbook or journal. With a leather cover and Italian longstitch binding, this book features exposed stitching, pages that lay flat when opened, and a wrap-around leather tie. You’ll be introduced to fundamental bookbinding techniques including folding, tearing, and stitching with traditional binding tools.
Making Handmade Paper Cards
Participants will learn the basics of forming handmade paper, playing with color, texture, shaped paper and inclusions. Grab a few friends and upgrade your stationary and craft game by making handmade paper.
Stephen Da Lay
The Mokulito class objective is to help participants to learn printmaking skills to produce artwork. Participants will learn how to prepare plate surfaces and apply various drawing materials to create an image. They will learn how to register plates, to add color plates, and to use techniques to roll up the plates. The final activity will be to make an edition of prints using their images.
Multiple Block Woodcut Printing
In this intermediate-level course, students will expand upon relief printing techniques by producing works that incorporate more than one carved block in their imagery. This can include jigsaw printing, where blocks are matched up together to form an image, blocks that are cut in unique forms and layered block printing to produced multi-layered, singular images. Students will also be encouraged to expand their approach to mark making with relief prints that can include abstract to representational imagery. We will collaborate with the Craft Alliance woodshop area to learn to operate basic woodshop tools to cut and measure our own blocks. This course is well-suited for those who already have basic, introductory level knowledge of relief printmaking and operating printmaking equipment looking to explore more extended methods to produce prints outside of traditional formats. Participants will produce hand-pulled, limited editions of work for each technique in class. Emphasis is also placed on developing critical judgment, aesthetic awareness, and visual vocabulary associated with talking about their own and other’s work. Students are encouraged to develop their work in a collaborative learning environment through critical review, mentoring, self-evaluation and discussions.
Relief Printmaking Basics
This class is centered around the art of relief printing. We will be using linoleum to carve designs and then print them onto fabric or paper (your choice). Linoleum is a super soft printing surface that makes carving into its surface feel like a hot knife through butter. Fear not if you have no experience in the printmaking world! This class will welcome you with open arms. Over the duration of the course, we will cover the tools needed, how to use a printmaking press and how to do it yourself if you want to continue your work at home.
The collograph is a process that involves both relief and intaglio style printing. It is a very versatile and explorative process that allows for creative mark making. Collagraph technique uses both additive and subtractive methods to create a matrix for printing, and utilized collage-like techniques to build an image out of various, textured materials like fabric, cardboard, grit, and more.
In this introductory-level 6 week course, beginner students will be introduced to the various joys and curiosities of glass bead making using a flameworking torch. Class begins with an overview of safety from the safe use of tools, equipment, and types of glass. Techniques offered in this class: simple bead shapes, frit and stringer application, heat control, and more complex surface decoration techniques as time permits. This class is designed for those with little or no prior torch work experience.
This class will explore the compression technique of putting flowers into marbles. This technique is typically used with borosilicate glass but we will be using soft glass in this class. Students should have a good understanding of heat control in glass as well as the ability to work with stringers.
Fun With Frit
Learn how to make glass beads and embellish them with crushed colorful glass (frits) for a wide variety of effects and decorations! Learn basic flame working techniques and how to decorate by melting and using glass frits. No prior experience is required.
Fused Glass Foundations
Warm up to kiln-worked glass in this introductory 5 week class. You’ll make a variety of your own glass projects that will teach you the basics of glass work in the kiln. You will design several functional and decorative pieces and you’ll learn how to cut glass, about compatibility and how glass changes in the kiln.
Kevin Heard & Mary Lou Ryan
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. No prior experience is required.
Making Beads & Decorations
Mary Lou Ryan
Make the holidays come alive with molten glass. You will learn multiple designs and techniques to create sculptural beads/decorations personalized for your very own holiday traditions. Prerequisite: Glass Beadmaking, Intro to Glass Beadmaking or Beginning Torchworking.
Making Halloween Beads
Mary Lou Ryan
Learn the tricks of sculpting hot glass beads into ghosts and goblins for a fun treat. Don't be scared! Your beads will be boo-tiful! Prerequisite: Glass Beadmaking, Introduction to Glass Beadmaking or Beginning Torchworking.
Take your lampworking skill to the next level, and learn to make lightweight, hollow glass beads in the flame. You'll begin by practicing making coiled disks on the mandrel, then join two of them together to make a hollow form. Finally, the real fun begins when you'll use "puffy" mandrels to create larger blown glass beads. We'll also cover techniques and tips on applying surface decoration to your hollow beads. Prerequisite: Glass Beadmaking, Introduction to Glass Beadmaking or Beginning Torchworking.
Introduction to Glass Beadmaking
Kevin Heard & Mary Lou Ryan
In four 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.
Making 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.
Member Studio: Glass
This extra studio time is available by appointment only to Craft Alliance members.
This course introduces the fundamental principles of Blacksmithing materials, tools, and techniques. Students will explore the essential skills necessary to hand-forged metal, such as hammer control, material handling, tapering, twisting, cutting, punching, and the like. Metal can be manipulated as a plastic material and offers enormous possibilities from traditional to contemporary designs. In this class we will explore these possibilities and expand on your creative vocabulary. This class is intended for beginners and requires no prior experience. Projects will be designed to help students develop enough proficiency to become self-directed in their designs and production.
Making a Cheese Knife
In this one-day workshop participants will make a simple cheese service knife or letter opener. No prior experience is necessary and all materials will be provided. Topics covered will be flattening and spreading metal, basic heat treating, food safe finishes. Participants should leave the class with a functional cheese knife or letter opener to use at home.
Making Hooks and Wall Hangers
This is a one-day workshop where participants will have the opportunity to make various hooks and wall hangers using the blacksmithing facility. No prior experience is necessary and all materials will be provided. Topics covered will be hammer basics, drawing a taper, bending and punching as well as putting on a burnt oil finish. By the end of the workshop students should walk away with finished hooks to hang your keys on or pots and coats from.
Craft After Hours
Craft After Hours: Marbled Silk Scarves
In this Craft After Hours, add some color to your day to day with a marbled scarf. Participants will learn the steps of marbling, an ancient decorative art form known for its colorful patterns and leave with a marbled scarf and stationary. Grab a few friends and bring some color and pattern into your life while enjoying complimentary refreshments.
Craft After Hours: Marbled Festive Decor
Get a head start on festive decor with the Craft After Hours. In the first session learn the basics of marbling on paper and fabric. In the second session transform your marbled material into festive garlands, bunting, cards, and more. Grab a few friends and upgrade your holiday decorations while enjoying complimentary refreshments.
Craft After Hours: Handmade Paper Stationery
In this Craft After Hours, participants will learn the basics of forming handmade paper, playing with color, texture, shaped paper and inclusions. Grab a few friends and upgrade your stationary and craft game by making handmade paper and enjoying complimentary refreshments.
Teen Lab: Relief Printmaking
In this Teen Lab studio, students will learn the fundamentals of relief printmaking with linoleum blocks--from design, carving, and printing. Using those blocks students will experiment printing on different materials and adding color in non-traditional ways. Students will leave with prints to keep and trade with their friends.
Teen Lab: Marbled Paper and Books
In this two part class learn how to make decorative papers to create your own hand-bound journal. Participants will learn paper marbling and paste paper techniques on the first session, and then use those papers the second session to create your own handmade journal.
Teen Lab: Papermaking
In this class, teens will learn the basics of forming handmade paper, experimenting with color, texture, shaped paper and inclusions.