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News, Events, Inspiration ◊ May 2024

Inside this issue: Summer classes open for enrollment. Advanced Student Show artists' reception set for May 3. Instructor Jenneva Kayser solo exhibition scheduled. Pit firing success. Seeking the perfect pour. Are you an artist? Plus more exhibitions, events, and informative videos.

Marian Short and her jar molded over an ostrich egg

Studio member Marian Short and her fabulous jar

molded over an ostrich egg

Make room for clay... your summer plans. Be sure to set aside some "me time" at a wheel or a hand-building table in the studio this summer. Our summer classes are now open for registration, with an Early Bird tuition discount available through May 14. A special enrichment class, Surface Design with Slip, is also part of our summer program. The Early Bird tuition discount for this class ends May 4.

And yes, you can still sign up for our Hand Building, Advanced and Intermediate Clay, and Advanced and Intermediate Independent Study. But hurry because these classes are starting right now!

Here are the classes that will run this summer:

Introductory and Continuing Wheel

  • Mon, Jun 10-Jul 15, 3:30-5:30 pm, with Kevan Wilson
  • Mon, Jun 10-Jul 15, 6:30-8:30 pm, with Kevan Wilson
  • Wed, Jun 5-Jul 10, 10:00 am-12:00 pm, with Jenneva Kayser
  • Thu, Jun 6-Jul 18, 10:00 am-12:00 pm, with Nancy Bulkley
  • Thu, Jun 6-Jul 18, 12:30-2:30 pm, with Nancy Bulkley
  • Thu, Jun 6-Jul 18, 6:30-8:30 pm, with Nick Glynos
  • Sun, Jun 2-Jul 7, 11:00 am-1:00 pm, with Jenneva Kayser

Early Bird Discount through May 14.

Intermediate Wheel Throwing

  • Sun, Jun 2-Jul 7,1:30-3:30 pm, with Jenneva Kayser

Early Bird Discount through May 14.

Coffee and Clay (In studio or via Zoom)

  • Wed, Jun 5-Jul 10, 10:00 am-12:00 pm, with Nancy Bulkley
  • Sat, Jun 15-Jul 20, 9:30-11:30 am, with Nancy Bulkley

Early Bird Discount through May 14.

Surface Design With Slips

  • Sun, Jun 2-Jul 7,1:30-3:30 pm, with Jenneva Kayser

Early Bird Discount through May 4.

Reserve your seat now.

Am I too late... sign up for this upcoming Hand Building, Advance and Intermediate Clay, or Advanced / Intermediate Independent Study class? Not yet, but the clock is ticking so act fast.

Hand Building

  • Thu, May 2-Jun 6, 6:30-8:30 pm, with Elliott Kayser

New! Advanced and Intermediate Clay

  • Tue, Apr 30-Jul 16, 6:30-9:00 pm, with Elliott Kayser

Advanced / Intermediate Independent Study

  • Wed, May 1-Jul 17, 6:30-8:30 pm, with Rose Gomez

Enroll today.

Class spotlight:

Surface Design With Slips

Slip is a sublimely versatile material for surface design. This enrichment class is your opportunity to learn how to use slip to full effect for decorating your pottery.

Surface Design With Slips

  • Mon, Jun 3-Jul 8, 6:30-8:30 pm,

with Jenneva Kayser

Early Bird Discount through May 4.

Get details and register here.

Jenneva Kayser slip decoration

May Try It

Good Reason Number Two for taking our Try It class: throwing clay on the wheel is relaxing.

Try It Once on the Wheel

  • Sat, May 18, 1:00-2:30 pm, with Laila Chalati

Sign up now.

Studio life

2024 Advanced Student Show announcement

Students take center stage

We're shining the spotlight on our students and giving them the opportunity to show you their creative talents at our 2024 spring Student Show. Please join us at the studio on Friday, May 3, from 5:00-7:00 pm for our artists' reception. Our students work hard to become proficient makers of pottery, and we are proud to present this show featuring their best.

Piece from Jenneva Kaiser solo exhibition

"The Rain Doesn't Reach the Ground"

Jenneva Kayser solo exhibition

Jenneva Kayser solo show

Yourist instructor Jenneva Kayser is the spring artist-in-residence at the Graduate Hotel Ann Arbor. She makes sculptures in ceramics and fiber, and the works in this solo exhibition explore our relationship with our watershed. The exhibition is open to the public for one evening and she would love to have you come out to see and celebrate the show!

"The Rain Doesn't Reach The Ground" 

Solo Exhibition by Jenneva Kayser

Graduate Hotel Ann Arbor, 3rd Floor Terrace

May 24th, 6:00-8:30pm

RSVP to the event here.

Pit firing results

From pit to polished

Pit firing success!

On the left, you're looking at what remains at the end of a pit firing, the oldest method of firing pottery. All the fuel (which might include wood, sawdust, newspaper, straw, and whatever else you throw in there) has burned away, leaving the fired pots.

Getting pots ready for a pit firing is different from getting them ready for a kiln firing. At the greenware stage the pots are burnished to a bright shine with a smooth stone or other smooth object, like a spoon. Then they are bisque fired at a very low temperature, which prepares them for the pit firing. They are not glazed.

The pots are loaded into the pit (or in this case, the metal barrel) with the fuel, which is then set afire. After 18 to 24 hours, when the fire has burned out, the pots are retrieved, cleaned up, and polished with wax, as shown on the right. The burning covers the surface of the pots with a dramatic mixture of blacks, whites, and grays. Various additives to the firing can produce additional colors.

A big thank you to Dave Timm, our master pit firer, for hosting and conducting these pit fires.

Did you know...

...that our gift cards are available all year long, not just during the year-end holidays? If you need a special gift for a loved one any time of the year, consider a Yourist Studio Gallery gift card.

Art is a gift from the heart

The recipient can use the gift card to choose a unique ceramic piece from our gallery or apply it toward tuition for a pottery class in the our studio. We've made it easy to order a gift card on our web site.

Pickup reminder

To make space for new work, we must remove all bisque and glaze pieces that have accumulated on the shelves in April.

  • Please pick up your glazed pieces and take them home to enjoy.
  • Please glaze your bisque ware now or take it home for glazing in the future.

Regrettably, any unclaimed bisque ware and glazed pieces remaining after May 31 must be discarded to free up room on our shelves.

Job opportunity

Studio intern

We're interviewing potential studio interns for spring and summer to help with studio maintenance in exchange for studio use. The successful applicant should know how to mix glaze, load kilns, mop floors, and perform other typical studio duties. An internship is a great experience and resume building opportunity. Please send a letter of interest, including your previous pottery studio experience, to Kay Yourist.

Potters quick tip

Pullling the perfect spout

Q. I'm trying to make some spouted pieces with the perfect pour, but so far my spouts all dribble badly. You might say they pour poorly. How can I fix this problem?

A. Making a spout that pours perfectly has been a perennial goal for potters, so don't be too hard on yourself. Even Florian Gadsby, in this detailed clinic on pulling functional spouts, admits that it remains a challenge for him. Here he demonstrates several different methods of pulling spouts and even shows how butter can help to get that perfect pour.

These videos are part of our continuing series for beginners at all levels.

Clay lover's events

Are potters artists

How do you know if you're an artist?

Potter Janice Rohrssen considers this age-old question

On-site exhibitions

We'll let you know when new ceramics exhibitions are on display and open to the public. Before you go to an on-site exhibition, be sure to check the art museum's web site for any current health precautions.

Pewabic: Detroit's Pottery: documents the pottery's past while celebrating the present. Pewabic Pottery. Ongoing. More . . .

Generation Bridge, Mother & Daughter: Ceramics by Jackie & Catherine Stasevich. Gifts of Art Gallery. Taubman Health Center. NowMay 31, 2024. This exhibition is limited to Michigan Medicine patients and their visitors. A link on the exhibition page will allow you to visit virtually. More . . .

Fragile Bodies: The Figure in Glass and Clay. "Illustrate[s] the human form’s powerful symbolic potential to embody an idea, to express an ideal, or to embrace that which is vulnerable and human." Flint Institute of Arts. Now–June 30, 2024. More . . .

From Asia to the World: Ancient to Contemporary Art. Display includes blue-and white-porcelain, celadon, and enamel ceramics from China, Korea, and Japan. Toledo Museum of Art. NowJune 29, 2025. More . . .

From Earth to Sky: Ancient Art of the Americas. Ancient ceramic sculptures from Mexico and Costa Rica (200 BCE–200 CE) offer a glimpse into the lives of people more than 2,000 years ago. Flint Institute of Arts. May 11–August 25, 2024. More . . .

2024 International Ceramic Art Fair
. 10 days of contemporary ceramics, artist talks, gallery tours, and more. Gardiner Museum. May 23–June 2, 2024. More . . .

The Art of Dining: Food Culture in the Islamic World. Paintings of elaborate feasts, sumptuous vessels for food and drink, and historical cookbooks. Detroit Institute of Arts. September 22, 2024–January 5, 2025. More . . .

Spotlight—Toshiko Takaezu: Worlds Within. Chronological retrospective for "one of the most accomplished artists to work with clay in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries." Cranbrook Art Museum. September 27, 2024January 12, 2025. More...

Pottery perspectives

Opportunities to expand your knowledge of ceramics past and present.

How do you know if you're an artist? Is a potter an artist, a craftsman, or both? And does having a label even matter? Potter Janet Rohrssen gives her thoughts as she throws her trademark flower vase. More . . .

Around the World: POTTERY. A quick trip to see potters at work in other countries. Do not miss the stops in Mali and Rwanda. More . . .

The April unforgettable dinnerware on-line lecture from the International Museum of Dinnerware Design is now available as a video: Howard Kottler: The Iconoclast Troublemaker with Judith S. Schwartz. More . . .

And three from Colossal:

Ceramic Vessels Form Zoetrope Animations by Kenny Sing. More . . .

Vintage Fabrics Encase Ceramic Shards by Zoë Hillyard. More . . .

Hundreds of Threads Join Porcelain Shards by Helena Hafemann.

More . . .

Other events

John Moses with his pottery collection

East Coast Collector Talks About West Coast Pottery

In the May International Museum of Dinnerware Design on-line lecture, avid pottery collector John Moses will "present some history and information about his own collection of West Coast pottery including Brayton Laguna, Bauer, Catalina and Padre." There will also be a brief mention of Homer Laughlin Fiestaware.

Wednesday, May 8, 6:30 pm

Details here.

MCAA 2024 Exhibition and Competition poster

Celebrate Michigan Ceramics 2024 at its biennial juried exhibition and competition, which features work submitted by MCAA members and Michigan-related ceramicists. Entries will be judged by noted ceramic artist George Rodriguez and are due on July 1. If you are interested in submitting your ceramic art, see the event page for full details.

Michigan Ceramics 2024

September 27-October 31

Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center

Resources for potters

From slab to plate

Making a slab plate on the wheel

Here's a fun and easy way to make a plate that potter Matt Merkel Hess says will work for everyone, including beginners. Hess shows how to roll out a slab and transform it into a flat plate on the wheel.

Advanced plate-o-matic?

Hand building a fancy square plate

Although this plate looks pretty complicated, it is actually quite easy to hand build. See how Eiji Kumamoto of Japan Golden Pottery creates his "squareness plate" using a few simple tools.

Studio, Gallery, and Shop hours

Here are our open studio, gallery, and shop hours for 2024:

  • Tuesday, 12:00-6:00 pm
  • Wednesday, 12:00-6:00 pm
  • Friday, 12:00-6:00 pm
  • Saturday, 12:00-6:00 pm
  • Sunday, 4:00-8:00 pm

There are no open studio hours on Thursday. Saturday open studio hours begin at noon with the exception of one Saturday a month, when the Try It Once on the Wheel class meets from 1:00 to 2:30 pm. Check our class schedule for the date for this class.

Please remember to sign in when you arrive for open studio and sign out when you leave. And make sure to clean your work area thoroughly before leaving.

We welcome all ceramics lovers and all area potters to shop with us for their pottery needs during our open studio hours. Students may purchase tools as needed during their classes as well.

To help us keep our studio safe and healthy for all students and members, keep track of current advisories on COVID transmission risk and hospitalization numbers in Washtenaw county at this link:

Washtenaw County Health Department page

We have curbside delivery of clay, tools, and pottery during our regular hours. If you have a specific need, please call us at the studio, during regular hours, at 734-662-4914.

Yourist Studio Gallery

6087 Jackson Road

Ann Arbor, MI 48103

734-662-4914 | Instagram

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