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Coil-Building Narrative Figurative Sculpture -A Workshop with Adrian Arleo

at Clay Studio of Missoula


August 12th-16th, 2024

Class meets daily from 10am-5pm

Workshop will take place in the Clay Studio Annex classroom at 1110-C Hawthorne St


Course fee: $850
$35 discount for CSoM members - use code "member35" at checkout


Included in class fee: Workshop clay, access to general workshop tools, boards, turntables, plastic
Firing services for completed works can be made for an additional fee.



Workshop participants should have at least intermediate level experience with clay handbuilding skills. This course is not suitable for beginners.


In this five-day workshop, participants will learn coil-building techniques to turn their creative visions into sculptural forms. Choose to work with human or animal figures, or a combination of the two. We’ll use small maquettes and drawings to help develop ideas and content while working out the composition and proportions. Our approach will be expressive, and open to experimentation. By playing with an array of things like gesture, embellishment with texture and sprig molded forms, unique character and narratives can be developed. For inspiration, Adrian will show presentations on contemporary ceramic sculpture, as well as process slides and video demonstrating coil-building, problem solving, sectioning and internal supports. Presentations on basic human and animal anatomy will also be offered. Throughout the five days, Adrian will give frequent demonstrations to help participants with their individual sculptures. The techniques covered for making medium-size pieces in the workshop will be applicable to constructing larger work in the future.


What participants are expected to bring?

  • assortment of clay tools
  • texture making objects/tools
  • 1lb box of super or original Sculpey polymer clay for making sprig molds
  • apron
  • sketch pad and pencils
  • Reference materials; drawings, photos, books. (Photos should be printed out and put in plastic sleeves, please do not rely on iPad/tablet/phone for source imagery during workshop)


Tentative schedule: demos and presentations can be shifted as needed


Monday Aug. 12th

  • Introductions and studio information
  • Slides on contemporary figurative ceramic sculpture; looking at expression and surface embellishment to create evocative and/or narrative figures.
  • Sketches and maquettes for helping to develop ideas
  • Demo video on Seated figure
  • Slides on building several human and animal forms
  • Getting started on your pieces- Adrian will help individuals with the “engineering” for getting started.


Tuesday August 13th

  • Demo video on Seated dog (if there’s interest)
  • As times allows, Adrian will build demo piece and show sectioning and internal support techniques
  • Work on pieces, assistance as needed


Wednesday August 14th

  • Head and face demo
  • Texture Demo, developing surface imagery
  • Work on pieces, assistance as needed
  • pm Adrian can show slides of her work (?)


Thursday August 15th

  • Attaching head to body, gesture, eyes…
  • Hand and feet demo
  • work on pieces, assistance as needed
  • Discussion on low fire glazes, Terra Sigillata, wax encaustic, casein paint.


Friday August 16th

  • Finish work
  • final discussion/critique
  • clean up studio!


Please review our cancelation policy on our Visiting Artist Workshop Page for information on course cancelations


Adrian Arleo Workshop : Coil-Building Narrative Figurative Sculpture 8/12-8/16

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