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Visiting Artist Workshops

Join us at the Clay Studio of Missoula for a unique opportunity to engage with and learn from talented established artists in the ceramics field

Upcoming Opportunities

Soda Kiln Building Workshop with Scott Ross

July 29th- August 2nd, 2024

Class meets daily from 9am-5pm
Workshop will take place in the Clay Studio Kiln Yard

Course fee: $500 ($25 discount for members)

Join the Clay Studio of Missoula in welcoming artist, designer and kiln builder Scott Ross in a 5-day intensive soda kiln building workshop. In this in-depth and hands-on experience students can expect to gain an understanding of how a sprung arch soda kiln is built and constructed. Workshop participants will learn kiln design and construction, discuss thermodynamics, and refractory materials from a leader in the ceramics field. Students can expect to roll up their sleeves and lay a foundation, cut and stack brick, draft an arch form, and learn how burner systems work.


Day 1: Introduction to the workshop. Lay the foundation, construct the exit flue and build walls.

Day 2: Lay the wall courses and chimney base.

Day 3: Weld kiln supports and stack the chimney.

Day 4: Draft arch support and lay arch brick. Fabricate the door. Gas plumbers install burners.

Day 5: Finish and brace chimney. Finish arch and insulating layer. Final detailing and finish.


Participating students should dress accordingly to the work at hand. Wear closed toed shoes, long pants, bring a long- sleeved shirt.  For safety reasons, Long hair should be tied back and avoid wearing dangling necklaces or earrings. The studio will provide work gloves, safety eye protection, and hearing protection.


Scott Ross is excited to join us again in Missoula. He previously co-lead a pre-symposium firing of the Clay Studio anagama with Jody Johnstone during the Wood Fire International Event in 2018.

Scott was born and raised in Union Lake, MI. and earned BA (1997) degrees in Ceramics and Creative Writing from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL.  He has earned his MFA (2012) in Sculpture from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE).  Since 1997, he has also been building and firing wood-kilns at his home studio in Union Lake, MI. In addition to years of teaching experience, Scott has spent time as a resident artist at American Museum of Ceramic Art, Cobb Mountain Art and Ecology Project, and has participated in dozens of exhibitions over the past decade.

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

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

Included in class fee: Workshop clay, access to general workshop tools, boards, turntables, plastic
Firing services for completed works can be arranged for an additional fee - full details can be found here


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.


Adrian Arleo has spent the last three decades living and working as a full time sculptor in Lolo, Montana, with her family and a menagerie of animals. She was born in NY and spent many years on both coasts before making Montana home. Adrian studied Art and Anthropology at Pitzer College and received her M.F.A. in ceramics from Rhode Island School of Design. She was an Artist in Residence at Oregon College of Art and Craft in 1986-87, at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology in 1987-88, and in 2012 was an invited artist for the Jordan Schnitzer Printmaking Residency, also at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology.


Adrian’s work is exhibited nationally and internationally, and is in numerous public, private and museum collections. She received awards from the Virginia A. Groot Foundation in 1991 and 1992, and in 1995 was awarded a Montana Arts Council Individual Fellowship. Her work has been widely published in books, magazines, and on the internet. Adrian is a frequent workshop instructor across the US and abroad, and enjoys teaching courses on figurative ceramic sculpture.

Information on Registration & Accommodation Recommendations

Please register early - some of our offerings can fill quickly, while others may be cancelled due to low enrollment if students wait too long to register!  

In order to receive a refund, cancellation notice must be given at least 8 full weeks prior to the start of your workshop. If we are given the required 8 weeks’ notice, we will refund your payments less a cancellation fee of $50 for a 1-2 day workshop/$150 for a “week-long” workshop (courses 4 days or greater).

Cancellations made less than 8 weeks prior to the start of your workshop will result in a full forfeiture.


If we cancel a workshop due to low enrollment or other unforeseen circumstances, you will receive a full refund on your registration fees. The Clay Studio of Missoula is not responsible for losses incurred due to housing, travel or other arrangements.


Can someone else take my place if I cannot attend a class or workshop?
The short answer is…yes! You may find the cancelation deadline has passed but have an acquaintance who is eager to take over your spot. Just let us know the name and contact information of the new registered student, so we can make that update on our roster. A one time notification of student changes can be made in writing (via email), in person, or by phone.


Montana is a popular spot over the summer for tourism. We recommend looking into lodging accommodations and planning ahead as soon as you register for your session, as prices and availability can widely vary. There are numerous private AirB&B and VRBO rentals in the area. We also suggest checking out Shady Spruce Hostel as an affordable option that is located conveniently downtown and about one mile away from The Clay Studio.  

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