Ceramics and Pottery Classes

Clay is a material rich in history and possibilities for art making. The Crucible offers a unique place to learn the different ceramic and pottery building techniques of pinching, coiling, and using slabs, in addition to press molds and slip casting with plaster molds. Students have the opportunity to explore different glazing techniques in low fire, high fire, and other firing alternatives, such as raku firing. Functional tableware, vessels, sculpture, installations, and mixed media—the possibilities in ceramics are endless for youth and adults.

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Upcoming Bay Area Ceramics and Pottery Courses

Browse below for all upcoming Ceramics and Pottery classes. Please note that due to safety concerns surrounding COVID-19, all upcoming Crucible classes are in-person with strict health and safety policies in place for students, faculty, and staff. You must review all Crucible policies before registering.

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Meet The Ceramics Department Head: Rosa Dorantes

For the past twenty years, Rosa Dorantes has been dedicated to sharing her knowledge of ceramics. An Oakland-native, Rosa has transformed our Ceramics Department into a sanctuary that keeps students coming back. Since she has taken over as Department Head, multiple students have taken Ceramics I with Rosa three times in a row.

“I was born in Oakland, and Oakland is where I first fell in love with ceramics when I was 14,” Rosa told us. “For me, coming to The Crucible is my journey really coming full circle. Now, I get to share my passion for ceramics with my community, while being immersed in the greater arts community at The Crucible.”

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Ceramics and Pottery Adult Classes

The Crucible offers a wide variety of adult classes teaching ceramics. Whether you want to learn the fundamentals of sculpting or something more advanced, The Crucible has you covered. See the complete list of pottery and ceramics classes offered below.

Note: Due to COVID-19, we’re unable to offer all of the classes listed below at this time. You can sign up to be notified when specific classes are offered or browse a list of upcoming classes here

3-Hour Taster: Ceramic Mug

3-Hour Tasters are a great way to explore a new art form without the deeper commitment of a full course. Make a one-of-a-kind ceramic mug to enjoy your favorite warm beverage. Learn a variety of hand-building techniques in a single session during this fun, project-based class. Mugs are food-grade safe and great for yourself or as a gift.

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3-Hour Taster: Ceramic Planter

3-Hour Tasters are a great way to explore a new art form without the deeper commitment of a full course. Create your own ceramic planter and cement yourself as a true green thumb! Learn various hand-building and color application techniques in a single session during this fun, project-based class.

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ceramic bowls

Ceramic Bowls

Make your own super bowls using clay! In this class we explore four different ways of handbuilding your own beautiful bowls. Students will make a vessel out of each technique including pinch pot, coil building, and slab rolling with molds. After your pots are assembled we will decorate using underglazes for a colorful finish. After class has ended the instructor will fire and finish your bowls with a clear food safe glaze.

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Ceramics I

Try your hand at making sculptural and functional forms in clay. This introductory class covers traditional hand-building and surface treatment techniques while pushing the boundaries with unconventional methods. You will leave with a solid foundation in working with clay and the ability to apply your new skill set to other 3-D work and materials.

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Ceramics II

Ceramics II is designed for students who have successfully completed Ceramics I and are looking to further advance their knowledge and creativity in working with clay. Students will learn advanced concepts in surface design and refine techniques, both in hand-building and wheel-throwing, to create more consistent, aesthetically-pleasing functional and sculptural pieces. Interesting forms, creative designs, and good craftsmanship are essential in creating engaging pottery and will be emphasized in the class.

PREREQUISITE: Ceramics I

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Ceramics Lab

Lab sessions are a great benefit, exclusively for Crucible members! Practice the skills you learn in class and explore new possibilities with your craft. No instruction is provided during lab sessions, but a lab monitor will be present to answer questions, manage safety, and provide overall support. You can sign up for an eight-week series of Ceramics Lab or drop in when you have time. You are free to come and go at your convenience during open lab hours, however you must provide your own materials. Clay can be purchased for $15 per bag.

PREREQUISITE: ceramics experience and a Crucible membership

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Friday Flame: Raku

End the workweek with fire, friends, and a toast. Glaze small, pre-fired ceramic dishes, then use a variety of organic materials to create incredible surface textures on your vessels during the exciting raku fire. Raku firings, or firings in high reduction environments, are one of the only ways to get vibrant, sparkling colors in glazeware. After class, enjoy wine, beer, or a non-alcoholic beverage and marvel at your new masterpiece!

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Large Ceramic Forms

Explore techniques for making larger ceramic forms that can survive the kiln! Make a ceramic sculpture or planter, while practicing handbuilding techniques like coiling and pinching, as well as more advanced sculpting techniques to create a one-of-a-kind piece that will dazzle any home. Size limited to 24″ x 18″ x 1″.

PREREQUISITE: Ceramics I or ceramics experience

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Making Multiples: Slip Casting Ceramics

Create ceramic multiples! Whether you are interested in making multiple vessels or sculptures, this class covers the basic moldmaking techniques. We will make molds from existing objects and cast clay multiples using clay slip. The clay castings will then be finished, kiln-fired, and glazed. Your personal objects are welcomed, but there are size limits.

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Raku

Learn basic handbuilding techniques and play with a variety of raku decorating techniques. Raku firings, where ceramic pieces are taken out of the kiln glowing hot and placed in an oxygen-reduced atmosphere, are one of the ways to get vibrant, sparkling colors in glazeware. Your work will be bisqued and ready to be glazed by the following Saturday, where you will practice raku decorating techniques. Work size is limited to 6” wide and 10” high.

PREREQUISITE: Ceramics I or previous ceramics experience

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Slip Casting with Plaster Molds

Slip Casting with Plaster Molds

Learn the process of slip casting ceramics utilizing plaster molds. Cast multiple objects using clay slip, then kiln-fire and glaze your creations. Develop your slip casting skills using a variety of plaster molds in this introductory class.

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Teapot and Cups

Teapot and Cups

Create your very own teapot and set of tea cups! Learn the techniques for making a slab built teapot and a pair of hand built tea cups perfect for a spot of tea. On the first day, create your set for bisque firing, then return for sanding and glazing your elegant handmade pieces. Tea sets are food-grade safe.

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Ceramics and Pottery Family Classes

The Crucible offers a wide variety of family classes teaching ceramics designed for ages 5 and up. Whether you want to make an ornament or play with clay together, The Crucible has you covered. See the complete list of pottery and ceramics classes offered below.

Note: Due to COVID-19, we’re unable to offer all of the classes listed below at this time. You can sign up to be notified when specific classes are offered or browse a list of upcoming classes here

Ceramic Ornaments

Glaze your own ornaments to give to your loved ones! You will select three pre-fired ornaments to paint and glaze, learning about glazing techniques and color application. After class, the instructor will fire your ornaments and string them up, so they are ready for pickup one week after class ends.

NOTE: This class is part of Family Day, where parents and guardians with children ages 8 and up are welcome to register with their kids and get hands-on making ornaments—just in time for the holidays.

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family clay play

Family Clay Play

Join The Crucible for a morning of family fun while learning about ceramics! In family groups, you will learn to make pinch pot figures using your hands to shape, mold, and paint a version of yourself. Then work together to create a family plaque using slabs of clay to decorate. This workshop is specially designed for children ages 5-7 years old with accompanying adult(s).

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Ceramics and Pottery Youth Classes

In the Ceramics Department, we offer youth classes specifically for ages 8-11 and 12-18. In these classes, The Crucible provides a unique setting for youth to get hands-on with clay, exploring their creative voices and absorbing real-life lessons in science, technology, engineering, and math. You can see all The Crucible’s offerings for youth here.

Youth Clay Critters (ages 8-11)

Explore clay as a sculptural material to create critters of your own imagination! Learn hand-building techniques, such as slabs, coils, and pinching. We will cover several different surface treatments, traditional glazes, and non-traditional approaches.

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Youth Ceramics I (ages 12-18)

Try your hand at making sculptural and functional forms in clay and create a one of a kind ceramic sculpture. This class is for those with some ceramic experience looking to hone their skills in hand building or wheelthrowing per instructor approval.

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Youth Ceramics II (ages 12-18)

Youth Ceramics II is designed for students who have successfully completed Youth Ceramics I and are looking to further advance their knowledge and creativity in working with clay. Students will learn advanced concepts in surface design and refine techniques, in hand-building, to create more consistent, aesthetically-pleasing functional and sculptural pieces. Interesting forms, creative designs, and good craftsmanship are essential in creating engaging pottery and will be emphasized in the class.

PREREQUISITE: Youth Ceramics I

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Being Prepared For Your Ceramics Class

Ceramics classes are usually held on the second floor of The Crucible studios up a set of stairs. Sometimes we hold them in other areas, including our outdoor parking lot and spaces on the main floor. Please contact us if you have any questions about accessibility and we will be happy to accommodate.

Students must arrive for class in all-natural fiber clothing, long pants, and closed-toe, closed-heel shoes with socks that protect up to the ankle. Long hair must be tied back. Nylon, polyester, spandex, or other synthetics are not allowed around machines, equipment, or processes that can produce hot fragments, sparks, or flames.

In Ceramics, students will likely only being around flames on firing days, but The Crucible requests students always arrive in studio safe clothing when working. Layers are encouraged as the studio can be very cold or very hot. Learn more about ceramics from our online guide.

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Ready to get hands-on in Ceramics?

The Crucible has Ceramics and Pottery classes starting each month

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