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your favorite mainstream workshop presenters (a little long)

updated sat 30 oct 04


Chris Baltzley on fri 29 oct 04

I have been a lurker on this list for several months and am very new to
ceramics, but I just returned from a 6 day workshop in Pensacola, Florida
with Peter King and Xinia Marin at their studio, Stonehaus. It was
recommended to me by a local potter as "one of the best things you will
ever do" and I have to agree with him. Although what I really want to do
is handbuild and make tile and large scale architectural ceramics were not
originally on my agenda (which I may have to rethink now!), I learned a
HUGE amount about working with clay presented in a matter-of-fact and non-
mysterious way and never felt disregarded or talked down to for my lack of
experience. And just in case anyone thinks that experienced potters
wouldn't be as interested, most people there were working potters or
sculptors and one was taking the workshop for the second time.

Peter and Xinia are open, friendly, fun people who are VERY generous with
their knowledge and experience; sharing any and all of their tips and
techniques that they have discovered to make working easier and more
functional - and more accessible if you are like me and don't have the
resources to spend lots of money on very expensive equipment (and yes, a
kiln of my own is on the top of my list!). Peter answered all questions
and tailored a number of his demonstrations to the specific interests of
the participants (including how to make something like a sink WITHOUT
having to center 50lbs of clay on the wheel!). Unlike some I have taken,
the main project in a Stonehaus workshop is not just a "workshop demo", but
an actual piece that will be installed in someone's house or in a public
area. We built a fireplace for a local man who came around a couple of
times just to see how it was going!

I have been around artists and craftspeople most of my life and have taken
a number of workshops in various media over the years in many different
types of facilities and locations (searching for "MY thing"). I know I
sound like I'm gushing a bit much, but this was by far one of the most
valuable (and FUN) workshop experiences I have ever had.

Chris Baltzley
Safety Harbor FL