Beginning to Intermediate
Wheel Throwing

Kristen has been working with clay for 15 years and been selling in local galleries and shows for about 12.  She started with lessons from Frank Massarella and more recently had the pleasure of taking from Vera Maguire and Mark Churchill. In addition to classes, she has also been inspired by numerous workshop experiences which include instruction from Tom Coleman, Matt Long and Patrick Horsley.


She teaches the foundations of  wheel throwing.


Katja Gabriel

Intermediate to Advanced Throwing and Altering 

Katja Gabriel started her pottery journey here in Ojai at the Ojai Pottery and Clay school. Later she apprenticed with local master potter Larry Carnes.
    Katja was born and raised in Germany and is heavily influenced by European style. Her background has always been in design, first in interior, then furniture to landscape and finally ceramics.
    She feels so passionate about playing in the dirt that she has fine tuned it into having her hands muddy on a full time basis, still incorporating her love for nature into her work.

She teaches intermediate to advanced throwing and altering.

Travis Kennedy
All Levels 
of Throwing 

Travis Kennedy's journey with pottery began with him working with clay as a young boy in Ojai. He continued the pursuit of clay while attending the local community college. After wearing out his welcome there he was forced to develop a home studio where he produced vessels for quite some years.Then he didn't make anything for a long time, but he kind of is now.

He teaches all levels of throwing techniques for cylinders, bowls, cups and larger forms.

frank massarella

Intermediate to Advanced Throwing & Altering Clay

“I was lucky, I found my passion early in life.” From the early years in high school ceramics class to owning his own studio and gallery, Frank's craft has been his vocation and his lifelong passion. By working through the various techniques, he has chosen the greatest challenge of high-fired porcelain as his preference. Frank is ever striving to create a more perfect form. His pieces come alive with movement from both form and glaze. He has been a professional studio potter and teacher for over 35 years.

He teaches intermediate to advanced throwing, altering and glazing techniques for functional wares.



genie thomsen
Primitive Firing and Handbuilding Techniques

I've been playing with clay as long as I can remember. My mom would bring home projects she was creating and have me embellish them. In my early twenties, I took classes at the Adult Education program in Santa Barbara. I went back to college when I was thirty, earned a BA and continued to complete my MFA degree. Returning home, I proceeded to produce and sell my ceramic art at art shows for twenty years. In the meantime, I started teaching, ironically at the Adult Education program where I first took classes and then at Ventura College. Twenty plus years later I am still teaching. In Santa Barbara, Simi Valley and now in Ojai. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and love of clay.

She teaches a lesson of the day in handbuilding and decorative techniques.

Sonya Head shot 2 crop.jpeg

Sonya Burke
Basics of

I fell in love with clay while taking courses for an art therapist certificate at UCSB. I love learning and there is so much to learn with clay.’s endless. My greatest joy is helping others grow in confidence and competence. My strength lies in my ability to help students overcome the frustration of learning new skills. I have had the privilege of teaching students of all ages at my home studio, in local schools, the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara, Vita Art Center, Obscurity Arts, and Bell Arts in Ventura, CA.  I owned and operated Art and Soul Studios, a membership studio in Ventura. For my personal work, I lean toward the ancient. I love that clay is an ancient medium, cooked in fire.  Each piece of handbuilding brings growth and discovery.

She teaches the basics of handbuilding.

carole paddock



Early on, Carole studied ceramics with Tom Fresh at the Idyllwild School of Music and Arts where she learned how to dig clay, fire with cow dung and make brushes from yucca and horse hair. She shaped clay by hand, as modeled by Native Americans such as Lucy Lewis, Juan Quezada and Maria Martinez. She was inspired by the patterns of nature and geometry. After many years teaching High School and raising two children she returned to clay in 2008. Under the tutelage of Frank Massarella and Dusti Pelow she re-entered the clay world and returned to her handbuilding roots.


She teaches a wide range of handbuilding techniques for the creation of functional wares.

Handbuilding and

Debra's love of pottery started as a teenager. She currently teaches the next generation of clay artists as a HS ceramics teacher at Oak Grove School and summers at OPCS. Her clay interests are diverse, ranging from the high fired porcelain she learned from Frank Massarella to the earthenware Majolica taught by Linda Arbuckle. Her specialties are tea bowls and mugs, carved decorations, painted surfaces, and small sculptures. "I love the endurance and narrative of pottery - that a clay pot from 5000 years ago tells a story from the culture and the artist's imagination."


She teaches handbuilding and throwing techniques for application to ceramic sculpture and functional wares.


Jody Cooper
Basics of

Jody began working with clay in the early 80”s with Frank Massarella. She focused on learning the craft by taking classes at Ventura College and SBCC, as well as workshops with various clay artist. She is also an active member of the Ventura County Potters Guild. But she will admit her biggest influence was (and still is) Frank.


In 2000 she started teaching high school ceramics at OVS, and continued until she retired in 2021. Jody was also one of the first teachers when Frank opened the Clay School, teaching the Beginners Class.  
While Jody loves to create with clay, an ever-changing process with something always new to learn, her true passion is teaching. There is nothing more exciting than watching someone successfully throw his or her first pot and develop the passion to work with clay.


She teaches the basics of throwing.

Wendy’s father was an artist so she was drawing and painting from an early age. She always took art and pottery classes through school and college in California and Hawaii.   
    Professionally she worked as a graphic artist and art director until retiring. She has been taking classes at OPCS with Carole Paddock every session  the past 7 years and feels she could have a Masters in Hand Building from Carole. She has been an OPCS Board Member for the past few years.
    She especially loves working with patterns and designs in her pottery, using imprints, stains and glazes to bring out the best effects, and looks forward to passing on to students what she has learned.

She teaches all levels
of handbuilding.


Drew lurie

I started my journey with clay at age 20, and have kept at it through the years. I enjoy throwing pots on the wheel, and also to hand build, often combining both techniques. I lean towards the whimsical in my designs, but I also like my pottery to be functional.  My current work includes animal and face mugs, elfin bells, and fanciful vases. I am quite focused on creating and expanding my style and approach with clay, and I also often chuckle at the collection of kooks that I like to make.


He teaches a wide range of handbuilding techniques for the creation of functional wares.



I’ve been playing with clay for a long time.  I’ve always been an artist—drawing and making things since childhood. Wherever I am I find myself sharing my tools, ideas, and aspirations with my clay communities. Handbuilding is something you can do with a few tools in your kitchen or a little corner at home, and handbuilding has my heart.  I love the intimacy of working so directly with clay, the slow pace, and the individuality of what you can make. 

She teaches handbuilding techniques for all levels.

Vera maguire



Starting in 1994, Vera studied ceramics at Ventura College followed by classes with Myra Toth. A native of the Netherlands, Vera moved back to Europe in 1995 where she ran a ceramic studio for the next 20 years. In 2013 she returned to Ventura where she has been sharing her passion for clay ever since. She is a member of the Ventura County Pottery Guild Board. Her work is for sale at the Ova Gallery in the arcade in Ojai and several times a year at the Sunday Ojai Organic Farmers Market.


She teaches handbuilding techniques for application to ceramic sculpture and functional wares.

Wendy Ford