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OUR FACULTY
 

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Sonya Burke
Basics of
Handbuilding

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. ..it’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.

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kristen clawson
Basics of
Throwing

I started working with clay in 2005 as a beginner in Frank Massarellas’ advanced pottery class.  Boy did I learn a lot and fast!  I continued taking classes from Frank and then Mark Churchill for many years along with various workshops from the likes of Tom Coleman, Patrick Horsley and Matt Long.  With my sports background I recognized early on how you must have solid fundamentals to better reach your potential and with ceramics, to throw an excellent pot.  I enjoy focusing on the fundamentals for the beginners and also offer challenges for those that are a bit farther along.  The plan is to focus on process and for you to progress, improve and have fun along the way!

If you would like to see my work I am currently at OVA Arts in Ojai and The Ventura Pottery Guild Gallery in the Ventura Harbor as well as @WildOakPottery on Instagram. 

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.

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NANCY CURREY

Intermediate & Advanced

Wheel Throwing

Nancy has worked with clay for 20 years, making mainly functional forms on the wheel, but handbuilding and sculpting too. Over the last eight years, she has learned throwing/glazing techniques from some of the best, Frank, Mark, and Travis, among them, and handbuilding from Vera, all right here at OPCS. She was once a community college instructor of ESL and misses teaching. Now, she is a working artist who loves sharing what she's learned in the clay studio, her process, successes and solutions, so she jumped at the opportunity to teach this course. You can find her work on the OVA Arts gallery website and on Instagram

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Jody Cooper
Basics of
Throwing

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.

 


 

DEBRA ROSE
Handbuilding and
Throwing
Ceramics 

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."

 

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KAREN MCAULEY
Handbuilding
Ceramics 

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. 

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Drew lurie
Handbuilding
Ceramics

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.

 

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shawn felts
Intermediate & Advanced
Wheel Throwing

Shawn Felts received his degree in ceramics from the University of Kentucky and has worked in nearly all aspects of the ceramics field since that time.  Shawn taught high school ceramics in Cincinnati, Ohio. He managed a pottery supply shop in San Jose and has taught in, managed and directed pottery studios in multiple cities. His diverse background in many ceramic fields has kept his passion for ceramics sky high.  "The emphasis of my pieces is on the beauty that can combine with the items we use and take for granted in our everyday lives".

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carole paddock

Handbuilding

Ceramics

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.

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Jeff may
Intermediate & Advanced
Wheel Throwing

Born and raised in Ojai, Jeffrey has deep roots in the clay scene in California. He first began his exploration while in college, but didn’t truly develop his skills until working under the tutelage of mentor, Frank Masserella.
Jeff has been working professionally as a designer and production potter for the past twelve years under the name Mayware Ceramics, specializing in high-end dinnerware and functional, contemporary ceramics for the home. You can find examples of his work on his website>

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