The Multnomah Arts Center offers ceramics classes for adults and youth year-round. Below is a listing of some of our typical class offerings. Come by to pick up a schedule that includes dates of current classes and workshops.

Ceramics Coordinator: Nicole Rawlins

Ceramics Offerings
For Adults & Teens

Ceramics – Intro to Ceramics
Ceramics is one of the most ancient, universally practiced, and beloved art forms around the world, dating back to 28,000 BCE. Designed for students new to the medium, this course will provide the beginner with a strong foundation in the cross-cultural and historical importance, contemporary practice, and techniques in ceramics from simple hand-built forms to basic forms thrown on the wheel. Topics covered this term include: clay bodies, forming techniques such as pinch, coil, slab, extrusion, throwing basic forms, simple texture making, slips, stains, glazing, and understanding of the firing process. This course is for beginners only and students follow the set curriculum.

Ceramics – Handbuilding Fundamentals
This foundational course will introduce the hand builder to the basics of creating forms without a wheel. Learn how to make functional clay works of art using techniques of coil, slab, extruding, carving and manipulating forms. Surface design processes in texture will also be discussed. Like the Intro to Ceramics course, this class will focus on beginners and those who want to refresh their handbuilding skills. Students will follow the set curriculum.

Ceramics – Handbuilding: Beyond Basics
Continue your skills in handbuilding with clay. This course will offer the hand builder additional, more advanced techniques in creating forms without a wheel.  Using techniques of coil, soft and hard slab, and extrusions, students will be able to manipulate both functional and sculptural forms. Surface design processes using slips, stains, and glazes will also be covered. Texturing methods such as incising, stamping, carving, etc may also be covered. This term, class will focus on more involved steps in handbuilding. Students will follow the set curriculum.

Ceramics – Wheel Throwing: Beyond Basics
This wheel-throwing class will focus on developing your throwing skills. Demonstrations and discussions will include more advanced wheel techniques such as darting, altering, combining forms, making sets and making lidded forms. Surface design processes using slips, stains, and glazes will also be covered. Texturing methods such as incising, stamping, carving, etc may also be covered. This term, class will focus on more involved steps in wheelthrowing.

Ceramics – Slab Construction
Learn how to move and manipulate larger clay slabs to create both sculptural and functional forms. Use of the slab roller and hand thrown slabs will be covered, as well techniques to form both moist and leather hard clay, to create pieces from organic to architectural. Prior clay experience required. 

Sculpture 3D Design
Explore the endless possibilities that clay can offer in this sculpture class. Tell your stories and bring your ideas to life as you create animals, figures, forms, and more. A variety of slab, coiling, and modeling techniques will be demonstrated, as well as surface decoration and glazing. Look at both historical and contemporary ceramic sculpture for inspiration and ideas.

Handbuilding for Seniors
Let’s play with clay! Explore the art of ceramics while creating treasures to take home. Craft handbuilt bowls or sculpture while exploring pinch, coil, and slab forms. Gain knowledge of the fundamentals in a creative, nurturing environment. Does not include Open Studio.

Getting the Most Out of Glazes
Get out of your glazing rut and expand your creativity. Using MAC’s glazes and stains, explore glaze application and techniques. Create a set of test tiles and learn how to interpret the results.

Raku: The Heat is On
Would you like to get creative with a little fire? Turn up the heat and discover the art of Raku! The Japanese process of firing ceramics. Create decorative, sculptural, and whimsical pieces to fire in this unique atmosphere. Class instruction includes forming pieces, adornments, glaze application, and the firing process.

Special Guest Artist Ceramic Workshops
The Multnomah Arts Center features special guest artist ceramic workshops from time to time. Past artists include: Patrick Horsley, Judy and Lincoln Tufoya, Thanh Binh Duong, Steven Hill, Wally Schwab, and more.

* Clay Creations
* Handbuilding & Sculpture
* Wheelthrowing
* Interdisciplinary Camps
* Family Clay Classes

Open studio is available to any student registered for a teen and adult ceramics class (unless otherwise indicated). No instruction is provided during Open Studio. It is intended for personal enrichment and recreation. Production for retail and use of outside clay are not allowed.


Equipment includes:

  • 19 Electric Wheels
  • 4 Bisque Kilns, 2 Gas Reduction Kilns, 1 Raku Kiln
  • Heated Dry Box
  • 7 Colors of Englobe Slips
  • High Fire Glazes & Raku Glazes
  • Laguna Spray Booth for Glazes
  • Griffin Grip & Community Tools
  • Slab Roller
  • Extruder & Die Sets
  • Molds of Plaster, Clay, & Fabric
  • Lockers & storage

We require all ceramics students to read and follow the Clay Studio Policy. It contains information about student responsibilities and studio safety. Please read it by your first class. Copies are available online here, at the MAC office, and posted in the Clay Studio. By registering for a class or signing up for Open Pottery, you are agreeing to follow studio policy. Thank you!

Pick up work during open clay studio times only.