Instructors

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Anna Vaughan

Anna Vaughan is an artist and educator living in Oakland, California. She studied at the Kansas City Art Institute with ceramics greats: Ken Ferguson, Peter Voulkos, Victor Babu, Jim Leedy and Marilyn Lysohir. Anna completed her MFA at Mills College under the guidance of Ron Nagle. Her current artworks explore both the functional and sculptural traditions of ceramics. She is an avid drawer and often incorporates the use of layered slips and sgraffito or clay etching into the works. Ms. Vaughan's classes provide an openness and structure which encourages students to explore their own artistic voice while gaining an understanding of the formal and technical processes of clay.

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Bob Johnson

Bob has been teaching and working in ceramics since, as he says, "before the invention of dirt." He received a BFA and MFA from California College of the Arts (CCA) with a major in ceramics, and later taught at Chadron State College in Nebraska, and at New Mexico State University as a member of both the graduate and undergraduate faculties. He has shown in many galleries throughout the U.S. including the Fairtree Gallery in New York City, and his work is in various collections, such as New York State University at Buffalo, the permanent collection at CCA, and the Antonio Prieto Memorial Collection of Contemporary Ceramics at Mills College. Bob created Big River Pottery in New Mexico, selling his work throughout the U.S. (and working as a fireman while not doing pottery). He has taught at the Potters' Studio in Berkeley and Studio One in Oakland since 1990.

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Whitney Smith

Whitney Smith has been working in ceramics since her first clay throwing class in 1994 at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz. While she went on to obtain a degree in Anthropology from the University of California in Santa Cruz, her intense interest and love of pottery led her to open her own studio in 2000 in the San Francisco Bay Area and pursue a career in ceramic art. She has worked full-time in pottery since then, selling her work to people around the world and showing across the United States. She loves sharing knowledge with other clay lovers, and has taught a variety of workshops covering everything from surface design to marketing.

Jess Parker

Jess Parker

Jess, a Berkeley native, still has the ceramic bear she made as a kid at the Arts and Crafts Cooperative on Shattuck Ave. It was not until she was at Pomona College pursuing her BA in Psychology that she took another ceramics class. Jess returned to college in 1995 for a BFA in ceramics from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in Alfred, New York. In 1999 she completed a two-year Artist-in-Residence at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana. In 2000 Jess returned to the Bay Area to be a studio potter and since 2002 has had her own home studio. Throughout this time Jess has taught several classes and ceramic workshops and her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Leah Bowring

Leah Bowring

Leah Bowring received her BA in ceramics and BFA in graphic design from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri in 2011. During her undergraduate study, she spent a year in Tokyo studying Japanese language, historical ceramics, traditional theater and architecture. She was a pupil of Koiichi Koyama, an accomplished Japanese potter. She conducted personal research studying traditional Japanese kilns and wares, traveling throughout Japan while she taught English in the time between her formal degrees. She recently received her MFA in ceramics in May 2015 and now lives in Oakland, California and makes her work in Berkeley. She works as an Operations Manager at a 300+ artist community art center The Potters' Studio in Berkeley, California. Here she also teaches beginning wheel classes.  

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Dina Gewing

Bio coming soon!

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SHARON VIRTUE

Sharon has worked with clay for over 30 years, oftentimes in unconventional ways. She began during her BA program at Sheffield Poly in UK, where she studied film and painting, building life size sculptures and making animated films of them dancing. 

She began teaching ceramics in 1998 at Ruby’s Clay Studio in San Francisco, where she developed the Mud Bus project, a community outreach program bringing ceramics to underserved communities. Dedicated to social practice, since 2001 she has worked internationally on art based community projects in Uganda, Brazil, UK, Haiti, San Francisco, Ghana and Mozambique. 

In 2006 she was the artist in Residence at the De Young Museum and built a mud hut in the galleries with visitors. 

In 2010 she was awarded the International Residency award from NCECA and worked with women in Northern Ghana on coil building techniques. 

In 2014 she completed her MA in Community Arts from Goldsmiths University, while also being the studio manager of Turning Earth, the first open access ceramic studio in London, UK. 

Sharon has many influences and incorporates both throwing, altering and hand building techniques in her functional work. Her sculptural work reflects her background in painting, with a love of color and surface pattern inspired by international travels. 

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SCOTT JENNINGS

Scott studied ceramics at California State University Fullerton, earning a B.F.A. in ceramics in 1996. He has worked as a ceramics lab technician and Instructor at The Irvine Fine Arts Center and Mt. San Antonio College. He currently teaches at Ruby’s Clay Studio, Palo Alto Art Center, Higher Fire Studios, and at Clay By The Bay. His work in the ceramics industry includes working as the Dinnerware Production Manager for Heath Ceramics.