The Arts and Crafts Movement and its idealistic philosophy, based on the synthesis of nature, love of craft, and simple living, was the genesis of the Byrdcliffe Colony and remains a living and growing component. The tradition and the future of education is alive and centered at the historic Byrdcliffe Arts Colony. 


The tradition and the future of ceramics are alive and centered at the historic Byrdcliffe Barn. Our Ceramics classes take place in the Lower Level of the Byrdcliffe Barn on 485 Upper Byrdcliffe Road, Woodstock, NY.

Beginner and intermediate/ advanced classes are offered in both wheel throwing and handbuilding, and a state-of-the-art kiln is on site.

Intermediate / Advanced Wheel Throwing

Prior experience is required for this class. Continue to hone that particular form you have been trying to master, or search for new expression in your work. We will continuously work towards improving our skills with explorations in form, design, and texture. The work made will then be high fired to 2350 degrees in gas reduction.

*All students must have previously taken the All-Levels Class.

All Levels Wheel Throwing

Classes are geared for beginners, novice, and self-guided advanced individuals. Learn to work on the potter’s wheel or improve the skills you already possess. Beginning students will learn to center clay and understand the basics of throwing pottery. Students with prior knowledge will make cups, bowls, vases, and plates. Students will also learn how to make handles, lids, knobs, and spouts. The work will then be high-fired to 2350 degrees in in gas reduction.


Wheel Throwing with Soda Firing

Soda firing is a type of atmosphere firing process. The vapors from soda ash introduced into the kiln at high temperatures react with the clay and glazes which can make interesting effects. This class will cover techniques and materials used in planning for soda firing. The kiln will be shared equally with the class and any other work created will be fired in gas reduction.


Handbuilding All Levels

Handbuilding is an ancient pottery technique that utilizes simple tools and the hands to create forms in clay. Beginning students will learn the 3 fundamental handbuilding techniques of pinch, coil, and slab to create functional objects. Experienced students will combine these basic skills and plan out more complex work. All students will spend time exploring surface design and glaze techniques. This class is great for beginners as well as seasoned potters, especially those who find a potters wheel difficult to master. This class taught by guest instructor and Byrdcliffe Artist-in-Residence Olivia Gibb.

Handbuilding and Wheel Independent Study

Work independently in the ceramics studio on your own projects. Participants must have the basic skills and understanding in the process they choose to work. Independent study allows you use of the ceramic studio 5 days a week up to 3.5 hours a day, Monday through Saturday between 9am – 6pm so long as a class is not taking place in the studio.

Ceramics Program Director, Rich Conti available on Mondays from 10:00 – 11:00 am for feedback and questions.

Additional Info


Our Ceramics classes with Byrdcliffe Ceramics Director Rich Conti and other guest instructors are offered at the Ceramics studio with morning, afternoon, and evening class options.

Classes fill up quickly. If you do not find the PayPal button for the class you are interested in, it is full. Call 845.679.2079 to be added to a waitlist.

Open Studio Policy

Our ceramics studio is open from 8:30 am – 8:30 pm Monday – Saturday. The studio is closed on Sundays. Each registered student may take advantage of the community class room once a day for up to 3 1/2 hours at a time when classes are NOT in session.

Materials and studio fee

Includes up to 50 lbs. of clay and bisque firing of first box of clay. Extra clay and firings after first box have an additional charge. Fee subject to change based on market costs.


There are NO REFUNDS for classes within two weeks of start date. If refunds are issued prior to two-weeks of start date, an administrative fee of $25 will be applied.

Firing Fees/ Kiln

The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild will fire ceramic artists’ creations in the kilns (cone 10 gas reduction and up to cone 6 electric kiln firings) at the Byrdcliffe ceramics studio. Firing fees for enrolled students are $0.05 per cubic inch and $0.08 for soda firing. Drop off firings for Byrdcliffe members are $0.06 per cubic inch. To have your work fired and for additional information, send an email to ceramics@woodstockguild.org.

Private Lessons

Private lessons are available. Interested in a ceramic class for an individual or for a group of 4-6 family and friends? Please email Ceramics Program Director, Rich Conti directly at ceramics@woodstockguild.org for availability and rates.

What tools to bring to class:

Basic pottery tool kit, medium Terry cloth hand towel, an apron is optional but recommended.

Bailey’s Pottery is a great local resource for tools and supplies. Please note that supply chain issues have been experienced. They try their hardest to get your orders filled. Prepare accordingly.

Thanks for your support!


Rich Conti

Ceramics artist and Educator

A well-known ceramics artist and educator who has been a teacher and champion for ceramics since the early 1990s. Since 1996, Rich has been the Director of the Ceramics Program at the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony, where he built and equipped the studio, started regular community classes, a ceramic residency program, and private clay studios for the community.

Harry Kunhardt

Ceramics Artist

Harry is largely self-taught. A ceramics artist of the Catskill Mountains of New York, his interest in the history and geology of the region has lead him to explore the potential of local clay, stone, and wood ash as the basic materials from which his pots can be made.

Olivia Gibb

Ceramics Artist & Byrdcliffe Artist-in-Residence

Olivia Gibb (b. 1991, Ellensburg,WA) received her BFA in Printmaking from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2014. She has been studying sculptural and functional ceramic processes for the last 8 years. She has been a resident of St. Louis for 5 years and is currently an Artist-in-Residence at the Byrdcliffe Artist Colony in Woodstock, New York for the 2023 summer season. Her work aims to reflect upon societal and spiritual dualities that women bear the burden of in daily life. Vehicles for this exploration take shape in clay, music, paintings and performance.