Enriching lives through art and craft

​Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Utilitarian Clay Symposium has been cancelled for 2020. Arrowmont staff is currently working on rescheduling the Symposium. For more details, see executive director Jim Scarsella’s message: https://www.arrowmont.org/director-message/​


​Utilitarian Clay VIII National Symposium

​Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts will host the eighth Utilitarian Clay VIII Symposium from September 9-12, 2020. Held every four years since 1992, Arrowmont’s Utilitarian Clay Symposium enjoys a national reputation within the ceramics community. Celebrating and appreciating the limitless interpretations of the utilitarian clay object, the Symposium attracts those who are interested in the practical concerns with making functional objects and the more theoretical issues related to the field. The Symposium, limited to only 200 attendees provides an intimate atmosphere for meaningful and on-going dialogue, in-depth conversations, great food and social activities.​ Utilitarian Clay VIII was co-organized by Nick DeFord, Arrowmont program director, and Kansas City potter, Chandra DeBuse.


Birdie Boone · Autumn Cipala · Paul Eshelman · Kenyon​ Hansen · Lydia Johnson · Martina Lantin · Heesoo Lee · David MacDonald · Forrest Lesch-Middelton​ ​· Ted Neal · Brooks Oliver · Sarah Pike · Bandana Pottery · Akira Satake · Sue Tirrell · Holly Walker

These sixteen artists, working in functional ceramics from a variety of perspectives and backgrounds, will provide lectures and demonstrations across three full days. Before those days, however, the event kicks off on Wednesday with an opening reception to the 2020 Utilitarian Clay VIII: Celebrate the Object Exhibition featuring work from all of the presenters, plus selected invited artists and a juried student exhibition. In addition to the demonstrations and exhibitions, the symposium will have panel discussions, additional lectures from guest speakers and a cup exchange which allow for artists and makers to present their work and research.

Bill Griffith wrote of the history of the symposium, “In the spring of 1990, Michael Simon, well respected studio potter from Georgia was teaching a one-week workshop at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. I was the Assistant Director of Arrowmont and approached Michael at the end of the workshop session and asked for his thoughts about Arrowmont hosting a conference with a focus on making pottery. Michael liked the idea and commented, ‘if you do a conference about pottery, I hope you celebrate the object, damn it!’ With that comment and a bit of editing, the official title was born. I took the lead designing and coordinating the first conference (referred to as a conference in the early years) held in the fall, 1992.” Arrowmont invites you to participate in this craft tradition and register for Utilitarian Clay VIII National Symposium this year.

Registration Opens April 1, 2020 at 8:30am EST.
Call 865.436.5860 to register.

Symposium Fee……..$525.00
(includes all symposium events, Wednesday evening Gallery Reception, all meals from Thursday through Saturday night dinner and social​)


Housing includes Wednesday through Saturday night. Housing is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Single Private Bath…………$400
Double Private Bath………..$300
Single Stuart/Teachers…….$245
Double Stuart/Teachers…..$200
Triple Stuart/Teachers……..$155
Double Red Barn…………….$155
Triple Red Barn………………$135
Dormitory Red Barn………..$115



Gallery Exhibitions & Reception: 5:30-7:30 pm. Complimentary heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Sandra J. Blain Galleries.
Welcome & Keynote: 8pm. Arrowmont main auditorium.
Airport Shuttle Service: Available from Knoxville McGhee-Tyson Airport (TYS). Call Elite Taxi at 865.296.9180 to make your arrival and departure pick up reservations at least two weeks prior to Symposium. Rental cars also available at the airport.
Housing & Meals: Housing includes Wednesday through Saturday night. All meals included Thursday breakfast through Saturday dinner/social​. No meal service on Sunday. Symposium concludes Saturday evening with dinner, music and dancing 6:30-11:30 pm.
Departures: Sunday morning.
Cup Exchange: (optional) You are encouraged to bring a clay cup to exchange with other symposium participants. At check-in, each cup will be assigned a number and a system set up for exchanging the cups on Thursday morning at breakfast.
Detailed Symposium Schedule: Specific detailed schedules and information packets will be distributed at Check-In on Wednesday.


​​Arrowmont’s sponsorship program offers businesses and schools the opportunity to partner with Arrowmont to present vital programming that positively impacts utilitarian potters and practitioners.

Significant advantages accrue to Arrowmont’s partners. Download this document for sponsorship levels and benefits of underwriting the 2020 Utilitarian Clay Symposium​​. Arrowmont staff also works with sponsors to tailor a program specifically to meet the needs of the business or educational institution. Each level below includes at least one registration to the Symposium and early access to on-campus housing.

For information about specific projects or to discuss building a sponsorship program for your business, call Fran Day, director of institutional advancement, at 865.436.5860 or e-mail fday@arrowmont.org. You may also contact Nick DeFord, program director, for information about the conference and programming at 865.436.5860 or ndeford@arrowmont.org.




















Birdie Boone · Autumn Cipala · Paul Eshelman · Kenyon​ Hansen · Lydia Johnson · Martina Lantin · Heesoo Lee · David MacDonald · Forrest Lesch-Middelton​ ​· Ted Neal · Brooks Oliver · Sarah Pike · Naomi Dalglish and Michael Hunt (Bandana Pottery) · Akira Satake · Sue Tirrell · Holly Walker​


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