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Assembling The Figure

October 27, 2024 - November 1, 2024

Tom Bartel  ·  website

Workshop Overview

This ceramics course will focus on building small-scale human figures using hollow, hand-formed construction methods, plaster molds, as well as coil and slab techniques. Demos will include head sculpting (eyes, nose, lips, teeth, and ears), and how to successfully attach separate clay components. Students will experiment on small tiles of clay to test surface and color treatments using vitreous slip and underglazes. Finished work can be bisque fired for safe transport. Open to all skill levels, however, some clay experience will be helpful.


  • Press-molding techniques
  • Coil and slab-building techniques
  • Low-fire surface techniques
  • Modular clay construction
  • Propane torch on clay to speed up the building process


  • Earthenware clay
  • Vitreous slip
  • Commercial underglazes
  • Paper stencils and stamps


  • Traditional and innovative clay construction
  • Information/handouts from source image presentations
  • Discussions, and technical demonstrations
  • Test tiles for surface development
  • Low-Fire surface testing via slip application techniques
  • Multi-firing surface treatments



Fees exclude housing and meal plans. Review housing options here.

Artist Bio

Tom Bartel is a ceramic sculptor who maintains a studio in Athens, Ohio where he serves as Professor and Ceramics Chairperson at Ohio University. His works are constructed to refer to both the body and charged, stylized, surrogates for the body such as dolls, toys, and figurines. The human condition is used as a seed to investigate the concepts of disguise, identity, fertility, and mortality. Press and publications for his work include De Klein K, Netherlands, Ceramics Monthly, The Nashville Scene, The Columbus Dispatch, Neue Keramik, The Cleveland Free Times, The Oregonian, American Craft Magazine, The NCECA Journal, Ceramics Art and Perception, Confrontational Ceramics, A&C Black, London, Graphic Clay: Ceramic Surfaces and Image Transfer Techniques, Clay, Ceramics and the Human Figure, A&C Black, London, among others. He is the recipient of residencies at The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, McKnight Artist Residency, The Northern Clay Center, Belger Crane Yard Studios, Red Lodge Clay Center, The 21st International Symposium of Ceramics, Bechyne, Czech Republic, Japan, Korea, America: Contemporary Art Ceramics, Seoul Korea and Tokyo Japan. Bartel has exhibited extensively, select exhibits include the ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center, South Bend Museum of Art, Canton Museum of Art, Northern Clay Center, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe Clay, Seattle Design Center, Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA, the Buddy Holly Museum, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Albany Institute of History & Art, NY, Clay Art Center, Port Chester, NY, AMOCA (American Museum of Ceramic Art), The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, Jingdezhen International Contemporary Ceramic Exhibition, China Ceramic Museum, Jingdezhen, Taipei County YingKo Ceramics Museum, Taiwan, FuLe International Ceramic Art Museums, China and Keramikmuseum Westerwald, Germany.

  • Tom Bartel
  • Tom Bartel
  • Tom Bartel
  • Tom Bartel


In order to complete your registration, a $300 deposit is required.

Call 865-436-5860 with questions about registering for this workshop.

ART WORKSTENNESSEE ARTS COMMISIONTENNESSEE FOR THE ARTSTennessee Specialty License PlatesEAST TENNESSEE FOUNDATIONWindgate Foundation Arrowmont is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP5534 awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

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