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My Life on Clay

June 30, 2024 - July 12, 2024

Michelle Ettrick  ·  instagram.com/michelleettrick

Workshop at a glance

My Life on Clay uses life and experiences to create content for ceramic work.


  • How to choose and create a composition
  • How to make preliminary pencil drawings on bisque
  • How to draw on pots with underglaze and a fine tip trailer


  • Clay
  • Underglaze
  • Slip trailing bottle
  • Mechanical pencil
  • Graphite paper
  • Drawings


  • To draw chosen images regardless of drawing level

Artist Bio

I was a non-English speaking 13-year-old when I arrived in the United States in 1982. Life in Brooklyn, New York was a stark contrast to my early memories of Panama and the simple joys of climbing trees and playing with my friends while my mom was nearby hanging clothes on the line. As an Afro-Latina, I struggled to find a community that would accept me and where I belonged. My own identity was regularly challenged by others who judged me by the texture of my hair or the fact that I spoke Spanish fluently and struggled to communicate in English. When judged by adults and my peers, my hair was “too good” to be considered black and the color of my skin was too dark to be speaking Spanish. In addition to the hardships, I have many fond memories of my time in New York. Brooklyn is where I learned about Double-Dutch and cooling off from the New York summer heat in the open fire hydrants, which you often see in my work.

I love being a maker and clay is my medium of choice. Clay is a very personal material to me. When I put my hands in the clay and my fingers get lost in the mixture, for the moment, we become one. I stretch pull, pinch, and form shapes where I leave evidence of my having been there. I follow up by drawing on my work where I embrace my natural curly hair, heritage, womanhood and at times current worldly struggles. My artwork is a record of my experiences as an Afro-Latina American.

  • Michelle Ettrick
  • Michelle Ettrick
  • Michelle Ettrick
  • Michelle Ettrick
  • Michelle Ettrick

Workshop Description

In this workshop students will learn the trailing technique I use to draw on pots. They will use everyday events, experiences, and people, to develop their pottery voice. You will be guided through a series of Techniques using personal drawing or collected images to create the desired composition. Demonstrations will include methods for choosing subjects, and images for their work. Participants will leave class with bisque or completed glazed work with their new images. Open to all levels, however, experience making ceramic pots is recommended.

COURSE FEE: $1,210

The health and safety of students, faculty, and staff is a priority at Arrowmont. To that end, a Personal Conduct & Social Distancing Policy has been adopted to foster a safe learning environment during the coronavirus pandemic. Click here for the detailed Policy.


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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