The Potters School hosts a variety of workshops throughout the year. Workshops are presented by visiting artists as well as our staff, studio members and potters enrolled in our Internship and Residency Programs.

Recent Visiting Artist Workshops have included:

  • Exploring Naked Raku with Wally Asselberghs and Sue Morse
  • Light and Energy: Porcelain Secrets with Monika Armbruster
  • Throwing and Handbuilding with Leo van de Heyden and Domi Gruszecka

Workshop with  Lisa Floryshak

Monday, February 5, 7-9pm

Registration priority given to our studio members and students
Studio members/students $25
Non-members $50
Limited to 15


Lisa Floryshak will demonstrate her forming, manipulation of, and building with slabs in the fresh, leather hard, and bisque stages. She will apply textures and color using glaze, slip, underglaze and underglaze decals.

The methods, techniques, and processes that Lisa demonstrates are applicable to all forms of pottery making. Don't miss this opportunity to expand and augment your approach to clay working under the instruction of this highly skilled, articulate and accomplished clay artist.

Lisa is an Instructor Of Art at the University Of Arkansas-Beebe. Born and raised in NY state, she has spent most of her teaching career in CT. She holds an undergraduate degree from SUNY New Paltz and a graduate degree from Manhattanville College. Her studio practice is primarily Ceramics. However, her formal training is in the art of silversmithing. She has traveled the world in search of inspiration. Lisa has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally and is included in two museum collections in Korea. She has been actively involved in the forwarding of education in the arts; providing in-service workshops, promoting local art through a newspaper column, and participating in NCECA and the NAEA throughout her teaching career.

Lisa is passionate about speed skating and cycling. She has ridden her bike over 50,000 miles and raised more than that for charity. She believes that acting on a dream brings it one step closer to reality.


 My current work is about the tactile nature of clay and the abstraction of perceptions that it will allow. I have been working paper thin, pushing the limits of the material from the start. Pinching forms, using molds lined with paper or cloth, rolling slabs as thin as the substrates they are supported by will allow, all while exploring texture, color and depth. Working thin has had its challenges which is why I decided to focus first on loose translations of functional forms rather than the permanency. This in itself is liberating.

 My work is a journal of sorts. I mindfully document each day, two times a day, on my morning and evening commute. I am looking for how the colors and shapes of the landscape change. I use this imagery to derive the color and textures I would like to emulate in my work. I work in layers, and as spontaneous as the process might appear, it has this clear beginning to end thread that often surprises me.

 I have been experimenting with a variety of clay bodies, working in two ranges, cone 6 and cone 10. I collect textures, use Amoco velvets, underglaze decals, and a mixture of transparent/translucent glazes. I think of the ware as these intricate collages and often aim for the tissue paper effect that was once part of my elementary school vocabulary long ago.

Raku Workshops 

The studio holds monthly studio member only Raku firings throughout the year. Raku workshops can also be scheduled for your group, studio, guild, school, co-op, etc.  Our Raku facilities include 6 propane fired kilns of various sizes in a spacious firing area complete with all equipment, materials, and supplies. We can host up to 15 participants.

Raku Workshops are led by our experienced staff and consist of a supervised glazing and firing session. Glazing instruction includes an explanation and description of the available glazes, application, and various expected results. Firing instruction includes information on basic kiln theory, loading, firing in oxidation versus reduction atmospheres, and basic post-firing techniques. Due to the limited amount of time available and the often wide-ranging experience of participants, we will not cover advanced techniques or complicated individual approaches.

Each workshop consists of 1 hour of glazing and approximately 5 hours of firing. Two kilns will be fired simultaneously for approximately 6 total kiln loads. We will try to fire as many pots as possible, but there is no guarantee that everything will be fired.

All participants should come prepared for a safe experience: No sandals, no shorts, long hair must be tied back. We provide all glazing and firing materials and supplies, gloves, tongs, and all safety gear.  

Fees: $450 minimum covers all of the above. Firing session can be extended beyond the 5 hours. Each additional hour of firing time beyond 5 hours is $70.
Scheduling: Weekdays only and workshops must be completed by 5 PM, call for availability.

Advanced and more personalized Raku workshops can be scheduled with our founder and Raku Master Steven Branfman. Please inquire.


Kids Workshops - Pottery Parties

If you live in the Needham, MA area, we can come to you for a fun pottery birthday party! Parties can be arranged for all ages, including mixed ages. We will provide a teacher, tools, and materials for an hour of handbuilding. The project will be based on the ages of the participants. After the party, we will carefully dry, bisque, glaze, and glaze fire your work. Pieces are generally available for pick-up about a month after the party.

To host a party, you just need an appropriate workspace where we can get a little messy. We will need a sturdy washable table and seating and water nearby for handwashing and cleanup. The floor should be washable as well (no carpets, please). Some spaces that work well are kitchens, porches, decks, garages, or outside at a picnic table in nice weather.

Our fees are $200 for up to 10 participants. Additional participants are $15 each. If you would like a longer party for adults or older children to work on a more involved project the fee is $75 for each additional hour or portion of an hour.  


 Upcoming Members-Only Workshops

Our monthly members-only workshops are presented exclusively for Potters School Studio Members and are free of charge. Please see our Membership page for more information on studio membership. There is a category for you!

**Workshops my be canceled due to lack of enrollment. Please call first before coming down to confirm the workshop is still on!



With Cindy Alvin

Weds, Jan 24th 7-8pm

Tired of hand built trays and plates warping? Are your seams cracking? Would you like to make 6 matching handles? Cindy will share some time saving hand building techniques that will change your lives FOREVAH!!!



Special Event

Workshop with Lisa Floryshak

Monday, February 5, 7-9pm

(see left column for details)



The Potters Shop Throwdown: (our own) episode 2

With Aisling Colleary


We had so much fun last time! Lets do it again!

Inspired by the British tv show The Great Pottery Throw Down - Leave the serious at home and come get messy! -  work on some team pottery challenges you may never encounter otherwise. 


Trimming the impossible. Possible.

With Gretchen Nash

Thursday, May 10 @ 7-8:30m

Cant figure out how to make the Giffin Grip useful because your pot is uneven...well, come learn the Gretchen Grip. 

During this workshop, Gretchen will focus on trimming altered pieces, making and using a chuck, a reverse chuck...and an improvised chuck. Learn how to make it work.

  Past Members-Only workshops have included:

  • Woodfiring at Noble and Greenough School
  • Kiln Info and Care with Steve Branfman
  • Making Handbuilt Aka(red) Raku Chawan with John Baymore
  • Oxides with Sarah Fuhro
  • Screen Printing on Clay with Karen Mahoney
  • Feet of Pots with Sarah Whitlock
  • Raku with Debbie Winnick
  • Slip Trailing with Jayne Raphael
  • Low-fire Techniques with Karen Mahoney
  • Big Birds: Thrown and Altered Sculpture with Sarah Whitlock
  • Bottle Workshop with Steve Branfman
  • Group Critique with Jaye Richards
  • The Air in There: Closed Forms with Sarah Whitlock

31 Thorpe Rd. Needham, MA 02494 USA     Phone: 781-449-7687       Fax: 781-449-9098    Email:     Hours: M-Th: 11-5 F: 10-4