23-2024 – Steve Kelly – Cultivating Voice, Crafting Vocabulary

June 2 – 15 2024

Creative vision through wheel and surface techniques

Throwing. Some experience is desirable

23-2024 – Steve Kelly – Cultivating Voice, Crafting Vocabulary


This two-week course will help students develop their personal voice through improvement of their production abilities and expansion of their surface design vocabulary.  Cultivating Voice, Crafting Vocabulary walks students through the design process,   from visualization and sketching to the finished product. Furthermore, during this concentrated period of work, participants will enjoy the friendship and comradery of their international peers while drawing inspiration from the museums and hills of Tuscany.

Techniques taught

research and visualization

Finding inspiration and turning that inspiration into a cohesive body of work is a skill. Learning methods for developing ideas, planning a body of work, and seeing the vision through to completion will be the goal of this workshop. Students will explore a number of research methods. Time will be spent outside of the studio soaking up history and the beauty of natural surroundings. In the studio, students will synthesize their inspiration by sketching and conducting wheel and surface experiments.

wheel throwing and altering

In  Cultivating Voice, Crafting Vocabulary  Steve will share production techniques and methods for creating both simple and complicated forms. There will be wheel demonstrations of everything from cups and bowls to lidded forms, pitchers and tea-pots with an emphasis on creating a process that is consistent and repeatable and expresses each artist’s personal voice.

surface decoration and glazing

Steve will share a variety of surface techniques that he has developed for his own work. He will demonstrate his water etching technique as well as some very specific ways he draws, stamps, and manipulates his surface texture. Exploring color has become an essential component of Steve’s recent work. Students will learn some of the unique methods he uses to apply underglaze and glaze that create his expressive, painterly surfaces. Finished pieces will be fired in either a soda or gas kiln.

“I try to engage the pot at all its various stages, taking advantage of the changing qualities of the clay. From wet on the wheel to bone dry, there are so many opportunities for texture and mark-making.”

Teaching method

Having taught art and ceramics for 30 years Steve brings a wealth of technique and teaching skills. After classroom demonstrations he works individually with potters to observe and help refine technique. He is a hands-on instructor, which means he is right there with the student, guiding them as they acquire new skills. The most important aspect in Steve’s classroom is community full of humor and  fun. Students will learn from each other as well as from the instructor. Conversations, questions and laughter are a huge part of the journey. This course will encourage students to share ideas and inspiration while cultivating Voice, crafting Vocabulary, sharing meals, and exploring Tuscany.


On every classday, a delicious meal will be served and lodging is included in the cost as well. During the  two weeks, there will be some inspirational fieldtrips that are included in the cost. The workshop is for the intermediate level.

About the Artist

Steve Kelly lives and teaches ceramics at in Wilmington, NC. His work can be seen at numerous galleries and was featured in Ceramics Monthly. For many years Kelly has owned and operated the production pottery Kelly Pottery. His functional forms range from humble utilitarian forms for shops and restaurants to more complex gallery work.  Infact, his sculptural work centers around these questions: what can objects can tell us about who we are, how we relate to one another, and how we relate to our planet.
Steve received his BFA at the University of Montana and his MFA from Maine College of Art. Perhaps his greatest education, however, came from his apprenticeship with master potter Trew Bennet in the hills of Virginia. Where, in keeping with the ethos of traditional Asian ceramics, he spent countless hours creating vessels that both honor the humble nature of clay and transcend it.kellypottery.com  stevenkellystudio.com        


Steve Kelly


Sunday June 2 (arrival) – Saturday June 15 (departure) 2024

Length of course

10 working days in the studio


Surface techniques, Throwing


Some experience required

Total cost:

Euro 3400

Deposit for booking:

Euro 900

Payment and Refund Policy

A deposit is required at registration. After submitting the registration form, you may proceed with the payment on-line. If you choose to pay by bank transfer, the registration will be confirmed once the deposit has been accredited in our banking account. The balance must be paid at the beginning of the course.

You may withdraw within 14 days of registration without incurring in any penalties and will have the deposit fully refunded.  No refund of deposits past 14 days of registration, pursuant to articles 53 and following of the Italian consumer legislation, in accordance with the EU consumer protection legislation. In the event of disputes, the competent court is Florence. If the workshop cannot be hold because of an insufficient number of students, the deposit will be fully reimbursed.
Force Majeure
Students must know that cancellations may occur due to events beyond our control (e.g. pandemic, civil disorder, medical or family issues of the instructor). In such case, La Meridiana reserves the right to offer a voucher for a different workshop of your choice. The voucher is valid for two years. The deposit will be transferred to the workshop of choice.

Additional Information

The workshop fee includes the following:
Tuition of 6 – 8 hours per day;
Studio open 11 hours per day;
All materials and firings;
Lodging in shared double room in apartments of simple standard at maximum 15 minutes walking distance.
Single room and/or upgraded accommodation on request, at additional fee. All apartment types have shared kitchen and shared bathroom facilities. Please note that at times, not all room types may be available.
Freshly prepared three course lunch with wine on all working days;
Welcome breakfast, Welcome and Final dinner;
Coffee break in the mornings and in the evenings.


La Meridiana is equipped to comply with the current safety standards regarding Covid-19, including social distancing between people in and outside the studio. The daily maintenance of hygiene measures is guaranteed.  Please note that participants will be required to follow the security protocol and to comply with some simple precautions.

At booking, you may choose your preferred room type but depending on the availability, certain types at times may not be offered.

Choose the accommodation you prefer: