22A-2025 – Steve Kelly – Pouring Vessels Through History

May 25 – June 7  2025

Design beautiful, functional pouring vessels while taking inspiration from the past and present

Throwing. Some experience is desirable

22A-2025 – Steve Kelly – Pouring Vessels  Through History


Most potters are familiar with the challenge of making a beautiful, functional pouring vessel. Whether it is a drippy spout on a pitcher, an awkward handle on a ewer or the obligatory train-wreck of a tea-pot, we’ve all been there at some time or another.  A pitcher or jug should be a joy to see and a joy to use and the potter must balance the form visually as well as physically.

Pouring Vessels Through History will lead students through the technical skills needed for designing well-balanced ewers, pitchers and tea-pots. First they will learn to throw both open and lidded vessels. Then they will learn to design handles and spouts. But, most importantly participants will learn how to take all these parts and pieces and combine them into lovely well-balanced pottery. During this concentrated period of work, participants will enjoy the friendship and comradery of their international peers while drawing inspiration from the museums, villages, and hills of Tuscany.

Techniques taught


Students will investigate and see pouring vessels from ancient Etruscan potters and more contemporary potters as well. We will visit a winery and olive groves and discuss how to create appropriate vessels for wine and oil. Time will be spent outside of the studio soaking up history and the beauty of the natural surroundings through excursions to villages, museums and the Tuscan countryside.

wheel throwing and altering

Steve will share production techniques and methods for creating both simple and complicated pouring vessels. There will be wheel demonstrations of pitchers, ewers and teapots. Students will learn to pull handles and spouts. They will learn to dart and assemble forms and careful attention will be given to creating lids that fit and spouts that pour without dripping.

surface decoration and glazing

Steve will also share a variety of the surface techniques he has developed. He will demonstrate his water-etching technique as well as some very specific ways he draws, stamps, and layers color on his surfaces. Exploring color has become an essential component of Steve’s recent work. Finished pieces will be fired in either a soda or gas kiln.

Teaching method

Having taught art and ceramics for 30 years, Steve brings to the studio a wealth of technique and teaching skills. After giving 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. Steve creates a classroom community full of humor and fun, a place where all sorts of students feel at home. Students will learn from each other as well as from the instructor. Conversations, questions and laughter are a huge part of the journey.  Pouring Vessels Through History will encourage students to share ideas and inspiration while cultivating skills and design aesthetics.


On every classday, a delicious meal will be served. At booking, you may select your preferred room type, choosing between standard lodging, single room and/or upgraded accommodation. Please note that depending on the availability, certain types at times may not be offered. During the two weeks, there will be some inspirational fieldtrips that are included in the cost. The workshop is crafted for intermediate-level potters, but less experienced potters can be accommodated.

About the Artist

Steve Kelly b.1971 Is a potter and sculptor based in Wilmington, NC. He is a professor at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington and leads workshops in the US as well as abroad. His work can be seen in numerous American galleries, magazines and most recently in Surface Decoration for Ceramics a book on contemporary ceramic surface techniques. His functional forms range from humble utilitarian vessels to more complex, abstract gallery work. His pottery and sculptures center around such questions as what objects and surfaces can tell us about who we are, how we relate to one another, and how we relate to our planet.

Recently he was the Professional Artist in Residence at Sturt, Australia’s pioneering design center and school for contemporary craft. Steve received his BFA from 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 and American 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 May 25 (arrival) – Saturday June 7 (departure) 2025

Length of course

10 working days in the studio


Surface techniques, Throwing


Some experience required

Workshop fee without lodgin:

Euro € 2780

Deposit for booking:

Euro 900

Bookings for the 2025 Courses open on June 1st 2024

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;
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.


The costs listed include both: the workshop fee and the lodging. 

Standard accommodation in shared double room, at 15 minutes walking distance from La Meridiana – Final course cost: Euro 3780
Standard accommodation in single room, at 15 minutes walking distance from La Meridiana – Final course cost: Euro 4280
Upgraded accommodation in shared double room with use of swimming pool, 8 minutes walking distance from La Meridiana : Final course cost Euro 4180
Upgraded accommodation in single room with use of swimming pool, 8 minutes walking distance from La Meridiana: Final course cost: Euro 4540
Private appartment on the grounds of La Meridiana with one bedroom, kitchen, bath and outdoor space. Final course cost: Euro 4680
Course without lodging Euro 3280

Artist statement

I’ve always been interested in the marks we humans make. Whether that is a wall covered in playbills, signs and graffiti or the deep craters, holes and tunnels produced by mining. These human marks can be both beautiful and ugly. My forms are stamped, slashed, dented, then layered with color and glass. I’ve always been captivated by ceramic objects that demonstrate the many opportunities clay gives the maker to change and alter forms and surfaces. Whether that is the malleability of soft clay, a carvable, leather-hard surface or the fully-dry pot. There are so many points along the way for processes and formal choices.

Like abstract paintings ceramic objects can have deep, layered surfaces, even deeper than paintings really, because of their three-dimensionality. I want viewers to see my forms as opportunities to investigate surface and process. I hope my vessels will bring out the archeologist in the viewer and encourage them to uncover processes, actions and fossilized moments. I hope they interrogate their own relationship to mark-making, form and beauty.