FAQs Surfacing Techniques

1. Do I need to have any experience working with clay to take this course?

The class is going to be presented with the assumption that the participants will have basic knowledge of ceramics processes. I do not explain beginning basics in this course. However, if you wish to take the course just to learn and are willing to research basic terms and processes on your own you are most welcome to take the course. There will be no tests or grading.

2. Do I need to have a kiln to take the class?

It is recommended that you have access to a kiln but it is not necessary. You will learn techniques and receive information on how to fire your pieces but you do not have to fire your work. There will be plenty for you to learn and take back to your studio to work with at any time.

3. I have never worked with clay but would like to learn how. Is this the course for me?

I will not be teaching beginning techniques in this course and you may find yourself lost without the understanding terms and techniques that I will be referring to. You are welcome to take the course but I will not be answering questions or providing information about basic ceramic techniques.

4. I am interested in learning about your signature etching technique and how you get the fine lines in your work, will you be teaching it in this course?

No, I will not be teaching my signature etching technique in this course.

5. I am interested in surface techniques on clay but my studio only allows us to use high fire clays and glazes, can I still take this course?

Yes, you may.  However, I ask that you respect the policies of your studio in regard to what clay and glazes they allow you to bring in and fire.

6. I really want to learn how to draw on clay surfaces. Will you be teaching techniques to do this?

Yes, this class covers both the Mishima technique as well a sgraffito. Both are drawing techniques for clay surfaces.

7. I don’t think I am good at drawing, will you be teaching methods for transferring images on clay for the drawing-challenged?

Yes, I teach transfer methods that will enable you to transfer images to your pieces.

8. I am interested in photocopy transfer, screen-printing as well as using decals on clay, will these techniques be covered in the class?

These techniques are not offered in this class. Please see the answer to 13. below for more details about the techniques covered in this online class.

9.  I am used to working in two-dimensional formats and working in 3D makes me nervous, will you be explaining how to make that leap?

Yes, I will discuss and demonstrate how to move from 2D to 3D in this online class.

10. I am a college student and our school mainly focuses on sculpture/and or throwing but I’d like to learn more about surface design, is this a place where I can learn that?

Absolutely. This course will complement any other ceramics courses you may have or are currently taking.

11. I am shy and nervous about sharing my work with a bunch of people I’ve never met. Will I feel comfortable doing that in this course?

There will be a private space for you to share your work with others who are also taking this course.  It is encouraged that you share your work and your progress so that everyone can benefit from others experience. This will be a safe, private space for comments and only encouraging feedback will be allowed. No mean or critical remarks will be tolerated.

12. I have some questions that you did not answer. Can I write to you to ask them?

Please direct all questions about this class not answered here to theclayer@gmail.com

13. What can I expect to get out of this course?

The course will cover these techniques:


  • how to make image transfers templates
  • monoprint on clay surfaces
  • Mishima technique
  • sgraffito
  • carving your own stamps from rubber blocks for your clay surfaces
  • printing with your hand carved stamps
  • layering of images


  • folded footed platter
  • draping over molds


  • How to work with imagery on a three-dimensional piece

14. What will I need, as far as studio equipment, to take the course?

You will need a space to work that is clay friendly. A table surface and basic clay tools. It is optimal that you have access to a kiln but it is not mandatory. You can practice all the techniques and learn from all the demonstrations with or without firing your pieces or use of a kiln.

15. Will I get individual feedback on my work?

No, this online class is an on-demand video class. I do offer other classes that are structured to incorporate personal feedback. Please visit the Mentoring Opportunities page to see more about these classes.

16. Do I have to check into the course at specific times?

No, this class is entirely self-paced. You can sign in at any time to view the course materials.

17. What if I don’t do my assignments?

Of course, I highly recommend that everyone does the assignments as it will enhance your experience but there will not be any grades given. This is an entirely self-paced class that you can do in your own time.

18. I have only taken face to face workshops for clay and never seen a ceramics online class. How will you demonstrate techniques?

This class provides video demonstrations for each process, along with some supplemental written information for the techniques I will be teaching as well as a compiled list of frequently asked questions harvested from previous Clayer e-courses.

19. How long after the online class ends will I have access to the demonstration videos?

You will have access to the course and the videos for six months after the course ends.

20. I work a community studio that has very strict rules about types of clay we can use and what we are allowed to fire, will I still get something from this course if you use materials that we are not allowed to use in our community studio?

Yes, you most definitely will. You can use this as an opportunity to learn new techniques. However, I ask you to be respectful of your studio’s rules and regulations in regard to clays and firing temperatures they allow.  A misunderstanding around this could be a very expensive mistake for the studio and yourself. Please know the rules of your studio and do not bring in projects you have done outside the studio without your studio’s pre-approval.

21. I live abroad and would love to take your course but we use celsius temperatures instead of Fahrenheit and cone temperatures.  Will you be presenting the information with that in mind?

Yes, I will provide both Fahrenheit and Celsius temperatures so that everyone can take the course

22. What materials and tools will I need for the e-course. Do you provide a materials list?

I do my best to use tools and things that most Clayers already have in their tool boxes. An extensive materials list will be provided once you’ve registered and paid for the e-course. The materials list will not be shared unless you are registered for the e-course.

23. What kind of clay will you be using during the e-course?

I use a mid-fire cream colored smooth (without grogg) stoneware clay body called B-Mix for the demonstrations, however you can use any similar clay or porcelain as long as it fires white to ivory and has no sand or grog in it.

24. When does this course begin and end and how do I pay for it?

This course is entirely self-paced, and can begin whenever you choose after you register. Please click on the “Sign Up Here” link below to register and pay for the course.

25. What if I pay for the course and do not watch the videos during the course period, will I have unlimited access to the course information and videos for an unlimited time?

You will have access to the videos and course information for six months after your purchase date.

26. What if I never sign into the class, watch the videos, or do any of the assignments during the time of e-course. Will I able to get a refund?

Refunds cannot be given once you sign up for the e-course as you will be given all the password information giving you access to course. Credit for future classes is not given for non-participation. Please be certain that you are able to take the course before registering for it.

*The Clayer may offer deals and or discounts throughout the registration period. These discounts are time sensitive and must be purchased during the time period stated in the offer. No refunds will be given after the original purchase for the online class has been made.

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Is Surfacing Techniques right for you?

I’ve made up this simple little test to find out your experience with clay, and whether you will be prepared to keep up with the class.

  • Do you know the difference between low-fire, mid-fire and high-fire clays?
  • Do you know what a cone is?
  • Do you know what underglaze is?
  • Do you know the difference between oxidation and reduction firing?
  • Do you  know how to make a pinch pot?
  • Do you know what glaze is?
  • Do you know the difference between earthenware & stoneware?
  • Do you know what is a slab is and can you make one?
  • Do you know what scoring and slipping are?

If you answer no to any of these questions or you think I am speaking a foreign language, this course may be  a challenge for you. However, I do not want to discourage anyone from taking the class if they would like to learn techniques I am teaching. I want to make certain all participants are aware that this is an intermediate course. I will not be explaining the basics of working with clay and will be using terms in which I will assume you know if you are at an intermediate level.

**Please be aware of this before you sign up as no refunds are given once you’ve registered.