Nerikomi Workshop

I’m offering a Nerikomi Workshop, June 9 and 10, 10am to 5pm.

Nerikomi is an ancient Japanese decorative technique that uses colored clay to make intricate designs directly in the clay. Patterned rolls, or “canes” are formed by stacking different colored clays together. Cross-section slices of these canes are applied to slabs of clay, making decorative clay “fabric.” Working with colored clay in this way is all about patterning: making colorful designs–flowers, geometrics, checkerboards, stripes etc, and integrating this design into the body of the pot. This demonstration will teach basic nerikomi process: coloring clay, making nerikomi rolls and clay fabric, and using the clay fabric to construct elegant and sturdy porcelain forms.

In the morning, I’ll talk about mixing colored clay, demonstrate how to make a “cane” of  patterns, and how to create graduated color, light to dark.

We’ll break for a potluck lunch.

In the afternoon, we’ll make canes and use our canes to make a fabric of nerikomi design. On Sunday we’ll use the clay fabric to make two slab-formed pots, one on a plaster mold, and one by constructing a tall form using templates with dart&tuck construction techniques.  

Please view past blog posts for images of previous June workshops.

Fee: $200 + a delicious potluck lunch item to share.



Holiday Sale 2018, online

Anticipating snow, I’ve posted  images of a selection of pots that are available at this year’s Milkhouse Holiday Show for you to visit my Holiday Show without leaving home.  This shop will continue until Christmas with new postings. Click on the image of the pot for a closeup.

Grab a cup of tea and a piece of pear pecan bread (oh no, that’s only if you come to the studio.)   Sit back and relax,  watching to see if snow flakes are dotting the window as you gaze through my Holiday Show.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the pots, email me at with the number of the item, and I’ll mark it sold. You can pick it up any time next week.  The studio is open daily from 9am to 6 pm.






Nerikomi Pots





Black Friday Preview

All of the pots in this post will be available at the Milkhouse Studio Open House on Black Friday.

Too soon for Cherry Blossoms?
nerikomi bowl

Hydrangea on Woodfired bowl

Purple Daisy Shallow Bowl with a beautiful blush on the raw porcelain clay.

bowl with nerikomi

This shallow bowl is wood fired in the salt chamber of the wood kiln. The salt produced a very shiny glaze surface on the raw clay.

Woodfired bowl

Two faceted teapots, wood-fired

woodfired teapot woodfired teapot


Below are a few of the Nerikomi “Partners” boxed sets, inside and out. There’ll be cups with other flower designs, as well.

The “peachy” blush on the Hydrangea cups are a result of the wood firing process.

black friday previewblack friday preview.




June Nerikomi Workshop Pots

It was a delightful workshop this year.  Thanks to all who came with their good ideas and energy.  Here’s some of the results of the workshop:



Paulus Behrenson

This summer’s classes at Milkhouse Studio began with a session on Pinch Pots.  Slowing down, caressing the balls of clay in our hands, quietly pinching an intimate pot, thinning the walls, imprinting our fingers into the clay as a permanent record of our connection to this piece of our earth.

pit firing

Quite naturally our conversation turned to Paulus Berenson.  We read passages from his book, “Finding One’s Way With Clay,” and were again inspired by his approach to art and clay.

We were shocked to hear of his death on June 15th; he’s been so present in our hearts as we made our pinch pots. Thank you, Paulus, for your guidance and generosity of spirit.  We celebrate your life and work.

Start with pleasure




David Shaner

Taken from  Utilitarian III at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts:

Celebrate the Object.

Two Native American Quotes

“God gave to all people a cup of clay and from that cup they drank their life”

“Clay remembers the hands that formed it.”

Nevica Porject

“Throughout history, pottery has been a signature of man.  It is an interpretation of material, form, and process.  It is a lens that provides an aperture into the soul of the man and the times in which he lives.  Each vessel shares a moment in the life of an artist and reflects the magical act of creation.  What we do with clay identifies who we are.”

                                                                                                    -David Shaner


This past year I’ve done several group firings in the Norborigama Wood kiln at Chester Springs Studio .- a ridiculous amount of work for this old bod, but the results are certainly lively and seductive.  I put a bunch of my porcelain ware, both in the wood chamber and salt chamber.  The surface of the pots shimmer with life, and kept me coming back to this process, despite the labor intensity.

The firing lasts close to 24 hours, and all the participants help to load the kiln, fire in shifts, unload, and prepare the shelves and kiln for the next firing.  Matt Wren guides the firing process, and we all benefit from his experience with the kiln, and judgement about the process.

Some results:

Nerikomi Workshop Results

Thanks to everyone in last weekend’s Nerikomi Workshop for the beautiful designs, good company, and good food!

During the workshop, I demonstrated making canes and using the canes to make a fabric.

Here’s the demonstration fabric I made:IMG_1282


The participants used the fabric to make plates,  vase forms, and even a lampshade. (images of some of the forms to follow after firing.)

I used my fabric after the workshop to make bowls that I will fire next weekend.  I began by cutting the fabric into strips


and then applied the strips to a fresh slab of porcelain

Makings of a slab bowl
Makings of a slab bowl


Here’s the bowls waiting to be fired:

Bowl with flower strips and cobalt stripes
Bowl with flower strips and cobalt stripes





Images of the fired pots will appear in a few weeks



I’ve been working with Nerikomi for the past 5 years, adding this disciplined design process to my work. Hopefully, sharing the methods I learned through the years will interest others in this process.

I’ve been very inspired by Curtis Benzle, Vince Patelka, and Dorothy Fieblemann.  There is much information about their process on the internet.  Their generosity in sharing their process on the internet has fueled a strong interest in adding color and design to my typically “quiet” pots.

My personal exploration working in colored clay began, though,  years ago at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia, admiring the work of Cate Fetterman.  Cate made plates, and tables, lampshades and other forms in cone 6 porcelain.  Cheerful, dynamic color work.

nerikomi plate
Plate, Cate Fetterman

My 4 year old son and I made modest plates using her methods.

nerikomi plate
mom and son plate

Reaquainting myself with colored clay, 5 years ago, and using Cate’s process of applying sliced colored clays to a slab of porcelain, and forming the slab into pots, ignited once again, a joy of colored patterning.

Morning glory platter
Morning glory platter
Dessert Set
Dessert Set


I then began to make colored slabs of clay, cutting the clay using pattern templates and constructing them onto plaster forms with dart and tuck techniques to make round vessel forms like teapots and vases.

nerikomi teapot
Rose teapot
Plaster mold and template for teapot
Plaster mold and template for teapots



Using methods I discovered from Vince Pitelka’s instructions on the internet, I began to make thin slices of nerikomi and apply them directly onto thrown forms.

large blue saurerkraut bowl
Large bowl with nerikomi
Serving bowl
Nerikomi Teapot

Adding nerikomi porcelain designs to stoneware fired in the wood kiln has created a new dimension for this type of work.  The warmth of wood firing combined with the delicacy of nerikomi is a path I want to continue to explore.

Nerikomi Plate, woodfired
blue bowl
woodfired nerikomi bowl