The Narrative Figure: Stories in Clay

July 26 - July 30, 2024

The Narrative Figure: Stories in Clay


Details Fee Breakdown:
Tuition: $770
Material Fee: $90

Kelly and Kyle Phelps will demonstrate various techniques they use to create figurative ceramic relief work, emphasizing storytelling. The twins will share their process from start to finish on how their work is made and discuss how the use of the figure can be the perfect vehicle to communicate topics like but not limited to social/political, environmental issues, race, religion, class, sexuality, gender, poverty, war, and other issues of our time. Kelly and Kyle will cover formal aspects of armature/relief board construction, composition, scale/proportion, figure sculpting, surface treatment, hollowing, drying, and firing techniques. By the end of the workshop, each participant will better understand how to produce their own hollow ceramic figurative narrative. Although this is a hands-on workshop, because of the short duration, work will not be fired, and you are strongly encouraged to allow for sufficient drying time before firing.

Workshops run from 9:00am to 5:00pm each day
Lunch is included for all participants

Level: Beginner and Beyond
Workshop Levels

Definitions of Skill Levels for Workshops

  • Beginner and Beyond: Introductory level course that presents basic knowledge of tools, materials and techniques and is geared towards first timers or those who want to improve and expand their technique. It takes time to build skills.
  • Advanced Beginner and Beyond: Instruction that assumes some familiarity with tools, materials and equipment. Includes reviews and builds on basic skill sets, allows for those with more experience to work at their own pace. Further development of fundamentals, participants have had at least one class or equivalent with professional instruction.
  • Intermediate: Course content that assumes a working knowledge of basic studio tools, materials and equipment necessary to accomplish the projects and techniques to be explored. Participants feel comfortable in the studio setting.
  • Intermediate to Advanced: Course content that requires a proficient working knowledge of studio tools, materials and equipment necessary to accomplish the projects and techniques to be explored in class.
  • Advanced: Assumes proficiency and advanced working knowledge of materials and studio tools and equipment so that the focus is on artistic narrative and/or technical development.
Ages: Adult



Kelly & Kyle Phelps

Identical twin brothers Kelly and Kyle Phelps are Professors at private Catholic universities in Ohio. Kelly Phelps is a Professor at Xavier University (Cincinnati) and Kyle is a Professor at University Dayton (Dayton) where they head the sculpture and ceramic departments. Much of the twins’ ceramics based work is about the blue collar working-class, race relations, and the everyday struggles of the common man and woman. The twins continue to work collaboratively to create their artwork and share a studio in Centerville (OH). They share numerous grants, regional, national, and international exhibitions, and commissions. Their work is also included in many permanent museum collections across the United States. Most notable private collectors of the twin’s work are in the hands of film director Michael Moore, and actor Morgan Freeman as well as major reviews in Ceramics Monthly, Sculpture Magazine, and American Craft Magazine. Before entering the world of academia, and becoming professors, the twins experienced firsthand what the struggles of the working class was really about! They grew up in a blue-collar/factory environment in a “company town” in Indiana where they were inspired by family members and friends who worked and lived in various manufacturing plants, steel mills, foundries, coal mines, and railroads of the American midwest, rustbelt, and Appalachian regions of the United States.  These everyday people became working class heroes that have inspired nearly three decades of working-class art that continues to this very day.

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