May 2023 | Paul Briggs (He/Him) - Pinch-Forming: A Mindful Approach

Regular price$275.00

Clay By The Bay is thrilled to be hosting Paul Briggs (@psbriggs3.0) for our MAY 2023 workshop artist.

100% of the registration proceeds will be donated DIRECTLY to the artist, to support the ever growing community of talent we strive to nurture  


Paul Samuel Briggs was born in Beacon, NY and grew up in the Hudson Valley area of New York State.  He was one of those kids who doodled all the time, enrolled in various art classes and began working with clay as a 9th grader. Ceramics quickly became the one place where his attention was not disturbed. His affinity for pinch-forming clay developed while the art director of a summer camp in Bushkill, PA. His thinking about art objects as material shapes with meaning began as an undergraduate at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Over his circuitous life journey Paul has studied and taught education, ceramics, and theology, earning his PhD at the Pennsylvania State University and his MFA at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA.  

Paul works primarily with pinch-forming and slab building processes and overall his work is about art making as inner development, broadly understood. He creates distinctive, high relief pinch-formed ceramic vessels and penetrating slab-built sculptural forms, both genres often have interior space. The former is his meditative practice, and the latter offers him opportunity to philosophize concretely and assess traditions that impede the possibility of ongoing equanimity in individuals and communities. The present series of pinch vessels revisit an earlier theme of the “Windflower,” pieces that lightly sit in space and “lean towards the sun,” and the geode series which is glazed only on the inside. Paul’s most recent slab-formed works are, “Knot Stories,” that unpack the importance of language in shaping ideologies about beauty and community; “Cell Personae,” dramatizing the impact of incarceration on Black lives, and “Poetic Justice,” a series that looks to the resilience of black life in America through the coupling of sculpture and poetry. “The works are remarkable for re-scripting the basic vocabulary of ceramics (slab construction and coils).” Paul resides in the greater Boston area with his partner making a life, art, ceramics, sewing, quilting, and thinking about how far away their three children live.


We will move beyond the usual threshold of the 3-5 inch pinch-formed bowl by focusing on the movement of the clay upward and around the expanding clay form. The vessel becomes a by-product of the process of growing and expanding a form from one piece of clay without addition or subtraction being mindful of transitions in the forming process.  Students will begin by gaining fluency with bowl, cylindrical, and vase forms and refining these objects during the stages of the hardening clay.  Having learned to competently move clay using only their hands, students will then understand how to strategically reserve clay within a form in areas of their choice to create relief designs and patterns that emerge from the pinch-formed vessel.


WORKSHOP TIME & LOCATION: Friday night will be an Artist Talk from 7-9pm where everyone in the community is invited to meet & greet the artist and hear more about their craft!

Saturday & Sunday from 11am-3pm you will have a reserved seat to learn from the artist and work along side them to expand your ceramic skillset!  Registration will be for BOTH events, and a lunch break will be included. 

All activities will be hosted at Clay By The Bay's facilities (1618 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, 94109)

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I’ve now taken a few classes at Clay By The Bay, all with different instructors - all have been wonderful experiences. It’s fun to see how different people teach the same concepts and find what clicks for you

Allara U.

I love the studio! I use it as often as I can to practice and create! As a student - you get access to it every day of the week! I’m so happy that I found this place and discovered this hobby of mine ☺️

Santa R.

Can't recommend this studio enough, and I'd definitely consider getting a membership here in the future.

Anthony K.