Work in progress

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My friend Steve Palmer came by to take some photos for the Artisans Studio Tour which will take place November 11 & 12, 2017.  My new studio will be on the Tour, although it’s not clear  whether we will have moved in yet or if Studio #10 on the Tour will take in a late-stage construction site.

I’ll be joined by Jan Elmore, who will be showing her mirror frames and mixed-media wall sculpture.  I’ll have pots from the first firings in my new kiln, including some of these that Steve caught as I was glazing them and putting them in the kiln.

Carter refers to this style of mug as my corrugated trash can series

Steve didn’t take this photo (his would have been much nicer!) but here are some of the mugs from the firing.

Most of the pots were sprayed with blue/grey glazes.

I love Steve’s shot of the cone pads from my first firings. Pyrometric cones melt at specific temperatures. Potters use them to tell how hot it is in the kiln.

New online course, second firing, and a great link

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A lot to report here:

First, my online throwing course on is now open for registration.  There are six weekly sessions, with the entire course content available for ten weeks.  This format feels like an innovative hybrid — somewhere between in-person lessons and watching pottery videos on You-Tube.  Students will have a chance to ask me questions and interact with each other in a course chat room.

Koos and Antoinette Badenhorst have created their school, starting with Antoinette’s own teaching and expanding to guest potters.  (I’m their fourth guest.)  My course covers throwing the basics of throwing cylinders plus a number of advanced projects, including lamps, two-part forms, several lid styles, enclosed forms, mugs and handles, oval forms, and elephants.  We filmed it in Saltillo, Mississippi in Antoinette’s studio.

Second, yesterday I fired my kiln for the second time.  Firing next to a construction site (we’re still remodeling the house) is more of a challenge than next to a functioning studio.  But I got lucky with the weather, in that it stayed overcast most of the day, so although temperatures were typical for Virginia in July, I was spared having to deal with direct sun.  Will post photos here when I unload the firing tomorrow.

And finally, I just discovered this set of Mick Casson Master Classes posted on Jiseys Blog.  Mick taught at Harrow and then ran the course during my second year there.  He was a warm generous teacher — one of the people I try to emulate in my own teaching.  I haven’t taken the time to watch the whole series yet, but I already know it will be a treat!



Pottery by Nan Rothwell


Functional Stoneware Pottery

Pottery Classes and Workshops

My pots are made to be used — to enhance the rituals of preparing and eating food, to hold flowers, to light a corner for reading. Making functional work connects me to the age-old tradition of artist craftsmen who make beautiful objects for daily use.

I‘ve been potting since 1969, yet after all these years, I still enjoy every aspect of making pottery, especially throwing and firing.  The alchemy of transforming soft clay into finished pots continues to excite and inspire me.

I offer classes and workshops at City Clay in Charlottesville, Virginia and at a variety of conferences and craft schools. I also teach an online course through  I had some wonderful teachers when I was first learning to pot, and teaching allows me to pass the favor on. Drop me a line if you want to know my current teaching schedule.

Spring Open House

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Nancy Maxson and I will hold our Spring Open House here at the Pottery on Memorial Day Weekend. Nancy’s display will feature her cards and paintings, plus newly republished copies of her book.  Mine will feature work from my most recent firings.  The show is free and open to the public.

Saturday, May 25
10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Sunday, May 26
12:00 noon to 4:00 pm

In addition to our latest work, we’ll have older pieces from the archives in our “Scratch & Dent” sales corner.  Please come by and tell your friends and relations about the show.  Our 2012 show was taken out by the derecho (remember the derecho last year?)  So we’re hoping for calm sunny weather this time around.


New feature length teaching DVD!


The teaching DVD that Alan and I made last summer has just been released by my friends at Ceramic Arts Daily.  Take a look! We had a great time filming it together.  We covered basic throwing of cylinders and bowls and then included some special projects.  I am excited it’s finally out!

If you are interested in buying a copy, you can get it from the Ceramic Arts Daily bookstore or buy it directly from me on this website, here.  In either case, it won’t be ready to ship until later this month (December 2010).

photo by Kathy Plunket Versluys

Credit Cards as Tools


Here’s a new video that Alan and I made as an entry to a Ceramic Arts Daily contest.  Alan was here for a week (a place he refers to as “the old country”) filming a teaching video that we hope to have available soon.  Since we were set up to film when the contest announcement arrived, we were able to whip up this quick entry in response to their theme of homemade and re-purposed pottery tools.  We didn’t make it to the final cut, but in case you are wondering what to do with your old plastic cards, here is our take on The Five Best Uses for Credit Cards.

Hope you enjoy it!

Pots & Paintings – at McGuffey Art Center now through June 27

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Lindsay Michie Eades and I have a joint show at the McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville now through June 27.

Pots by Nan Rothwell & Painting by Lindsay Michie EadesWood fired pots by Nan Rothwell at McGffey Art Center

Salt glazed pots by Nan Rothwell at McGuffey Art CenterGroup of pots by Nan Rothwell at McGuffey Art Center

Show at McGuffey Art Center

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We had a great weekend for the Scratch & Dent Sale.  Perfect weather, lots of friendly customers.  Next up — a joint show during June at the McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville.   Painter Lindsay Eades and I will share the Main Gallery Space.  The show will run June 1 – 27, with the opening reception on Friday, June 4 — 5:30 – 7:30 pm. to preview Lindsay’s paintings, look at her website.

Wiggle Wire Lamp


Given our quiet country lives and the repetitive nature of making pots, I rarely have anything that qualifies as News.  But today I have three things worth mentioning.

First, Alan has finished producing my second teaching video — on making a lamp decorated with a wiggle wire.  It’s at the bottom of this post, and we’d love your feedback on it.

Second, I had a teapot accepted in the Fourth International Small Teapot Competition that will take place at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California this spring.

Third, I leave this Sunday with my friend Kathy Knowles for a week teaching throwing at John C Campbell Folk School in North Carolina.  It’s a great place — like camp for grownups — where one can learn about almost anything done by hand.  Potting, metalwork, every kind of fiber arts, cooking, woodwork, music, and etc.  Check out their offerings at

Thanks for the comments and feedback on the site and new video!


We have at least two more videos in the works – one on making an oval vase and one on decorating a lamp using a wiggle wire.  Alan and I had fun filming them, and I am looking forward to seeing his finished products.

There are still some spots available in my July 11-12 Workshop on Altering Thrown Forms.  Details on the Workshop Page We’ll do the two-part construction shown in the pitcher video; make oval and squared forms; and play around with wiggle wires and other surface decoration tools.

Here’s an example of a wiggle-wired lamp.  I love the way the surface resembles Harris Tweed.