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For any of questions about the workshops, contact Community Outreach Coordinator Melanie Finlayson at 828.765.0524 or melanie@toeriverarts.org. Participants must wear cloth face coverings over the nose and mouth and properly socially distance during workshops.

Kids Clay Workshop with Linda Powell

Ages 7 – 12
When: June 21- 23, 1PM-3:30PM or July 19- 21, 1PM-3:30PM
Where: High Country Ceramic Arts, Burnsville
Workshop fee: $100 includes all materials

Linda Powell from High Country Ceramic Arts will be hosting a three-day clay hand building workshop for kids.  Each student will spend the first two days designing their Rock Bowls, Votives and Octopus Mugs using hand building techniques that will include slabs, coiling, pinching and assembly. On the third day the kids will be decorating with underglazes.  After the workshop, the pieces will be bisque fired, clear glazed and glazed fired and will be available for pick up a few weeks later.  No experience required.


Exploring Low Fire Surfaces

with Liz Zlot Summerfield

When: Saturday, June 26,  10AM – 3PM
Where: Double Island Studio, Green Mountain NC
Workshop fee: $125 includes Slip, test tiles, terra sigillata, and underglaze.

Are you interested in working at low fire but feel intimidated with addressing the surface? This workshop intends to demystify low fire surfaces by introducing you to several techniques, many of which can be used at any temperature. The layering of these techniques has the ability to create a unique depth to the surfaces of your work. The workshop will cover slip trailing, underglazes, sgraffito, and making and applying terra sigillata. All of these techniques can be applied to sculptural and functional forms.

There will discussions on the myths and facts of earthenware, firing temperatures and cone charts, and suggestions on how to personalize your surfaces.

Participants will explore surface through test tiles that may be taken home and fired.  Small batches of terra sigillata will be available for purchase.

The format of this workshop is demonstration and hands-on work time. Ages16+ welcome.

Artist Biography:
Liz grew up in Northern California and was a child of both an entrepreneur and an admirer of the arts. Both parents instilled a determination and confidence in her that she could succeed at anything she worked towards. She attended the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis to complete her Masters of Fine Arts in 2004. Since graduation, she has lived and worked as a studio artist in Bakersville, North Carolina with her husband and glass artist, Scott Summerfield. Their daughter, Roby is an emerging artist focused on printmaking. She has been an instructor and visiting artist at numerous clay facilities, colleges, and universities. She exhibits and sells her work nationally through exhibitions, galleries, and fine craft shows. Her work resides in various permanent collections. She has been featured and on the cover of Ceramics Monthly and Clay Times magazine. She has also written several articles and created an instructional DVD produced by Ceramics Arts Daily featuring her ceramic process and her work. In 2020, she and Scott created Double Island Studio, a communal space created for art making, teaching, and learning.

Multilayer Screen Printing

with Stormie Burns

When: June 26 – 27, 9AM – 5PM
Where: Toe River Arts Spruce Pine Owen Gallery
Workshop fee: $200, which includes a 18 x 24 screen.

Screen printing is one of the most versatile and accessible methods of printmaking! Learn to transfer your drawings and mark making onto silkscreens. In this two-day workshop we will create a small edition of two-color prints on paper while exploring various methods of generating transparencies, exposing screens using photo emulsion, screen registration, and ink mixing. We will dive into the printing process with plenty of time for problem solving and one-on-one instruction. The knowledge gained in this class can easily be translated to printing on a multitude of substrates including fabric, clay, wood, etc. You should expect to leave the class with the technical skills and confidence to create screens and prints at your own home or studio!  Ages 14+ welcome.

Artist Biography
Stormie Burns is a studio artist based in Bakersville, North Carolina. Originally from central Florida, she moved to Mitchell County in 2015 to work with ceramic artists in the area. In 2019 Stormie completed the two-year Penland Core Fellowship program where she focused her study in the print studio (screen printing and letterpress) as well as the clay and glass studios (casting and mold making). After a brief move to the Asheville area she has relocated back to Bakersville and works full time in her studio.

Expressing Inner Thoughts: Bust Out

with Melisa Cadell

When: July 9 – 10,  9AM – 5PM
Where: Double Island Studio, Green Mountain NC
Workshop fee: $225

Participants in this workshop will learn simple hand building techniques enabling them to build ceramic bust forms. They will explore their ability to develop content and build forms that represent the human embodiment of complex emotion. There will be ample discussion about surface considerations specific to the bust and various sculptural forms.

Besides working with clay, we will do exercises in free writing as a way to create new ideas for our work.  This workshop will offer several ways to help you open up to thinking about the development of work through form, technique and idea. Melisa’s intention is that you will leave this workshop with a better understanding of what guides your work as well as the ability to communicate through your work.  The workshop is open to all levels of experience although basic hand building skills are useful.

Artist Biography:
Melisa Cadell works in multiple mediums and explores the complicated thoughts that drive humans behavior. Her clay work is most notably characterized by its willingness to question beliefs and actions of the contemporary world. Join us during this class to work through your ideas and build your skills or just to hang out with other sculptors and make work. Melisa has taught sculpture and 4D at East Tennessee University and figurative ceramics at Appalachian State University. She has taught numerous workshops in the south and northeast.

Inked Up: Introduction to Block Printing

with Roby Leigh Summerfield

When: July 24,  10AM – 2:30PM
Where: Double Island Studio, Green Mountain NC
Workshop fee: $65 all materials included

This workshop offers the essential components to creating unique relief block prints. Participants will learn how to carve linoleum, ink blocks, and print their own personal imagery. Demonstrations include imagery transfer, building texture, and instruction of the required tools needed to create their own prints. There will be plenty of hands-on work time and each participant will leave with several prints and the required skills to continue their printmaking journey. Open to all levels ages 14+ welcome.

Artist Biography:
Roby Summerfield resides in beautiful Bakersville, North Carolina. She’s passionate about printmaking and draws inspiration from her enormous botanical collection. When she is not in her studio, she is actively involved in community service, playing with and loving her animals, and going to high school at Mayland Early College. Her most recent accomplishments include creating Bakersville’s first Little Free Library and participating in Toe River Arts massive scale wood block print workshop, Big Ink. Roby will be teaching this class with Liz Summerfield as her onsite supervisior.

Introduction to Precious Metal Clay

with Amy Brandenburg

When: September 4,  11AM – 5PM
Where: Toe River Arts Spruce Pine Owen Gallery
Workshop fee: $125

Explore jewelry making using Precious Metal Clay. PMC is clay made of metal particles, which allows you to sculpt and create pieces that become solid, fine silver when fired. Each student will be able to create a pair of small earrings and a charm or a bead. You will learn how to texture the clay, fire, patina and polish. All skill levels and ages 14+ welcome.

Artist Biography:
Amy Brandenburg is a certified PMC instructor who has been teaching metal clay for the last 9 years. She received a BA in Jewelry Design from Columbia College in Chicago and an MA in Visual Culture; Costume Studies from NYU. An award-winning metal clay artist and member of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild for the last 5 years, she creates jewelry inspired by history, nature and architecture that is enameled, carved and three dimensional. Sharing her passion for metal clay, she creates an environment where others can experiment, learn and grow. 

Printed Surfaces on Clay

with Susan Feagin

When: September 11,  10 AM – 5 PM
Where: Double Island Studio, Green Mountain NC
Workshop fee: $100 includes up to three EZScreens, one silk screen, a squeegee, newsprint, transparencies, colored slips, underglazes, and all kinds of other fun stuff for printing on clay.

 Enjoy the day making your own slip transfer decals and printing patterns on clay. Bring your drawings and ideas and we’ll make some drawn slip transfers, some EZScreens and experiment with drawing fluid on a silk screen and try screen printing directly on the clay. We’ll make some small clay monoprints, perfect for tiles or building pots. I’ll also demonstrate making simple drape molds, creating sgraffito imagery, and carving the clay to round out your printed surfaces. Beginner’s welcome, ages 14+.

 Artist Biography:
Originally from Burbank, CA, Susan spent her formative years growing up around Atlanta, GA. She has a BFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an MFA from the University of Florida. She was also a Core Fellow at the Penland School of Craft and is currently the Clay Studio Coordinator at the school. 


The Enveloping Landscape

with Susan Patrice

When: September 18, 10AM – 5PM
Where: Toe River Arts Spruce Pine Owen Gallery
Workshop fee: $100

Through this immersive workshop, we guide photographers of all levels through a personal and transformative creative process. Participants experience the relational beauty of documentary photography, learn simple and powerful earth-based mindfulness practices, and make personal photographs that open the door to wonder and curiosity while deepening their contemplative practice of seeing, knowing, and caring for a place. Inspiration is sparked through photographic exercises, an awakening of the imagination, and meaningful and supportive reflection. No prior photography experience is needed, and iPhones are welcome.  Ages 16+ welcome.

Artist Biography:
Susan Patrice is a documentary photographer, community artist, and founder of Makers Circle. She recently launched PhotoTerra, a community project that encourages photographers to deepen their intimacy with the natural world through visual stewardship. Susan’s own photography and public installations focus primarily on the Southern Landscape and its people and feature intimate images that touch deeply into the questions of place and belonging. 

BIG INK : Large Woodcut Workshop

with Lyell Castonguay

When: October 29-30, 9AM – 5PM
Where: Toe River Arts Spruce Pine Owen Gallery
Workshop fee: $200 for accepted participants

Toe River Arts, Appalachian State and BIG INK present an intergenerational workshop printing large woodblocks for all levels of skills and interest. Participants can produce woodblock prints up to 40” x 96”.  Lyell Castonguay Owner/Director of BIG INK their specialty is printing woodblocks carved at a monumental scale.

The selected participants will include App State Students and local artists tasked with carving woodblocks in the months leading up to BIG INK’s visit. No prior experience is required from any of the event participants, BIG INK will provide an online tutorial workshop once you have been accepted. Toe River Arts will provide a space, loaned tools and materials, guidance and an opportunity to build connections. Most of the work will be done at home, however we hope to gather the students and artists together to share updates, potential studio tours and slides. Accepted Artist participants will pay a $200 fee for the workshop event plus cost materials needed to make the block, paper and ink will be provided on day of workshop. 

Toe River Arts goal for this workshop is to create a diverse intergenerational group so that artists and students can learn and create side by side and make connections leading to possible working relationships in the future. This event encourages young artists to pursue their ideas and see craft as a viable way to make a living. We hope it will allow some members of the Toe River Arts community an opportunity to support fledgling creators.

BIG INK will return to Toe River Arts, Owen Gallery on October 29 & 30, 2021 and work with the group printing each participant’s woodblock. Each participant will leave with three professional grade prints, rejuvenated inspiration, new skills and new connections.

Please complete this short application below by August 2, 2021 at 11:59pm EST to be considered for this opportunity. You will be notified by no later than August 23 of your selection status. If you have any questions contact the Toe River Arts, Community Outreach Coordinator.


Artist Biography:
Lyell Castonguay received his BFA from New Hampshire Institute of Art in 2010. He is represented by Mitchell Gildding’s Fine Arts, Brattleboro, Vermont and Brumfield Gallery in Astoria, Oregon. His work is a part of national and international collections including the Archille Bertarelli Collection, Milan, Italy and the New York Public Library in New York, NY. In addition to creating his own work Castonguay also teaches woodblock print making as the Owner/Director of BIG INK.


Due to uncertainties created by COVID-19, we are no longer able to offer refunds of any workshop unless we can fill your spot. We will extend a 24-hour grace period immediately following the purchase of a workshop where a refund will be issued if requested by the student. Beyond that 24-hour grace period, refunds will not be issued under any circumstance.  If you are issued a refund a check will be mailed for all your workshop fee minus 3% processing fee.


Toe River Arts encourages collaboration in service of our mission and reserve the right to decide when and with whom we will have community partners. The reasons for these collaborations include boosting organizational efficiency, effectiveness and assist our community and partners with the sharing of resources, information, and ideas. Toe River Arts hopes these partnerships create a stronger group of organizations that can advance their stated missions and common objectives more effectively.


Mayland Community College – Small Business Center

In collaboration with Toe River Arts, Mayland Community College’s Small Business Center has the following lineup of classes that are art-focused for those in an arts-related field and seeking more information about the arts—marketing, bookkeeping, sales, just getting started. All classes are held at the Arts Resource Center [ARC] in Spruce Pine [above the Toe River Arts Gallery; entrance in back] on Wednesday, but please note the times. Classes are FREE, but you must register.

Click here to access classes.

Please go to MCC Small Business Center, search for your class by location and date, and click the “Register” link. You can also contact Allen Cook at 828.766.1295 or tcook@mayland.edu.