CP Dunbar on sun 5 jan 97
Has anyone actually been to Stephen Jepson's classes in Florida ?
i would love some input about them. i may be able to take some
time off in order to attend, but would obviously like some
input before doing so......
"And she shall have music wherever my Lady goes."
Fred Paget on tue 7 jan 97
I was one of the students in Stephen Jepson's mid November two week
session. I was very happy with the class and increased my throwing skill
about 200%. (I have been back in pottery for about 3 years now after a 30
year hiatus. Back then we had a ceramics studio with students doing the
greenware thing and were just starting to get into wheel work when my wife
got arthritis so bad she gave it up and since I was just helping out
everything stopped.Now 33 years later, retired and with time I took it up
again at the local highschool night school.We have a great setup for a
highschool with two gas kilns about 25 wheels and a nice big building. My
throwing slowly got to the point where I could make simple things up to
about 3 lbs. of clay and to maybe a foot high.Bought my own kiln and a
wheel and looked around for some workshops to improve my skill. Saw
Jepson's ad(I had his videos) amd decided to take the class,)
The studio is a brand new screened building big enough to handle about 10
students and we only had 5. Everybody had a new electric wheel- there were
several Brents , about 3 Maxs, a Soldener. an older kickwheel with motor
and I forget what all else. We used the clay that Jepson uses and it is
marvelous clay - so forgiving.
We each were supplied a set of the special tools that Stephen has developed
to use while at the school and most of us bought a set to take home. We
used the plaster bat system he uses and sells too. I bought a supply of
these and wheel adapters also to take home. When you get used to his system
through the instruction you want to adopt most of it.
Jepson is a very skilled potter and an enthusiastic teacher.He does many
demonstrations and then gives the students time to make their versions of
what he demos.It goes very fast and he is there to correct your mistakes in
technique and show you how to do it the way he teaches.You are there to
learn the skillof throwing and in the tradition of Marguerite Wildenhain
all the work is recycled into the clay bins after you get done looking at
it and maybe cutting it in half. Nothing is fired - you take home only your
We had three ladies in the class and two men. Both of us men were retired
but the other gentleman owns a pottery and a big construction business. The
ladies were all about going into business in Clay. One young lady was very
intent and Stephen gave her special attention to the development of a
business plan and I saw her work improve to the point where she used up
almost all the clay the last day.Another very young lady could hardly make
a mug after the first two days but she started to catch up and she worked
right through the week end and when we came back Monday she was doing very
While the classes go on the Jepson Pottery is in full production and we
were shown everything we wanted to see about the processes.Tom Schafer was
there making RAM press molds with beautiful incised designs. Britta Jenson
was decorating porcelain and Jean -lady of all work- was running the RAM
press, loading and unloading the kiln. carrying on the selling end of the
business, etc,etc,etc. Stephen was in and out and making hundreds of mugs
and pitchers and goblets and so on for his line of hand thrown pottery
while we practiced. On the week end he was off to sell at a nearby art fair
and some of us went there to see it.
Jepsons place is away out in the country about 27 miles from Cape
Canaveral -we saw a launch of the space shuttle from just down the road.
You definitly need to rent a car since we all stayed at a nice clean motel
in Sanford (about 17 miles to the pottery). The motel was about $24 per
day. Plenty of places to eat in Sanford or Oviedo. For lunch I ate at the
Subway sandwich shop in Geneva 2 miles from the studio. We all went out to
dinner together about four times(dutch).Stephen knows the good places.
Stephen says he is going to build a new air conditioned classroom building
but until it is done I would not want to go to a class in the middle of the
I thoroughly enjoyed the class and am hoping for better weather here in
California so I can resume practicing. I have an outdoor studio here at
Fred Paget---Mill Valley,CA,USA