Workshop Info

“Clay Camp”
Semi-Private Lessons 2018

It is with great pleasure that my wife Rickie and I invite you to attend our unique workshop at our home/ranch, Redtail. This year we offer one session of semi- private lessons which usually focuses on Mesa Verde Black-on-white with authentic materials, tools and technology. However, many other prehistoric pottery types may be studied as well as stoneware, porcelain, and oil painting. Researchers are also very welcome to bring Archaeological ceramic questions for data generation. If you have an idea, call me and let’s discuss how I can help you accomplish your goals. All experience levels are welcome.

This small workshop offers a break from the crowded workshop scene and allows you to become peacefully immersed in the art of this enchanting landscape, guided by people who care. Rickie will supply a terrific lunch each day and I will share my passion for this early pottery and the potters who roamed the Southwest nearly 1000 years ago.

The Setting
Redtail adjoins 85,000 almost road-less acres of the San Juan National Forest and is perched on Raven Ridge, a water-less, 4-mile finger of piñon/juniper forest extending west from the H.D. mountain range to Ute Creek and the Pine River drainage. It was a prehistoric avenue that saw extensive occupation, and it was here that I first got involved with prehistoric pottery when in 1986 my Golden Retriever unearthed three large Anasazi sherds while in pursuit of a gopher. With an archaeologist’s encouragement I began to excavate “Hilltop Hamlet,” a Pueblo I pithouse used as a midden. This initial exposure to prehistoric pottery fueled my subsequent quest, and the rest, as they say, is history.  Many archaeologists have contributed to this excavation over the years and guided my efforts.

The Dig
One way to connect with people is to search through their trash and we will do just that for at least one day. In the Hilltop Hamlet midden are all their pottery production secrets and a ton of inspiration just waiting for discovery as their pit structure carefully and slowly emerges from 1000 years of burial. Weather permitting, we may excavate on the drying day IF we have a drying day.

The Pottery
Students will study Mesa Verde B/w and others types, and use only authentic materials, tools and technologies. Weather permitting, prehistoric pottery will of course, be trench kiln fired. Two studios are available to match the weather whims of the High Desert.

Accommodations will not be provided. The closest hotel is the Sky Ute Casino and Lodge in Ignacio, CO just 15 minutes from Redtail —   Additionally there are two affordable B&B s in Bayfield also 15 minutes away. There are many accommodations in Durango, CO, just 50 minutes away. If I can help you with information, please just ask. This workshop is during “High Season” and accommodations book full so start early.

Cost is $250/day. A $400 deposit is required to reserve your place; it is refundable if you cancel 60 days or more prior to the workshop but forfeited after that. The balance is due 60 days prior to the workshop. If you cancel after paying the tuition, a $400 fee will be deducted from your return. If you are late with tuition payment, your space and deposit are forfeited. Please understand these conditions and Don’t wait too long to register.

Other Stuff
For those flying you will fly into Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO). There are connections from Denver, Dallas, and Phoenix. As always, bring a hat, sunscreen and camera. Summer days should be warm, into the 80′s; nights are cool, dipping into the high 50′s. In August, we should expect short afternoon rain showers.

Looking forward to seeing you at Redtail,




Welcome! We look forward to your participation.

The class deposit is $400 and due when you book a date. It is non-refundable after 60 days prior to your class. The balance is due 60 days prior to your class date and is refundable if you cancel before then (less the $400). If you are late with tuition payment, your space and deposit are forfeited. All monies are refunded if the class is canceled. PUT THESE DATES ON YOUR CALENDAR BECAUSE I WILL NOT BE SENDING OUT REMINDERS.

Details, including map and schedule, will be mailed upon receipt of deposit.
Thank you very much for your support and interest.

Clint Swink