What to Expect - Summer Program

Our summer program will run for two weeks, with a focus on throwing on the kickwheel. We’ll have a break from our regular program schedule on the weekend, which will include a workshop (subject TBD) with some of the alumni from the original South Bear School. This 2-day workshop can also be attended as a standalone program, but is included in the 2 week price. The Wheel of Summer is based around learning the world of clay through the kickwheel. The teachings that inform this program have been passed down for six centuries from Master to Apprentice. In this two-week intensive, students will learn the basic practices of pottery, and what it means to work with clay in a studio setting. Days begin with morning gathering, then demonstration and work time, a morning break where guests and students share lectures, poetry, stories, etc, and after lunch break we finish out the day working again on the kickwheel. We believe that the main tools for maintaining the tradition while changing its direction are primarily demonstrations. This course includes high quality instruction by alumni from the school, and imparts the benefits of learning to throw on the kickwheel. The program is hosted in Driftless Northeast Iowa at the School in the beautiful month of July, where one can lay in the grass, wade in the creek, and camp in the pasture.  


One Week: $550

Two Weeks: $1200

July 20-21 Weekend: $175

** The tuition for the full 2 weeks includes the weekend workshop at a discount!

Please contact us if you are interested in learning about scholarships and other payment options.



8:00-10:00 a.m. Demo/workshop 

10:00 a.m. Morning Break 

11:00-12:00 Workshop continues 

12:00-1:00 Lunch Break 

1:00-4:00 p.m. Workshop continues 

7:00 p.m. Evening Gathering/Activity 

10:00 p.m. - 7:00 a.m. Quiet Hours 


 Sunday    Monday   Tuesday   Wednesday   Thursday    Friday   Saturday 
 14               15 Week 1 Starts  16              17  Drawing Session 18                19           20 Alum Workshop
21 Alum Workshop  22 Week 2 Starts  23            24 Drawing Session 25                26          27             Last Day


In previous iterations of South Bear School, Wednesday afternoons were spent working together on a group project. This project went towards the upkeep of the property; it may be helping in the garden, doing a clean-up task, or even creating a sculpture or walkway or something else fun. The goal is to put some of our energy into improving the space that we occupy on this land, to both express our appreciation for the land itself and to honor the past and future generations of humans experiencing it. This year, because we are only offering two weeks of School, we’ll step back a generation and honor the tradition of Pond Farm Pottery by having drawing in the afternoon on each Wednesday. Marguerite Wildenhain taught that observing the world and understanding the fundamentals of visual translation is an essential element in one’s artistic journey.

What to Bring:

 If you plan to camp, please bring the necessary gear to do so. We offer primitive camping options in our woods with a portapotty available. There is always a chance for rain, so make sure you are prepared. Please bring clothing that you are okay with getting dirty; if you are working with clay it can stain clothes and will be difficult to remove. Bring a sturdy pair of shoes for the kickwheel. Sandals can work, but thin open-toed shoes like flip-flops are not recommended. Please bring your own food and cooler; there will be shared fire rings available for cooking, but you may also use other methods of cooking like a camp stove. There is a gas station about 10 minutes away where you can get ice. Water will be available on site, as well as a few electric outlets to charge a phone in the Barn. Bring a swimsuit if you’d like to splash in the creek. If you have your own tools (clay tools, paintbrushes, etc) please bring them, but we will have enough to share for each workshop if you don’t have them. It is also a good idea to bring a sketchbook or notebook of your preference. Some camp chairs and small tables are always good to have as well.

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