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Opposites Attract
with Chris Staley & Nancy Blum
July 8–19, 2013

This workshop will focus on finding new ways to see and understand one’s work and inspirations. During the two weeks, participants will have time to create objects and engage in creative group exercises that will inspire questions and dialogue. Whether it is pottery or sculpture, the quality of a learning experience is often related to the depth of the questions being asked. With open hearts and a seeker’s spirit, Staley and Blum write, “We welcome anyone interested in a deeper conversation about their work — from the functional potter to the narrative sculptor.” While participants will be able to make finished pieces during the two weeks, the larger goal is to develop a deeper knowledge of their motivations, learn how they can grow their practice and better understand the context where their work would thrive. Along with open studio time and demonstrations, Staley and Blum will give slide lectures covering historical and contemporary ceramics as well as their own practices.

Chris Staley and Nancy Blum met years ago at the Archie Bray Foundation. While their respective art practices differ greatly from one another, their complementary perspectives on the process of making art will create a dynamic and rich learning experience during this two-week workshop. Both artists are deeply concerned with an organic elegance and have years of experience making forms come to life. They are excited to share their insights and experiences with the participants during the workshop.


Chris Staley
Chris Staley, Covered Jar

Nancy Blum
Nancy Blum, Flower Wall

Chris Staley

Chris Staley has been making pots and drawing for most of his life. His clay work has explored both issues of utility and personal expression. The notion that the lives we live inform what we create is at the heart of Staley’s ongoing search for meaning. Staley is a distinguished professor of the ceramic arts at Penn State University and was recently selected to be the Penn State laureate. He received his MFA from Alfred University in New York and has traveled extensively as a visiting artist, from Bezalel Academy in Israel to Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine. He has received two National Endowment of the Arts grants and two Pennsylvania Council of the Arts grants. His work is in many collections, including the Smithsonian Institution’s Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of Art and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, as well as friends’ cupboards. Staley served on the Archie Bray Foundation’s board of directors for nine years and is currently serving on the board of directors at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.

Nnacy BlumNancy Blum worked sculpturally in clay for many years before transitioning this practice towards public art and working in a large range of materials. Her obsessive botanical compositions on paper inform her sculptural work, and she could be seen as a maximalist to Staley’s minimalism. Blum received her MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan and her work is in many collections across the United States. To view more of Blum's work visit her website at