The Clayer: Surface Patterns & Molds

On Demand Open Access


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About the E-Course

The Clayer: Surface Patterns & Molds is a new take on surface and form. This on demand e-couse will focus on creating patterns and rich textures on clay surfaces and making exciting pieces using the techniques you learn during the ecourse. You will learn how to make simple plaster molds, carve intricate patterns into clay to create bisque press molds that we will use to give us deliciously textured surfaces as well as, cut paper into shapes and learn how to create one color and multiple colored stencil patterns. Diana also teaches a water abrasion technique for more precise relief work and how to combine all of these techniques together to create pattern rich dynamic pieces, that celebrate your personal style and voice. Included weekly virtual field trips to keep your brain humming with ideas and your creative juices flowing.

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About Diana

Diana has been working with clay for nearly 30 years. Her early exploration into ceramics began at a pottery studio in San Francisco and she hasn't stopped since. Diana went on to receive a BFA in Ceramics and Printmaking from California College of the Arts in 1992. After graduating from CCA, Diana taught drawing, printmaking and ceramics to people of all ages. In 1995 she decided to devote herself completely to her studio practice, where she spent the next 16 years developing her signature process, that combines all of her loves; clay, printmaking, painting and drawing which she refers to as "Etching in Clay." Diana's work has been featured on the cover of Ceramics Monthly as well as in numerous other publications and on design blogs such as The Journal of Australian Ceramics, American Craft, Sunset, InStyle, Domino, Madame Figaro, Design Sponge and SF Girl By Bay. Diana has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the U.S. Japan, Australia and Europe and currently exhibits her work in galleries and fine boutiques throughout the world. In 2010, after a long stretch of solitary studio practice, Diana decided it was time to return to teaching to share her techniques, discoveries and inspiration with fellow ceramists and artists and has taught workshops at, Clay Push, Australia, Arrowmont School of Crafts, Santa Fe Clay, Metchosin International Summer School of The Arts, The Hawaii Potters Guild, Mudfire Clayworks, Squam Art Workshops, Sierra Nevada College, Heath Ceramics as well as out of her studio and online with Creativebug and online in The Clayer , Diana’s self created ecourses.


Clayer Testimonials

"There are no travel expenses, plus you are right there in your studio so you can practice each technique as you learn it rather than observing a bunch of demos and then trying to remember it all once you get back to your studio. Great video demonstrations, Diana,and thanks for the extras such as Wednesday wonders to get the creative juices flowing"

"I'm enjoying this so much- even the not so exciting stuff. I approach your lesson in the mind set of "how can I learn from this an make something that's mine". I haven't thought of the class as a lesson to make a 'Diana Fayt' piece. I think with the techniques you're teaching there are soooo many possibilities. I'm learning things that I can apply to my style and I'm loving it. If you ever do a Clayer 3 class, count me in!

"The way Diana teaches has opened windows and doors for me personally, as learning the 'Artists' method and copying is not in my book. The elements of surprise give me a juicy-ness that keeps me motivated to see what the outcome could be."

"I want to learn new techniques- not how to make a product exactly like someone else's. This is one of the reasons I've enjoyed The Clayer so much more than other traditional workshops where I walk out knowing how to make what THEY make and that's it. I want to learn new skills that inspire MY OWN work, not learn how to copy someone's else's recipe for success.'

"Thank you, Diana for sharing your talents with us! This was a great class, packed full of wonderful creative ideas I had no idea about, so I feel very blessed. I was also pleasantly surprised after signing up with how much of yourself you gave during the class--I guess I expected just the demo videos--but you gave a ton of time and attention to us, and I totally ate it up. I will sign up for ANY online class you teach!"

"Diana, thanks for inspiring me! I have found that I am far more creative when I am working in this e-class setting than I am in a classroom! In the class room all my stuff ends up looking like the instructor's...I guess because when they demo I just naturally go back and try to make my piece look just like theirs! Plus all the chatter in class makes me giggly and unfocused. Here I have nothing to think about but the one else's piece is sitting out on the table for my eye to would have thought?!"

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Is The Clayer: Surface Patterns & Molds right for you?

I've made up this simple little quiz to see if you will be prepared to keep up with the class.

  • Do you know the difference between low-fire, mid-fire and high-fire clays?
  • Do you know what a cone is?
  • Do you know what underglaze and slip is?
  • Do you know the difference between oxidation and reduction firing?
  • Do you  know how to make a pinch pot?
  • Do you know what glaze is and how to apply it to your work?
  • Do you know the difference between earthenware & stoneware?
  • Do you know what a slab is and can you make one?
  • Do you know what scoring and slipping are?

If you answer no to any of these questions or you think I am speaking a foreign language, this course may be  a challenge for you. However, I do not want to discourage anyone from taking the class if they would like to learn techniques I am teaching. I want to make certain all participants are aware that this is an intermediate course. I will not be explaining the basics of working with clay and will be using terms in which I will assume you know if you are at an intermediate level.  **Please be aware of this before you sign up as no refunds are given once you've registered.

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Do I need to have any experience working with clay to take this course?

If you plan on doing the exercises, then yes. The class is presented with the assumption that the participants will have basic knowledge of ceramics processes. (Please see the questions of the mini test to see if you will be prepared to follow along) I do not explain beginning basics in this course.  
However, if you wish to take the course just to learn and are willing to research basic terms and processes on your own you are most welcome to take the course.

2. Do I need to have a kiln to take the course?
It is recommended that you have access to a kiln but it is not necessary to take the course. You will learn techniques and receive information on how to fire your pieces but you do not have to fire your work. There will be plenty for you to learn and take back to your studio to work with at any time.

3. I have never worked with clay but would like to learn how. Is this the course for me?

As mentioned above, I will not be teaching beginning techniques in this course and you may find yourself lost without the understanding terms and techniques that I will be referring to. You are most welcome to take the course but I will not be answering questions or providing information on or about basic ceramic techniques.

4. I am interested in learning about your signature etching technique and how you get the fine lines in and color blocks in your work, will you be teaching these things in this course?

I will not be teaching my signature etching technique in this course.

5. I am interested in the techniques you are teaching but my studio only allows us to use highfire clays and glazes, can I still take this course?

Yes you may. However, I ask that you respect the policies of your studio in regard to what clay and glazes they allow you to bring in and fire.

6. What materials and tools will I need for the ecourse. Do you provide a materials list?

I do my best to use tools and things that most Clayers already have in their tool boxes. An extensive materials list will be provided once you've registered and paid for the ecourse. The materials list will not be shared unless you are registered for the e-course.



7. What kind of clay will you be using during the e-course?

I will be using a mid-fire cream colored smooth (grogless) stoneware clay body for my demonstrations, however, many of the techniques I will be teaching in The Clayer: Surface Patterns & Molds work well with all types of clay bodies.

8. I am interested in screen-printing as well as using decals on clay, will these techniques be covered in the class?

I will not be teaching screen printing processes or decal transfer in this workshop.

9. I'm primarily a potter, with not much handbuilding experience, will this course be helpful to me?

Most definitely! Your potting skills can be combined with many of the techniques that will be taught in the ecourse.

10. I am a college student and our school mainly focuses on sculpture and/or throwing but I'd like to learn more about surface design, is this a place where I can learn that?

Absolutely! This e-course will compliment any other ceramics courses you may have or are currently taking.

11. I sometimes feel shy and nervous about sharing my work with a bunch of people I've never met. Will I feel comfortable doing that in this course?

The e-classroom environment will be a private space for you to share your work with others who are also taking this course. It is encouraged that you share your work and your progress so that everyone can benefit from each-others experiences. This is a safe, supportive, private space for comments and only encouraging feedback will be allowed. No mean or critical remarks will be tolerated.

12. I have some questions that you did not answer. Can I write to you to ask them?

Yes, of course. Please direct all questions to me at

13.What can I expect to get out of this course?

The course will cover these techniques:


  • how to make and use simple plaster hump molds
  • carve a surface patterned bisque mold
  • multi-layered stencil patterns using underglazes
  • water abrasion
  • combining techniques, with water abrasion, mishima and stencil patterns
  • how to apply pattern the inside and outside of a piece
  • create a piece using all of the techniques you learn in the e-course


  • using carved molds to make bowls and bases for larger pieces
  • create a piece using slabs and piece made from your patterned bisque mold.
  • using drape molds for different types of pieces

14. What will I need, as far as studio equipment, to take the course?

You will need a space to work that is clay friendly. A table surface and basic clay tools. It is optimal that you have access to a kiln but it is not mandatory. You can practice all the techniques and learn from all the demonstrations with or without firing your pieces or use of a kiln.

15. Will I get individual feedback on my work?

I do not answer questions during the on-demand sessions of The Clayer

16. Do I have to check into the course at specific times?

You can sign in at any time to view the e-course materials.

17. What if I don't do the suggested projects?

 This is a self-paced class that you can do in your own time.

18. I have only taken face to face workshops for clay and never seen a ceramics ecourse. How will you demonstrate techniques?

I will be providing video demonstrations for each process I teach along with some supplemental written information for the techniques I will be teaching as well as a compiled list of frequently asked questions harvested from previous Clayer e-courses.

19. How long after the e-course ends will I have access to the demonstration videos?

Once you register for the ecourse you will have unlimited access to the e-course.

20. I work  in a community studio that has very strict rules about types of clay we can use and what we are allowed to fire, will I still get something from this course if you use materials that we are not allowed to use in our community studio?

Yes, you most definitely will. You can use this as an opportunity to learn new techniques. However I ask you to be respectful of your studio's rules and regulations in regard to clays and firing temperatures they allow.  A misunderstanding around this could be a very expensive mistake for the studio and yourself. Please know the rules of your studio and do not bring in projects you have done outside the studio without your studio's approval.

21. I live abroad and would love to take your course but we use Celsius temperatures  and metric measurements instead of Fahrenheit cone temperatures and standard U.S. measurements.  Will you be presenting the information with that in mind?

I provide both Fahrenheit and Celsius temperatures and metric conversions so that everyone can take the course. I also provide links to international ceramics suppliers to help you locate any special materials or tools that may be needed for the course.


22. I am interested in making two and three part molds. Will you be showing us how to do that in this course?

I am going to be demonstrating very basic, simple mold making techniques. I am in, no way a mold making expert. If you are interested in making precision, multiple piece molds, I suggest you take a class with a professional mold maker.

23. When does this course begin and end and how do I pay for it?

I accept payments by credit card or via Pay Pal.

This is an open access e-course. Once you pay the registration fee you will have immediate access to all the e-course tutorials and materials.

24. What if I pay for the course and do not watch the videos during the course period, will I have unlimited access to the course information and videos for an unlimited time?

Once you have registered for the ecourse you will have unlimited access to the videos.

25. Do I need high-speed internet to view the videos and course content and will I be able to view the videos on my ipad or tablet?

Yes, you will need a good internet connection (dial up will not work) to view the high definition videos. Also, all the videos and course content will be viewable on ipads and tablets.

 26. What if I am unable to participate or never sign into the class, watch the videos, or do any of the assignments during the time of e-course. Will I able to get a refund or credit towards a future class?

Refunds cannot be given once you sign up for the e-course as you will be given all the password information giving you access to course that I can not undo. Credit for future classes is not given for non-participation. Please be certain that you are able to take the course before registering for it.  

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*The Clayer may offer deals and or discounts throughout the registration period. These discounts are time sensitive and must be purchased during the time period stated in the offer. No refunds will be given after the original purchase for the ecourse has been made.