The Ceramics Instructors at Yourist Studio Gallery

Nancy Bulkley's art Nancy Bulkley
Nancy Bulkley received her B.F.A. from Alfred University. She has been teaching ceramics to adults and children for over twelve years. For nine years she lived in California, teaching ceramics in the summers at Idyllwild Arts in the mountains of southern California and doing several residencies at the Mendocino Art Center. Her base was in San Francisco teaching at the Jewish Community Center. Nancy enjoys making both functional and sculptural forms. She is currently a member of the Ann Arbor Potters Guild.

Ryan Forrey's artwork Ryan Forrey
Ryan Forrey started working with clay in 1990 when he was growing up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Ryan went on to receive his BFA in ceramics from Alfred University. After graduation in 1996 he accepted a resident potter position at Greenfield Village Pottery, part of The Henry Ford, where he continues to produce a wide range of work. In 2000 Ryan had the opportunity to show and travel with his work throughout China, where he explored traditional pottery making techniques.

Ryan's work can be seen in numerous private collection and galleries across the United States. His work has been published in 500 Pitchers (Lark Books) and Best of Michigan (Kennedy Promotions). Ryan has taught beginning and advanced class at the Ann Arbor Art Center and Ann Arbor Potters Guild.

Sarah Gelsanliter's artwork Sarah Gelsanliter
Sarah Gelsanliter has been working with clay since 1992. She has a BA from Denison University and worked as a production potter at Greenfield Village for 10 years. She has taught ceramics classes and workshops at Pewabic Pottery, the Ann Arbor Art Center, and at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA.  She has worked as an apprentice to a wood-fire potter in Maryland and has studied at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina.  Sarah spent a year living in Japan where she had the opportunity to visit numerous Japanese potteries and to travel to Thailand, Korea, and China.

Brigitte Lang's artwork Brigitte Lang
Functional ceramics designed for daily use are Brigitte’s primary focus. While living in Germany she worked mainly on the pottery wheel. Since coming to the U.S., however, she incorporates more hand building into her pottery and explores working with the combination of simple forms and various surface decorating styles to obtain the final character of her functional ware.

“The charm is, that I can still find those, for me, surprising results after that long time that I have been working in ceramics and after all that I have seen of the work that my fellow potters have done in centuries past.”

Brigitte came to the US in 2006 bringing with her the German degrees of “State Approved Ceramics Designer FS” and “Master of Craftsmanship.” She has worked in ceramics for over 25 years, learning, studying, teaching, and producing fine works of functional ware. Brigitte now practices at the Ann Arbor Potters Guild. See more of Brigitte’s work here.

Shannon Nelson's artwork Shannon Nelson
Shannon holds an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Florida and a BS in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan. Her work is influenced by the fanciful forms of 18th century Sèvres presentation porcelain, a love of the natural world, and an array of decorative arts from different periods. Her pieces are included in a number of publications including the Art of Contemporary American Pottery and the Lark 500 book series on ceramics. Shannon teaches wheel throwing and a variety of surface design techniques while guiding students to find their own unique expression in clay.

Deb Oliva's artwork Deb Oliva
Debra Oliva earned a BFA from Northern Illinois University in Drawing and Painting. Relocating to Michigan in 1986, she was able to indulge a longstanding desire to work in clay at the Greater Lansing Potter’s Guild, where she has been a member since 1991. She has taught children through The Lansing Art Gallery’s Art Smart after school program and Summer Camp. She gives workshops and teaches adults classes in Ann Arbor and Plymouth.

Debra creates functional and non-functional vessels in porcelain and stoneware fired in reduction or soda kilns. She is particularly interested in exploring the effects of the relationship between clay, glaze, and firing atmosphere.

Debra’s work has been selected for national and international exhibitions and is represented by several galleries throughout the United States. Her work was included in 500 Pitchers (Lark Books) and Clay Times magazine.

Norma Penchansky-Glasser's artwork Norma Penchansky-Glasser
A continual inspiration for me is the exploration of the human figure in motion. I strive to capture subtle variations in position and movement of the figure in motion; to freeze a moment, capture the stress, strain, and relaxation in a gesture. These transitory moments are what I seek to realize in my sculpture and drawings

Norma graduated from EMU with a Master’s in Fine Arts. Her work is in sixteen major collections in five different states. She has won many national, statewide, and local awards.

Alex Pratt's artwork Alex Pratt
I received my BFA with an emphasis in ceramics from the University of Michigan in 1997 and have worked in clay ever since.  I am currently a member of the Ann Arbor Potters Guild.

I grew up in rural western Michigan, and the farms, forests, and vast tracts of unbroken land fostered in me a love of unadorned spaciousness; I am drawn to quiet, unbroken stretches that imply this vast space.  I find the severely unnatural urban environment – a jumble of boxy shapes, angles, straight lines, and smooth curves – equally fascinating.  In my work, I strive to combine elements of these two environments, and find the point at which they can coexist.

Deb Saravolatz's artwork Deb Saravolatz
Deb Saravolatz enjoys mold making, slip casting and hand building. Using castings of found objects and clay forms she assembles parts to create designs evoking aquatic imagery. She has studied with Susan Beiner, Andrew Martin, Patti Warashina, and Sadashi Inuzuka and has been a member of the Potters Guild for the past decade.

Kate Tremel's artwork Kate Tremel
Kate Tremel has been teaching ceramics to students of all ages and abilities for nearly twenty years. Since relocating to Ann Arbor a few years ago, Kate has taught ceramics at EMU, the Potters Guild, and Yourist Pottery. Kate received her BA in Spanish and Anthropology from Middlebury College. Her interest in exploring language and culture, led to many different experiences while living and working abroad in England, Mexico, Japan, Peru and France. She holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally. Kate's long-time interest in vessel making began with wheel-thrown pottery and extended to mixed media sculptures constructed from plaster casts of her own body. She is currently making sculptural tableware that is primarily constructed with a paddle and anvil technique that she learned while studying in Peru.

Kay Yourist's artwork Kay Yourist
From the very first time that I touched clay at the age of eight, I knew that throwing pots would be my life long passion. Decades later, I am still excited by its seemingly infinite potential.

Throughout my career, ancient Egyptian, pre-Columbian, and Native American pottery has been a strong influence on my exploration of classically shaped pottery forms.

I begin my artistic process by throwing the clay into classic vessels that are as recognizable today as a thousand years ago. I then alter their form by pushing and pulling and stretching the walls of the pot. When the clay dries to a leather hard consistency, I carve into the walls to give the piece surface relief detail and texture. The last step involves glazing the completed forms with copper and iron rich glazes, chosen to emphasize the organic and timeless nature of clay. Combining the ancient tradition of pottery making with my contemporary vision, my work integrates past with present.

Register for Classes

Join Our Community Studio Workspace

Unlimited Studio Time
$150 per month*
*Volunteers for our healthy studio program pay $125 per month.

Monthly Includes:

  • 10% discounts on clay
  • 15% discount on class tuition
  • an accumulative discount on firing
  • 5% discount for 6 months paid in advance
  • Inclusion in special exhibitions
  • Potential to exhibit at the Ann Arbor Art Fair
  • Potential to exhibit in Yourist Studio Gallery

$8.00 per hour
$150 for 20 hours


Access to all our studio equipment

Additional fees for clay, kiln firings, and shelf rental not included.

An introductory offer of one bag of our studio mix clay including firing is $32.95. This offer is valid one time only, with the purchase of community studio time.

Call 734.662.4914 or email Kay for more information.

©2018 Yourist Studio Gallery. All rights reserved.       Yourist Studio Gallery offers ceramic and sculpture classes with a gallery showcasing art and is located in Southeast Michigan.