Artist Statement/Bio              Teaching Philosophy              Professional Highlights              Education & Professional Experience              Professional Memberships


I am committed to providing each student with an understanding of the craft of creating in clay, while maintaining a positive caring outlook to encourage each student’s creativity. I will always find them doing something RIGHT!

My studio is one that nourishes children and adults to “paint outside the lines. ”While teaching them technique. I maintain a positive, joyful, energizing atmosphere of exploration where both children and adults can play and have fun. Students with special challenges will forget them in the studio, finding new happiness in realizing they can get away from their problems, issues, or illness by working in clay. Sharing my love of working in clay with others seems contagious.

Our school system is defined by rules and boundaries. In my studio, creativity is limitless. My greatest hope is to encourage them to take their clay projects beyond those boundaries. “Their visions,” I tell them,” can be a reality.” While learning about glazes and glazing techniques, they will also learn basic design and color. They will draw on the tables. They will draw on their notebooks. They will draw in the clay. And their spirits will soar with each class!

My love for exercise and yoga, have influenced my propensities to watch students for good body alignment and peaceful centering, in the physical act of creating in clay. I may adjust their positioning at the wheel, or the way that they lift their clay, with their “pottery muscles” as I call them here! The calming aspect of working at the potter’s wheel, and building by hand, will leave them with a sense of peace and accomplishment. Often my adult students will comment that clay is their “therapy for the week.”

What a valuable resource I have with my studio being only 20 miles from the awesome Washington DC Galleries! We will each study the history of the pottery of different cultures. I encourage field trips to the Renwick, our only National Craft Museum, the Sacker Museum with its Asian pottery, the Indian museum, The Smithsonian, the Hirshhorn Sculpture Museum, and The National Gallery of Art. There is so much awesome art, pottery, and sculpture to savor in our great city. Archeological pottery chards from George Washington’s Mount Vernon home are practically right down the street. How can we NOT be deeply affected by this history, this pottery of long ago eras?

My students will be enriched with their new pottery and ceramic history adventures. They will grow from the process. Whether it is drawing what they see, sculpting or creating on the wheel, mixing under glaze paints to find the color they are hoping for, or learning about the history and techniques of pottery, students tell me that the experience affects them for the rest of their lives. The knowledge will make them appreciate the process and they will now understand it and choose to buy handcrafted pottery in the future. They will learn the appreciation of earth and fire. They will understand how natural materials can create next century’s archaeological finds! They will feel the joy in the acts of creation. And they will attain a new confidence in their work and themselves.

In creating sculpture, my students will make animals, with an understanding of how important they are to our lives and our fragile environments. Many will create new animals such as fish with feathers, birds with antlers. I encourage all students to recycle, whatever material they are working with, whether it be clay or handmade paper, or twigs found in the yard. Learning the value of our natural environment can only bring all of us its riches.

It is my hope that my love for working in clay will inspire others and they too will catch the magic of this creative process. Their finished pieces will always remind them of this very special experience and the wonders and joys they felt when working in clay. Knowing that the positive energy that they feel is its own reward, then I, too, feel successful as their teacher.







©2010 Susan Fox Hirschmann   All Rights Reserved                                           Site by Tony Ferguson