Women Working with Clay Symposium Logo

Vessel Makers. Artists. Artisans. Women.

Save the Date: June 10-13, 2024

Women Working with Clay Symposium is about women who work with clay to create pottery, art vessels, and sculpture, and whatever point of view may come with that distinction. The symposium explores the connections of the long history of women in cultures all over the world as vessel makers, artists, and artisans.

Founded in 2011, this symposium was created to honor the great accomplishments of women ceramic artists today. The objective of the symposium is to create an environment that is full of ideas, images, demonstrations, artwork, and discussions.

It is intended as a place for learning and inspiration. It is a place for everyone to share stories of struggles and successes. It is a place to see where we stand in the present, to better understand our past and to support each other in our future.

2023 Presenters: Louise Deroualle, Sanam Emami, Ursula Hargens, Adero Willard
Guest Speaker: Sana Musasama
Director: Dara Hartman
Founding Director: Donna Polseno


Special Programs Coordinator Brittany Wade is happy to answer your questions.

Contact Brittany Wade

10 Years of Telling the Story: Exhibition

Everyone registered for the Symposium will receive a copy of the Women Working with Clay: Ten Years of Telling the Story exhibition catalogue.

Techniques Explored

Coil Building
Hand Building
Mold Making
Sculpting the Figure
Slip Casting
Slab Building
Surface Decoration
Using molds
Using Templates

Meet the Directors

Dara Hartman is a full-time studio artist based in Salt Lake City, UT. She received a B.F.A. from Virginia Tech and an M.F.A. from Montana State University. In 2005, she was an artist-in-residence at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT. After graduate school she moved to Washington and was an adjunct professor at Clark College in Vancouver, WA, and at Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, OR. While in Oregon she was commissioned by Marriott to create 70 figurative sculptures for their Courtyard by Marriott Portland City Center hotel. Most recently, Dara’s life has taken her to Salt Lake City, where she worked for three years as a product designer and as a design team leader, and traveled to China to work with factories on model design and production. Dara was a presenter at the inaugural symposium in 2011, became the assistant director in 2018, and is now director of the symposium.

Donna Polseno developed and founded the Women Working with Clay symposium in 2011. She received a B.F.A. from the Kansas City Art Institute and her M.A.T. from the Rhode Island School of Design. She moved to the mountains of Virginia after graduation and has been a studio artist since 1974. She started her career making pottery which she continues to do, but diverged to a parallel career of making figurative sculpture in the 80’s. She has received two National Endowment of the Arts Grants and a Virginia Museum Fellowship. Essays about her work have been published in many magazines including Art & Perception and Ceramics Monthly. She is in several books about pottery and sculpture including Sculptural Ceramics (cover photo) by Ian Gregory. She has taught many workshops and summer programs at schools including Penland School of Crafts, Arrowmont School of Crafts, The Bascom, Appalachian Center for Donna Polseno workCrafts, Long Beach Foundation, and Anderson Ranch Art Center. She has been an invited participant at a symposium in Izmir, Turkey, has taught twice at the WVU exchange program in Jingdezhen, China, and teaches each summer at La Meridiana- International School for Ceramics, in Italy, as well as showing in the second annual “Concreta” exhibiton in Certaldo. She taught ceramics at Hollins University since the inception of the ceramics program in 2004, through her retirement in 2020.