Free Union Craft Show Dec 3 & 4

Save the date! We’ll be ready for your shopping pleasure – warm, easy parking, good food, relaxed atmosphere. Please join us.

We even carved a new sign!

Tempting Tidbits from current exhibit!


Lily with a TwistTwo EggsSlanted Lily

“Fanning Out”

August 5 – September 25, 2011, Staunton Augusta Art Center presents my newest sculptural and functional work. It’s free and open to the public -
‎20 S. New Street Staunton, VA 24401. Gallery Hours - Mon – Fri 10-5 Sat 10 – 4 Sun 1 – 4 Phone – 540.885.2028 or Email -
Photos are up all over – here in my Gallery and also on my facebook page and on SAAC facebook page. It’s different and might surprise you.

Summer 2011 Raku Workshop Available

RAKU WORKSHOP – Why not fire when you are already hot?!?
A 3-Day Clay Party with Nancy Ross, instructor

WHO:       Anyone with an interest in clay. No experience necessary. Some handbuilding would be helpful, but you can learn on the job. Limited to the first 15 people who register, but we will need a minimum of 6 people to hold the workshop.

WHEN:       2 consecutive weekends – July 30/31 – 10 AM – 3 PM – Demos on handbuilding and throwing for raku. 2 days to produce pots.
  then either August 6 or 7 – 9 AM until done – glaze and fire pots. We will pick the day by the weather.

WHERE:      MARY BALDWIN COLLEGE – Staunton, VA 24401
             ceramics studio in the basement of Kable dorm.

COSTS:      $200 for the entire workshop including clay, glazes, tools, and firing. Snacks and drinks provided.
$150 for MBC students, faculty, or staff.
$150 for PVCC students or high school students with proper i.d.
$50 – firing only!  On either August 6 or 7. You bring your bisqued pots with you.

REGISTRATION: Please email to hold your space until the deposit is received.
Send $50 deposit to hold your space to:

                                        Nancy Ross
                                        PO Box 73
                                        Free Union, VA 22940
No refunds on deposits after July 15. 
Balance due on first day of workshop.

INFORMATION: Email: or call Nancy at 434.973.6846

My Raku Workshop Pots

Tall Red Mountain           Red Mountain          Copper Penny Vessel

What is RAKU?

Raku Pot by Nancy

Raku Pot by Nancy

In case you are interested in the workshop, here’s a brief description of the process.

Raku pottery originated in Japan in the early 16th century, created by descendants of the Raku family for the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. First seen in the U.S. in the early 1960’s. the raku process was embraced for its immediacy and simplicity.
       Potters make and bisque fire pottery, glaze it, and fire it again in an outdoor kiln. As the kiln heats, the glazes come to a boil, then flatten as they become molten. At around 1800°, the kiln is opened and the glowing pots are removed and transferred to a container filled with combustible materials. In this transition, the pots are subjected to extreme thermal shock, which creates the characteristic crackle of the glazes.
       When the hot pots ignite the flammable material, a lid is quickly put on the container, which shuts off the source of oxygen. This process “reduces” the pots in an oxygen-starved atmosphere that is rich in carbon. Any crackle or unglazed portions of the pot turn varying shades of gray or black, and the rich colors of the glazes are developed.

Bowl with crackle glaze

Bowl with crackle glaze

Raku is a fast-firing technique which brings clay, heat, and smoke together in serendipitous ways, making discovery as significant as invention. Spontaneous and unpredictable results require suspension of expectations! A good release!

Responses to 2010 Raku Workshop

 “I appreciated the opportunity to complete a project from start to finish. I feel there is real value in seeing the project through to the firing. After the firing I was immediately inspired for my next project and was overwhelmed with ideas of what to do next.  I learned that there is so much science behind mixing glazes, and often the mistakes aren’t revealed until the piece is fired.”
- Holly Curry Bono

“Nancy Ross expertly guided us through the raku process, addressing any
concerns and answering any questions we had, all the while allowing us the
freedom to explore our own creativity. The firing was hot and mesmerizing
with the appropriate level of danger. Opening the reduction cans to
discover what changes your glaze had undergone was like unwrapping a
present on Christmas morning. It was a fun and exciting weekend; I hope to
attend next year.”

-Patrick Gibson

New Punch Bowl available

A phone call from Susan Myers, an alumna of Mary Baldwin, initiated my participation in her punch bowl project. We decided I would design a whimsical punch bowl with Mary Baldwin in mind. The inspiration comes from the Mary Baldwin mascot, the fighting squirrel, and the abundant acorns which tantalize the campus squirrels all fall. The bowl is available from only.    Squirrel punch bowl set          top-close-up

Back in the Studio

End of February and I’m back in the studio again. Feels good to be working on some new projects, new designs, and long-awaited orders.

Nancy trimming pot.

Clay Camp – 1st Annual Winter version

Taking a few days to recharge with good friends, to share ideas ranging from books to read to new teaching ideas is what Clay Camp is all about. This January I joined Nan Rothwell and Becky Garrity at Betsy Krome’s studio in Toano, Virginia for a winter version of this annual ritual. Four experienced potters and teachers have much to talk about, as you might imagine, but also enjoy cooking for each other and the lucky husband at the host studio. Thanks to you all and I look forward to our next retreat.

Betsy, Nan, Becky at camp  Nancy, Betsy, and Nan