Andy Ward
traditional SW pottery

Besh Ba Gowah Salado Pottery Workshop March 2016

This class is over, sign up for my pottery workshop mailing list to be notified of future classes.

When: March 13 – 17, 2016
Where: Besh Ba Gowah Archeological Park, Globe, Arizona
Instructor: Andy Ward
Cost: $350
Limit: 12 students
Includes: All materials, lunch each day, field trip to dig clay, guided tour of Besh Ba Gowah ruins, field trip to Tonto Cliff Dwellings and other nearby ruins.

A student hand building pottery

A student hand building pottery

Experiencing this intensive five day pottery workshop will immerse you in the ancient world of the Salado who lived in Central and Southeast Arizona from 1275 to 1450 AD. These people, closely related to the Anasazi or Ancestral Pueblo culture, produced some of the finest prehistoric examples of decorated pottery in the Southwest before they moved on around 1450 AD. During the course of this workshop we will explore the mysteries of the Salado people, examining ruins and artifacts they left behind, talk with experts about how they lived, made pottery and where they went to, take a field trip to dig native clay, then authentically craft Salado style pottery, paint, polish, decorate and finally fire in an outdoor mesquite fire, all done just like the ancient potters.


Replica pottery from our 2015 workshop

Unfinished replica pottery from our 2015 workshop

  • Forming pottery using the coil-and-scrape technique
  • Slipping and painting pottery using native clay slips, mineral and organic paints
  • Polishing pots using smooth stones
  • Painting traditional designs using brushes you create yourself from yucca leaves
  • Firing our pottery in an outdoor, open, mesquite wood fire



  • Drive to and tour Tonto Cliff Dwellings
  • Watch prehistoric technology demonstrations and Native American dancers as part of Tonto National Monument’s “Heritage Days”
  • Return to Besh Ba Gowah and begin forming pottery


  • Finish forming pottery
  • Lecture: Ancient Native American Pottery of Arizona
  • Tour Besh Ba Gowah Museum
  • Begin smoothing and polishing pottery


Replica Gila Polychrome pot

Replica Gila Polychrome pot

  • Finish polishing pottery
  • Lecture: Finding and Processing Native Clay and Paints
  • Field trip to collect clay
  • Begin decorating pottery with yucca brushes


  • Tour of Besh Ba Gowah ruins
  • Finish decorating pottery
  • Field trip to visit nearby ruins
  • Process native clay


  • Fire pottery in an outdoor mesquite wood fire
  • We should be done before noon on Thursday.


Besh Ba Gowah Ruins

Besh Ba Gowah Ruins

This workshop will be held on site at Besh Ba Gowah Archaeological Park, a partially reconstructed Salado pueblo and museum featuring a large collection of whole and reconstructed pottery. Besh Ba Gowah is located in historic Globe, Arizona, a small copper mining town founded in 1875, with an elevation of 3500 feet, Globe has a comfortable climate that is cooler than Phoenix or Tucson and contains a variety of accommodations and restaurants.


Pottery instructor, Andy Ward firing pottery

The instructor, Andy Ward firing pottery

A fascination with the sherds and pottery found near his home in Southeast Arizona motivated Andy Ward to begin trying to reproduce prehistoric pottery while still in High School. Now, after more than 25 years of effort he frequently teaches pottery workshops all around Southeast Arizona and Southwest New Mexico. The focus of Andy’s pottery is on the polychrome styles native to Southeast Arizona, Salado polychromes, Maverick Mountain Series and Babocomari Polychrome. He has taught prehistoric pottery workshops for the Silver City Clay Festival, Archaeology Southwest Preservation Archaeology Field School and Old Pueblo Archaeology Center among others.

You can see photos of how he creates pottery and gathers raw materials at


Our 2015 workshop participants at Tonto Cliff Dwellings

Our 2015 workshop participants at Tonto Cliff Dwellings

“As a former ceramics major in college married to an anthropologist, I found your class enlightening as well as very fun… My experience of local pottery has been so enriched by the experience of your class. Keep up the good work!!”
Carol D. Tucson, AZ

“Not only is Andy Ward an excellent potter, he is also an excellent teacher. His workshops on recreating ancient Native American pottery of the Southwest are superb. Participants experience the full range of pottery production from processing clay gathered from natural sources to forming the vessels, decorating them, and firing them. He teaches the practices of ancient potters, using the same tools they used. I have taken two workshops with Andy and plan to take others when the opportunity arises. It is more than a worthwhile experience.”
Sharon M. Tucson, AZ

“Andy’s class was one of the most fun and educational classes I’ve ever taken. I learned a lot about the history and different types of pre-historic pottery made in Arizona, the various methods used to form, finish and fire the pots, and was able to practice what I learned and make a pot of my own! And Andy is as kind as he is knowledgeable. I am not an “artsy” type and Andy was very patient with me. His encouragement, enthusiasm and love of traditional Southwest pottery-making is contagious. Everyone is the class was thrilled that they took it!”
Roberta G. Tucson, AZ

See photos of last year’s Besh Ba Gowah Salado pottery workshop >


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About Andy Ward

I am an independent researcher, writer and artist interested in all things Southwestern. Southeast Arizona is my home and area of primary interest.

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