Andy Ward
traditional SW pottery

Fall 2017 Prehistoric Pottery Workshop

When: October 18 – 22, 2017
Where: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Instructor: Andy Ward
Cost: $385 for new students, $190 for previous students
Limit: 10 students
Includes: All tools and materials, field trips to dig clay and collect minerals, tours of prehistoric ruins, admission to the Amerind Museum and more.

This intensive five day prehistoric pottery workshop will focus on recreating the pottery of the ancient peoples of southeast Arizona which was a crossroads of cultures in prehistoric times. Through this workshop we will explore the Mogollon culture and their successor the Salado, examining ruins and artifacts left behind, talk with experts about how they lived, made pottery and where they went to, take a field trip to dig native clay, authentically craft Salado style pottery, paint, polish, decorate and finally fire in an outdoor mesquite fire, all done just like the ancient potters. This is an intensive, fast-paced, hands on workshop covering the entire range of activities involved in the science and art of prehistoric pottery replication.

student scraping a pot at 2016 prehistoric pottery workshop

A student scrapes a pot she made in the 2016 prehistoric pottery 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 fire


prehistoric pottery workshop student painting pot

A student paints her pot with authentic natural paints in the 2016 prehistoric pottery workshop

  • Wednesday: The history of ceramics in Arizona, coil and scrape instruction and begin forming a pot
  • Thursday: Finish forming pottery, view pottery collection at local college, work on smoothing and polishing pottery
  • Friday: Finish polishing pottery, field trip to collect clay, paint designs on pottery
  • Saturday: Field trip while pottery dries, visit Amerind Museum, collect minerals for paint in Courtland, AZ ghost town, visit unexcavated pueblo ruins.
  • Sunday: Fire pottery, we should be done by noon
  • Optional Activities: There will be optional evening activities for anyone interested in attending which include: watching documentaries of different Southwest pottery traditions, processing paint materials, firing a traditional Mexican adobe kiln, and extra time to work on pottery.


This workshop will be held at the instructor’s home studio in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Sierra Vista has a full compliment of amenities and is about 90 minutes from Tucson International Airport, shuttle service is available between Tucson and Sierra Vista.

Participants in the 2015 workshop resting inside Tonto cliff dwellings


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


“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

An authentic pottery firing

An authentic pottery firing

“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 spring’s pottery workshop >

Workshop Registration

Participation is limited to 10 individuals so registering early will hold you place, a $150 deposit is required. Fill out and submit the form below, then I will contact you with further information including how to pay the deposit.

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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.