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Cahuilla Style Pottery
(Paddle & Anvil Pottery)

Pottery has been made for more than a millennia in Southern California. In a virtual and screen obsessed world, get hands on and learn how to harvest and make clay, then create the beautiful ollas used by the Cahuilla people of Southern California to store food and water.

On day one of this workshop, you will take a field trip to clay sites, where you will learn how to carefully extract the clay from earth deposits. In the afternoon, you will begin processing the clays for pottery making. For the next two days, you will make pinch pots and coil pots using the paddle and anvil technique, using both collected clay and other clay samples that Tony will provide.

You will learn to make the natural pigment paints used to decorate the pots, and finally, fire the pots. Tony will discuss a range of topics, including how to make and use a simple urban brick and charcoal briquette kiln, paint brush making, fire-starting by friction, and making palm frond rings (pottery stands).

For the field trip portion of the workshop, be sure to bring:

  • 4-5 large ziplock bags
  • Sun hat
  • Water bottle & plenty of water
  • Sunblock
  • Sunglasses
  • Work gloves
  • Comfortable walking shoes or boots for rough terrain

Find the full materials list here.

Tony Soares learned the fundamentals of pottery from his grandmother at age 7, starting a more than 40-year journey to revive the fading art of olla making. Though not of Cahuilla descent, he advocates to revive the art of Cahuilla pottery making through his experimentation with local clays and Indigenous handbuilding techniques. His pottery is displayed in art galleries and museums, including the Tahquitz Canyon Museum. Tony shares his knowledge with local tribal communities and the general public to ensure that Native American pottery making is never lost. He has taught at many venues, including the Agua Caliente Band of the Desert Cahuilla of Palm Springs, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ and the Yuman tribes of the Colorado River, AZ.

Instagram: @tonysoarespottery

Generous donors have made scholarships and fellowships for adult workshops available on a limited basis for these specific groups:

1) Native American Community Leaders, Artists, Members, and Teachers
2) Inland Empire Teachers, Professors, and Graduate Students

Scholarships include tuition, dorm housing, and all meals provided by the campus dining service.

Scholarship Details: 

1) Native American Community Members, Leaders, Artists, and Teachers

For adults 19 and older, with current tribal affiliation. The scholarship is designed to bring community leaders, artists, members, and teachers,  to workshops at Idyllwild Arts to benefit both the scholarship

 recipients themselves as well as those in their schools or tribal communities. Applicants with financial need may receive priority. We also offer scholarships for Native American Teens for both the Summer Program and the Academy.

2) Inland Empire Teachers, Professors, and Graduate Students

For teachers and graduate students from the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino Counties and the adjacent areas). This scholarship brings teachers and graduate students to Idyllwild Arts to attend Native American Arts workshops. This is designed to benefit both recipients as well as their students and communities. Applicants with financial need may receive priority. Provided through the generous support of the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians.

Click here for more information about adult scholarships.

Age: 19 years and above

June 21-25, 2021
One-week session

Tuition: $755

Lab Fee:
$65, includes materials, and use of personal set of tools; you may be asked to bring additional materials.

Skill Level: All levels

Enrollment is limited to 6 students. (Capacity may increase to 12 pending changes in Health Guidelines from the CDC and local authorities.)

The field trip this year will not be organized as a group event. Participants will need to use their own vehicles to attend the field trip. Carpooling may be permissible pending changes in Health Guidelines from the CDC and local authorities.

Tony Soares

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