Summer Arizona Pottery Workshop at Q Ranch

Summer Arizona Pottery Workshop at Q Ranch

When:September 3 – 6, 2021
Where:Q Ranch, Young, AZ
Instructor:Andy Ward
Student Limit:12 students
Includes:4 days of instruction in prehistoric pottery making and all materials.

This intensive four day Arizona pottery workshop will immerse you in the ancient world of the prehistoric Pueblo people who lived in the mountains of Central Arizona and the beautiful pottery that they made here. Q Ranch Pueblo was one of the largest and most important pueblos in this region from about 1260 to 1380. Participants of this workshop will explore how these people lived and worked, examining ruins and artifacts, digging and process native clay, minerals and other raw materials and making pottery authentic to the ancient traditions.

form coil pottery

Coil Pottery

hand paint pottery

Decorate Pottery

fire pottery outdoors

Fire Pottery

Class Includes

  • All materials
  • Field trip to dig wild clay
  • Guided tours of prehistoric ruins
  • A t-shirt commemorating the 2021 Q Ranch workshop 
  • One year full access to all online masterclasses on ($105 value)
workshop participants digging wild clay
Students digging clay at Q Ranch

Technologies Covered in this Workshop

  • Forming pottery using the coil-and-scrape technique
  • Slipping and painting pottery using native clay slips, mineral and organic paints
  • Polishing pots with stones
  • Painting traditional designs using brushes you create yourself from yucca leaves
  • Firing our pottery in an outdoor, open juniper wood fire.
Last year's Arizona pottery workshop participants
Last year’s workshop participants.

See photos of my last Q Ranch workshop >>

Pottery Workshop Schedule

  • Thursday: Arrive at Q Ranch in the afternoon. Meet your instructor and fellow workshop participants. Explore the ranch. Cocktails and dinner on the patio, followed by stargazing.
  • Friday: Process native clay, tour the ruins of Q Ranch Pueblo, then begin forming pottery.
  • Saturday: Scrape & smooth pots, view the prehistoric pottery collection at the ranch then slip and polish pottery.
  • Sunday: Paint designs on pottery using authentic mineral and organic paint with yucca leaf brushes. Go out into the field to identify and dig clay.
  • Monday: Fire pottery in the morning. Class should wrap up around noon.
The beauty of Q Ranch in summer, site of our Arizona pottery workshop
The beauty of Q Ranch in summer.

About Q Ranch

The “Q” is a private ranch nestled in a Ponderosa pine and oak valley, surrounded by Tonto National Forest. It is located in Gila County, below the Mogollon Rim at an elevation of 5400-6200 feet. From 900 to 1400 AD, the area was the site of a thriving Native American pueblo culture. This civilization built what is known as the Q Ranch Pueblo, a 220 room, apartment-like dwelling of sandstone masonry — the third largest of its kind. In 1893, Col. Jesse Ellison started a cattle ranch on the site and his wife’s brand, the letter Q, gave the ranch its name. Hand-cut log buildings from the 1890s still exist. This area is also known for the infamous Pleasant Valley War, the longest and bloodiest feud in U.S. history. Access only via unpaved roads has left a rich habitat with abundant wildlife, pristine vegetation and dark night skies that afford naked-eye viewing of the Milky Way and a host of celestial orbs.

The ranch house has six upstairs bedrooms, one downstairs bedroom and four shared baths. The downstairs bedroom has a California king that can be separated into two twins. Upstairs, there is a queen in one room, a double in one room, and two twin beds each in the remaining rooms. Pets are not permitted.

A night’s stay at the lodge includes dinner the day of your arrival, and breakfast and lunch (brunch on Sundays) the next day. The Q has a reputation for fine dining. Reasonable effort is made to accommodate guests’ dietary needs, but we are not able to serve vegan, gluten-free or lactose-free meals. Meals are family style; diners do not select from a menu.

More info about Q Ranch is available at their website

Note: Q Ranch is off the grid. Solar and generators provide electricity. Water comes from wells. There is no TV or phone. The ranch is a cell phone dead zone. The nearest signal, depending on the provider, is 2-12 miles. There is satellite wi-fi. Due to limited bandwidth, guests using laptops, smartphones or tablets are asked to confine their use to email only. Transfer of photos and videos quickly exhausts the data limit, causing the system to shut down for 24 hours. There is no air-conditioning; daytime temps rarely reach discomfort levels and nights are always cool.

Q Ranch Rates

  • $135 per person per night, double occupancy
  • $200 per person per night, single occupancy

These prices include food and lodging. You will need to make separate arrangements with Q Ranch for lodging.

Pinto polychrome bowl at Q Ranch
Pinto polychrome bowl at Q Ranch.


Cost is $350, a $100 deposit will hold your place. Sign up soon because space is very limited.

To make reservations to stay at Q Ranch during the workshop please contact Q Ranch by email at this address or visit their website at

About the Instructor

Andy Ward began reproducing prehistoric pottery in high school. Now, after more than 25 years, he teaches pottery workshops throughout Arizona and New Mexico. The focus of Andy’s pottery is on polychrome pottery types of the prehistoric Salado and Mogollon people. 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.

The ruins of Q Ranch Pueblo
The Pueblo ruins of Q Ranch Pueblo.

What Past Students Say

“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

I've been making primitive pottery since I was a teenager in the 80's. My work focuses on reproducing the polychrome pottery styles made in the American Southwest during thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. I have taught workshops and lectured at venues all over the Southwest. When I was learning to make pottery it was very hard to find the information I needed, so I created this website to make the technology of southwest pottery readily available to all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *