The Sedona Arts Center welcomes new instructor Thomas Connery to the Ceramics Department.

Connery is an inspiring artist and undergraduate student from Northern Arizona University. He is a wheel-throwing potter who works with altered forms and atmospheric firings to catch the flame of the kiln onto the finished piece. He begins teaching his six-week Pottery Wheel for Beginners in the Arts Center’s Historic Art Barn on Saturday, Nov. 18.

“I’m thrilled to have Tommy join our team,” Ceramics Department Head Dennis Ott said. “It’s great to have youth back in the department and we’re looking forward to seeing what new and exciting ideas he will bring to his class.”

Connery first took up pottery in high school and has been refining his skills ever since. Working with pottery for over six years, he is currently an undergraduate and teaching assistant at NAU. He often sits in for professors at the university, where an instructor suggested he take up teaching at Sedona Arts Center. He plans on taking his newly learned skills, high energy and calmness to the therapeutic life of throwing clay.

The Ceramics Complex where Connery studies at NAU has one of the largest wood-fired kiln facilities in the United States, housing seven kilns, including one of only three Tozan kiln sites in the world.

The Tozan is a unique variation of the Japanese hill-climbing, wood-fired kiln.

“I’ve always wanted to teach, and I anticipate the opportunity at Sedona Arts Center will lead to more exciting adventures in life and in teaching,” Connery said.

Pottery Wheel for Beginners is a six-week course, designed exclusively for those who are new to wheel work and is open for ages 12 through adult. The course is intended to be fun and help students gain confidence on the potter’s wheel.

Students will receive personalized, one-on-one instruction and encouragement for a fascinating hands-on experience. The six-week course runs Nov. 18 through Saturday, Dec. 23, and again from Saturday, Jan. 6, through Saturday, Feb. 10.

The Sedona Arts Center’s Ceramic Department operates free from the constraints of grades and benefits from the talents of its ceramic faculty and assistants as well as nationally recognized guest instructors. This combination allows the department to offer flexible and diverse programming in both traditional and contemporary techniques.

Sedona residents and newcomers alike look to Sedona Arts Center for their introduction to and ongoing involvement in the arts. The School of the Arts programming is designed to reach out to all aspiring artists and students, including all ages and levels of learning. Taking classes on campus in Uptown affords the opportunity not only to explore the arts, but also to meet new neighbors and immerse yourself in the Sedona arts community. These classes have a membership discount and are offered on an ongoing or year-round basis.

The Sedona Arts Center is one of Northern Arizona’s most well established cultural organizations and serves as the creative heart of Sedona. Founded in 1958, the nonprofit is based at 15 Art Barn Road in Uptown and offers year-round classes, exhibitions, festivals and cultural events that enhance the creative life of the Verde Valley.

The center’s Fine Art Gallery, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., promotes the original works of over 100 local artists and regularly offers assistance for collectors and art buyers, private studio visits and fosters hundreds of arts education opportunities each year.

For more information, call 282-3809 or visit SedonaArtsCenter.org.

Arts & Culture, written this week by Kelli Klymenko, artist, photographer and marketing director of the Sedona Arts Center, appears Fridays in The Scene .