Growing & Changing for the Love of Art

Desert at MiddleridgeHello Clay Lovers!

I’m Desert Chavez, owner and co-founder of Clayworks of Idyllwild. I’m happy to share some big news regarding significant growth and changes taking place with Clayworks of Idyllwild. After all, life is art. When one grows as an artist, it’s reflected in all areas of life.

Since the shop’s opening nine months ago, it’s been such an amazing learning experience for me. As an artist, it’s not always easy to make the transition from creative thinking to a business-oriented mindset; I’ve had to learn as I go, and it has come to my attention that I’ve begun to outgrow the current location. I’m excited to share this news with you all, and invite you to grow with me. Clayworks of Idyllwild will continue to offer all the great deals we’ve had, but a new location will help me to branch out. I’ll spread the love of clay (and now painting), along with some new possibilities for me personally. Take a look at what’s ahead!


I’m happy to announce we’ll soon have a new location which includes ample space for clay fun, more storage, along with a painting studio (yes, as I said in the previous newsletter I’ll be offering lessons in 2-D art). This means space for more equipment, seating, glazes, paint, easels, and more!

On-Site Kiln

Most importantly, we’ll have an on-site kiln which is **a must** for any potter. Everything will be fired quickly, and without the risks of transport.

Continued Operations

Please bear with us during our move. We are still available for students and classes during this time!
Please note: Gift Certificates continue to be honored.
Meanwhile, please call to schedule anything you desire: 213-447-1413

Find My Work

Desert bird bowl

The new location doesn’t include a gallery. This became obsolete since my own work is being sold in three galleries across town. I’m grateful to Higher Grounds Gallery and Middle Ridge Winery for making this possible. A third location will be announced soon. This beautiful community has given me such a warm welcome, and I have a passion for giving back. I’ll now have more time and energy to put into the school’s SmArts Program along with my Board position with the Art Alliance of Idyllwild.

A big thank you to everyone who has supported Clayworks through classes, lessons, special orders and gallery purchases.. along with just plain word of mouth! I wouldn’t have gotten off the ground without you and the creative community of Idyllwild. Here’s to going with the flow, and trusting in the natural process of growth and change.

Keep an eye out for special offers through my new location!

For the Love of Clay (and Painting!)
Desert Chavez

Clayworks of Idyllwild
PO Box 2415
Idyllwild, CA 92549


Fun With Clay Continues..

Clayworks April 26 2017After almost seven months since our opening, classes and workshops continue to be one of our biggest sources of fun and satisfaction. We currently have regular classes taking place, weekly, on Mondays at 10:30am and Wednesdays at 11:00am, but we schedule around you when we can. Taught by our lead instructor, Desert Chavez, you can learn everything from wheel throwing to hand building, glazing, and even creating your own teapot. We offer both hourly and day rates. If you have a desired time for individual or group instruction, then for the love of clay please contact lead instructor & owner, Desert Chavez at 213-447-1413!

Customer Work

clayworks_melissa-and-joseWe’ve been open three months now, and have really enjoyed meeting new customers, including locals and visitors to the Hill. We’re realizing that’s a big plus with our job; we not only get to greet and say hello, but we often have time to get to know people. Meet Melanie and Jose. They live in Idyllwild and own a fishing villa in Mexico. They came in for an Open Studio workshop with light instruction from Desert Chavez. They’re in the process of creating their own “fish” door signs for the eight rooms at their inn. It’s such a great personal touch, and we think they’ve been doing an awesome job!

OPEN STUDIO: Our working studio is open to the public, not just ceramic artists but anyone desiring the time to create whatever you desire. We have reasonable rates, and offer light assistance. Call or come inside to schedule your own! 213-447-1413

…and We’re Open!

A big THANK YOU to those who came to one of our openings. It’s hard to believe we got our little shop and studio up and running so fast. We found our location just one month ago, and then everything fell into place with such ease, we’ve been extremely baffled and grateful. Opening a new business is a challenge, but it’s full of so much fun and excitement when it’s centered around our passion– we both can’t believe we get to play with clay all day! It’s a dream come true, and we hope the joy ripples out to everyone we serve here.

We sent out our first newsletter yesterday, and for those who missed it, we’re including the basic content below. If you’d like to sign up, just send us an e-mail with ADD ME in the subject line to: We don’t share your e-mail with anyone, and we send 3-4 newsletters a month and whenever we have specials or classes.

For those who don’t know, we’re a working studio & gallery located in Idyllwild, devoted to the love of clay. We hope to be of service to our community through unique gifts, custom orders, holiday workshops and classes of all kinds.

IMPORTANT: We offer real pottery classes that allow you to experience the calming and nurturing aspects of clay. We are NOT a “paint your own” ready-made piece of pottery studio; you create the pieces, starting with a lump of earth to a finished & glazed work of art that’s uniquely yours, taught by an experienced ceramic artist and art teacher. And guess what? Our already affordable class fees cover glazes and kiln usage. What a deal! We want art education accessible to everyone, especially here in Idyllwild.

  • Individual Classes
  • Group & Family Rates
  • Hosted Clay Parties for adults & children
  • Gift Certificates

Please feel free to walk in any time we’re at the studio— we love to hang out with our students and customers! Shop hours are listed below. We have room to sit down, relax and soak up the creative vibe, watch us work, shop current inventory, or request a lesson. We’re full-time artists and are committed to scheduling lessons and classes around you!

Pay for 5 Lessons and get the 6th lesson FREE. Ask for one of our stamp cards when signing up. We can tailor a lesson specifically for you, or choose from one of our many options.

Are you a ceramic artist in need of wheel time and firing? You pay affordable class rates, but we leave you alone. We also offer a monthly rate if that works better for you. Please call for a consultation. Space is limited.

Last but not least, keep an eye out for upcoming workshops. They’ll be posted at our studio, website and newsletters. We’re really looking forward to handmade ornaments and creating your own ceramic gifts for Christmas time. Handmade gifts are the best!

Current Shop Hours:
Mon, Wed, Th- 10:00-11:30, then 1:30-4:30 (also open by appointment)
Fri & Sat- 11:30-3:30
Sunday- 10:30-12:30

We’re excited about fulfilling the clay-oriented needs of our community, along with raising awareness about the amazing medium of clay. Please call or e-mail us any time with requests or questions:

Meanwhile, remember to keep calm and throw something!

Love & Smiles,
Desert & Jillian

GRAND Opening

We’ve been working hard toward our grand opening, which is scheduled for tomorrow, October 15th from 12:00pm-5:00pm. If you’d like to stop by, we’ll have FREE workshops, music, and refreshments. We’d love to see you!

Last Saturday was our soft opening during the Art & Wine Walk, which was great practice. We had the opportunity to meet a large number of people, discuss our shop, and answer a lot of questions. Many questions spurred ideas, such as gift certificates and possible clay parties. We’ll be offering both, and gift certificates can be used toward classes or shop items.

Desert has been working mostly on the wheel this week, while Jill embellishes his bowls with lovebirds (our best seller at the soft opening). We’ll have new pitchers, more lovebird bowls, and a new line of mugs coming up.

A big THANK YOU to Carlos Reynosa for playing his music at our studio during the evening of Desert’s birthday, October 7th. It was the first event at the studio, and was a lot of fun!

Many new pieces have been fired, and even more are awaiting the kiln this week. We’re launching our first newsletter this week, which will have special offers for those who sign up. We also have a visiting artist this month: Lucy Alexander. She’s new to Idyllwild and has a beautiful line of dishes and jewelry on display in our shop, called Bare Stone Handcrafted Pottery. Come check it out!

Here’s a rundown of what we’re offering right now:

Individual Lessons – (wheel or hand-building) $25 for 1 1/2 hour sessions, clay included for first lesson

Group Lessons – $15 per person for 1 1/2 – 2 hour sessions, clay included for first session

Clay Parties – $15 per person for 2-3 hours (adult & children, plus off & on-site parties)

Custom Orders – We can personalize, customize, or create just about anything from scratch. Come to us with your ideas!

Please stop by and see us any time. We work 7 days a week because it’s what we do for the love of clay!



Clayworks Has a Studio!

Clayworks group photo 1Today marks the true birth date of our ceramics collective. We found an awesome studio space this week, and it meets our needs in every way! That was quick, huh? We don’t waste time. Watch out– when artists come together with a clear vision, things happen fast!

It helped knowing exactly what we wanted. Space to create, space to dream, and space to grow. The space is what we envisioned, and more. It’s not far from town and quite close to Idyllwild Arts Academy. Tucked away among some beautiful pine and cedar trees, the light & airy studio includes access to a kitchen and living area for meals and relaxation between projects, plus a sewing room Jillian and Mairiam are planning to utilize. The property is perfect for classes with an outdoor seating area, and includes a gallery space we might be using in the not-too-distant future. The possibilities are endless.

All four of us met this evening with Ava, the owner, to go over the details. She’s a painter, and thanks to her talent, the grounds are full of positive energy and beautiful touches, leaving us all feeling very inspired. The meeting included some delicious black bean tacos provided by Terryann.

It’s hard to believe in just a matter of weeks we’ve got a working kiln, plus a beautiful work space. That type of ease speaks volumes; what an awesome team!

Clayworks Demo: Watch & Give it a Whirl!

Carlos_Display potteryCome watch beauty emerge from mere lumps of clay!

When it comes to art, there’s nothing better than witnessing an artist live, in the zone. Desert Chavez will be at the Higher Grounds Coffee Shop Gallery this Saturday, September 3rd displaying his pottery and giving live demos on the wheel, 10:00am-1:00pm. He’ll be assisted by Clayworks Artists Collective member, Terryann Halloran for an afternoon of play with clay.

Best of all: **Free** 15 minute samplings will be offered for anyone desiring a try at the wheel! First come, first served. So stop by and say hello, they’d love to see you!

Higher Grounds Coffee Shop Gallery
54245 N Circle Dr
Idyllwild, CA 92549


All Fired Up!

We’ve got the kiln up and running! It was a very exciting day because we got to fire some pieces that have been waiting on the shelves for months.

For now, until we get some extra shelves for the kiln, Desert will be firing mostly Raku pieces. Check out the beautiful pieces he fired today. He’ll continue to generate more while we work to get the online store up and running.

Ready, Set… !

We are simply blown away by the beauty that will surround us at our new kiln location! Picturesque Garner Valley is considered one of the most beautiful places on earth. This morning we found ourselves surrounded by wide open spaces, tall pine trees, and the softness of sage brush with a vast open sky. What an adventure this is going to be!

Storm clouds over Idyllwild

Oooooh, yeah. Looks like we might’ve died and gone to heaven, huh?

We all feel very blessed. Desert and Jill were accompanied by Terryann Halloran (member of the Idyllwild Clayworks Collective) who assisted in all areas, Jill’s 16 year old son, Prasad helped with sanding the lumber, and Colin Parker who owns the property gave us guidance as we got started.

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The building location needed some clearing out, so we removed a lot of sage brush and did our best to level the ground. We also hand carried lumber from the barn, then cut, stained and sealed several boards for the initial framing process. This evening we’re scheduled to dig holes and cement the posts so we can complete building tomorrow.

NOTE: See the image of the completed structure above? That’s included as a **sample** of what we’re going for, only a little larger at 12′ x 8′. Pictured is an outhouse on the same property (with a composting toilet and shower). We’re doing the same basic plan, but it’ll hold two kilns, shelves, and a small sink area. So far, so good!


Photo Credit: Garner Valley, by Chris Martin