Teachers

Kari Zelson Robertson

Kari Zelson Robertson is a  recent transplant to Ithaca, NY, where she runs her studio and gallery space in her South Hill home. She is a member of the Greater Ithaca Art Trail, and her work is available locally at 15 Steps.

Introduced to ceramics at Buffalo State College, where she completed her Art Education degree, Kari kept the fire, returning to clay between and around raising kids and teaching art in the public schools. She attended Alfred University for part of her graduate degree, and later was a partial scholarship student at Penland School of Craft in North Carolina. While living in Northern New York, Kari began and managed an artists’ cooperative gallery in Clayton, NY, along the St. Lawrence River.

Her work ranges between wheel thrown, altered, and handbuilding techniques. Much of her content is based on ideas related to natural water environments. Kari’s work has been recognized at the Frederick Remington Museum in Ogdensburg, NY, the North Country Arts Council’s Annual Juried Shows, and at the National Twin Cups Exhibition in St. Joseph, Missouri.

For more information, see www.KariZelsonRobertson.com , facebook at Kari Zelson Robertson Art or Instagram at Kari_Zelson_Robertson

Jill Ackerman

Jill Ackerman lives in Trumansburg, NY where she has a private studio and is the owner/operator of Jilly.Makes.Pots. She has been working in clay for over 20 years and has been teaching and selling her work on & off for 16 years. Originally from Brooklyn, Jill has worked on her craft at Greenwich House Pottery and Artworks at the Westside YMCA in Manhattan, and 3rd Avenue Clay in Brooklyn. She taught middle school ceramics at the Brooklyn Friends School with grades 7 & 8. While living in Cooperstown NY, she was a member of the Smithy Clay Studio. Most recently, Jill was featured in the May issue of ‘What’s Hot CNY’ magazine. She participated in the annual Artist Market at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market, the annual Spring Art Show at the Trumansburg Conservatory of Fine Arts, and she teaches at The Clay School of Ithaca and 171 Cedar Arts in Corning. You can find her work during the holiday season at the

  • Elmira Handmade Market, Chamberlain Acres, 824 Broadway Elmira, NY
  • Handmade Holiday Market, T-burg Conservatory of Fine Arts, 5 McLallen St. Trumansburg NY
  • The Little Red Wagon Artisan Holiday Market, South Hill Business Campus, Ithaca NY
  • Private Studio Holiday Pop –Up Sale, Trumansburg NY

as well as at several local retail locations year round:

Tiana Trost

Tiana holds a BFA in Ceramics from SUNY Buffalo.  She currently works at Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School of Ithaca as their Visual Art Teacher for grades K-8. She has over 20 years of visual arts teaching in Buffalo NY,  Denver Colorado and in Ithaca. She has studied Ceramics at Haystack Mountain School of Arts and Crafts, Maine College of Art, Colorado University at Boulder, Metro State College at Denver, and has mentored at The Roycroft Pottery in East Aurora, NY.  Her passion is working with clay, and dabbling with many other mediums. She loves teaching Art to people of all ages, and is excited to be a part of the Clay School of Ithaca!  

Betsy Graham

After falling in love with clay in high school, Betsy earned her BFA in ceramics from Penn State University in 1999. Working with clay has been an integral part of her life ever since. Betsy currently works out of her home studio in Brooktondale, NY in which she focuses on making hand-built functional wares decorated with underglazes. She sells her work in regional artist markets and shops. Her work has also been included in multiple national juried exhibitions and can be found as dinnerware in her brother’s restaurant Staplehouse in Atlanta. With over 8 years of experience teaching pottery classes to people of all ages, Betsy is excited to share her passion for clay with the Ithaca community. 

Gretchen Gobble

Gretchen Gobble was first introduced to clay in 2009 at the Clayworks Studio in Binghamton, NY. After her first studio class, ceramics became her art medium of choice. Her connection to the world of clay has encouraged a career path in educating in the Visual Arts.  Gretchen has taught high school level art and ceramics in the past and is currently the art teacher at Spencer Van-Etten Elementary. Her passion is to make student connections while fostering a creative environment.

Gina Inzinna

Gina Inzinna has been with us since 2016 and has made the Clay School a home away from home. With a strong background in Ceramics from Maine Collage of Art, and an all-around creative soul, she is an approachable, down to earth instructor. You can find her in the studio glazing away as a member of our co- op, or in Julia E. Dean’s Studio as a Production Assistant. Nicknamed the “Glaze Whisperer”, Gina enjoys teaching workshops on the topic of glazing and helping members brainstorm in the studio. As one of our private lesson/ private event instructors, she invites a sense of fun while helping clients build a strong technical foundation. Plus, she has over a year’s worth of experience working with special needs clients. Gina is also on our substitute teacher list, so you might get her in class! When not at the Clay School, she’s probably making pots at home, to add to her line of one of a kind work.

Hannah Graeper Carver

Growing up in Trumansburg, NY, Hannah took her first pottery class from an Ithaca potter in 2003 and instantly fell in love with the medium and the clay community.  She studied under several local potters before moving to North Carolina to work full time in a production pottery. It was there that she developed her current line of work. In 2013 she moved back to Trumansburg and a lovely little studio in the country.  Her work is functional but highly decorated, displaying a technique called glaze trailing to draw detailed repeating patterns on the surface.  

Hannah Graeper Carver  Trumansburg, NY Hannah.graeper.pottery@gmail.com www.hannahgraeperpottery.com

Tess Lawlor

Tess Lawlor has taught pottery classes and given workshops at art centers throughout the Northeast for 35 years. Throughout her career she has taught beginning, intermediate, advanced and large scale wheel throwing techniques along with running an apprenticeship program for those interested in becoming professional potters. Tess’s students have returned over and over again mastering new skills and many have gone on to become professional potters themselves. Her focus is on large scale pieces as well as functional pottery and she delights in the process as much as the finished work, bringing an exacting eye to what is needed to go from average to the extraordinary. Tess maintains her pottery studio in Fall Creek neighborhood.

Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is the studio manager and teacher at the Clay School. She was first exposed to ceramics while working at a garden based pre-school, trading childcare for wheel lessons with a parent potter. Kelly’s draw to the medium of clay led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art with a concentration in ceramics at SUNY Cortland.  An important part of her education at SUNY was participating is the studio as a Teacher’s Assistant for professor, Jeremiah Donovan. During her studies, she attended NCECA, a national ceramics conference, Belize and Cuba to study ceramics and culture. This experience informed her approach to her senior show, Disquiet, where she explored creating and developing conceptual pots. Kelly has training through the Institute on Communication and Inclusion at Syracuse University. She looks forward to helping implement innovative education practices for students with communication challenges at The Clay School.