School of Art, Craft & Design

Clay Faculty

Vince Pitelka, Professor

Phone: 931-372-6884 | Email: | Office: Appalachian Center for Craft / Clay Studio | Web:

Bio at a Glance

  • MFA in Ceramics, 1988 – University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  • BA in Art, 1971 – Humboldt State University
  • 1975-85 – Owner/potter, Railroad Stoneware, Blue Lake, California
  • Columnist, Clay Times Magazine since 2001
  • New expanded edition of Clay: A Studio Handbook due for release in 2016
  • Frequent workshop instructor at national and international venues
  • Current work includes exploration of sealed vessels based on cinerary urns, canopic jars, time capsules, reliquaries, etc.

More About Vince

Vince Pitelka has been professionally involved in ceramics for over 40 years. After a 10-year career as a studio potter in Blue Lake, California, Vince completed his MFA in ceramics at UMass-Amherst in 1988. In graduate school he became fascinated with surface pattern in ceramics, and developed techniques for creating highly detailed pattern and imagery using bisque stamps and inlaid colored clays.

Pitelka has taught at Northeastern University, North Dakota State University, and for the past twenty-two years at Tennessee Technological University’s Appalachian Center for Craft, where he is Professor of Art and Head of the Clay Program.

At the Craft center he has continued his exploration of pattern on vessel forms, often incorporating found or fabricated parts installed after glaze-firing. Recent work includes slab- and coil-built vessels employing impressed pattern and texture reinterpreting traditional utilitarian and industrial storage and pouring vessels.

Pitelka is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and has exhibited work and taught workshops throughout the US and internationally. Since 1994 he has been an active participant in the Clayart Internet discussion forum. His column “Tool Times” appears in Clay Times magazine, and his book Clay: A Studio Handbook was published in 2001 by the American Ceramic Society.