Clay Your Way


Southern Pennsylvania Clay shares passion for creating ceramics

By Jessica A. Rudy  |  Photography by Melissa Ring

There’s something uniquely grounding about working with clay, from handling the initial moist raw earthen material to enjoying a finished and functional ceramic piece.

Whether throwing pots, pitchers and mugs on a pottery wheel or hand building flat and irregularly shaped items, producing ceramics is a physically intensive and tactile art form thousands of years old. Corey Shultz, founder of Southern Pennsylvania Clay, has made it his mission to share this ancient craft with as many people as possible.

“I live and breathe ceramics, all day, every day,” Corey says.

Southern Pennsylvania Clay’s teaching and retail space, located at 102 Chambersburg St. in Gettysburg, is just the first step toward achieving his dream of fostering a creative community. Since opening in May 2023, Corey estimates he has taught 226 classes.

“If you’re interested in ceramics you’re going to come in here,” he smiles.

A native of Kentucky, Corey has been working on the pottery wheel for 15 years. Initially starting with visual art, he quickly changed his focus to ceramics and sculpture and discovered his calling to teach. He says his own development as an artist informs how he approaches students.

“I struggled [with ceramics]more than most people,” he says. “That has helped me become a better educator.”

He also cites as a strength his ability to break down numerous, typically inaccurate stereotypes people may have about artists and creators. 

“I was not your average art student,” Corey observes. “It’s very rare for some people to see that.”

Corey delights in answering questions and monitoring student progress, particularly when the process “starts to click” for new potters. 

“Consistency, form, technique. These topics come up, and I take every opportunity to turn it into discussion,” Corey says of his teaching style. He wants students to understand the “why” of what is happening as they create, not just the “how.” 

Students of all ages, starting at age 5, are welcome to take classes. Each student is an integral part of Southern Pennsylvania Clay’s growing community. Corey considers himself privileged to have benefited from world-class teachers and experience as he developed into an artisan, and he considers it his responsibility to pass his knowledge to other creators as much as possible.

“I think it would be selfish to hoard that privilege,” he explains. “I don’t want to keep everything I have in here [in my head].”

Topics include fundamentals of throwing clay forms in the pottery wheel, hand building and progressive levels of instruction as students build their skills. The downtown studio can accommodate eight students per class, and classes are a mix of multi-week intensives and one-night introductory opportunities. Students participate in the entirety of the ceramics process, including glazing and kiln firings. 

Corey makes his own clay and glaze mixtures; these coatings consist of various minerals and material that are applied to ceramic pieces after an initial kiln firing. When the piece is fired a second time, the glaze undergoes a chemical reaction, resulting in the final appearance of the piece, as well as sealing the porous clay and, in many cases, making an object food safe.

A handful of local potters are now members of Southern Pennsylvania Clay and have access to kiln firings and workspace whenever Corey is on-site. As the community grows, Corey hopes membership and available offerings will grow as well.

In addition to the downtown location, which he considers a teaching studio, Corey and his partner own and live at a historic farm property just outside the borough. The property, which houses his main studio, is at the center of his future plans. Ultimately, the farm studio will include 20 to 30 private studios for area artists, two classrooms, a 24/7 studio for members, a ceramic production facility, and various kilns and specialized work areas.

Accessibility is at the heart of Corey’s vision for the future. He considers class tuition carefully in order to preserve affordability and has a permanent catalog of nearly 500 items he produces for sale to underwrite Southern Pennsylvania Clay’s educational mission. Digitizing his catalog and teaching others to produce the items within is an ongoing project. Every item produced underwrites making educational opportunities available to more people.

“This isn’t about who you are or where you come from,” he explains. “[What is] most important is that folks are able to take classes.”

Corey hopes to establish the farm’s ceramic production facility as an opportunity for artists to gain worthwhile professional experience while also supporting the community.

“I want to create jobs for artists,” he says. “I realize that clay and ceramics and visual art is a lot bigger than me.” 

Southern PA Clay

102 Chambersburg St., Gettysburg

Phone: 301-606-2436

For more information about Corey Shultz and Southern Pennsylvania Clay, and to learn about upcoming classes, visit    


About Author

Jessica Rudy

Jessica Rudy is a freelance writer and editor who started her journalism career in 2007 at the Gettysburg Times. As a journalist, arts marketer, musician, fiber artist, historian and occasional improv comedian, she uses her work to advocate for the power of creativity and storytelling to grow deep, lasting connections in communities. She lives in Fairfield with her husband and daughter and their cats.

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