Clay Wall Carving in New Mexico

Offsite New Mexico workshop

Clay Wall Carving

With Athena Steen & Danielle Felgenhauer


  • Wednesday, July 24, 2024
  • Friday, July 26, 2024
  • 09:00 AM
  • 05:00 PM


  • Whiskey Creek Zocalo , Arenas Valley , NM


  • $ 300
Sorry, this workshop is full, with a waitlist

Clay Wall Carving Workshop in New Mexico

In collaboration with Silver City Clay Festival

A 3-day workshop teaching how to create art on walls, through carvings that use simple clay, sand & straw mixes.

Clay wall carving is the process of building up layers of clay plasters in differing colors or textures, and then carving away those layers in forms and shapes to create a 3 dimensional “relief” carving. This technique transforms ordinary, flat walls into amazing works of art, and can drastically transform and elevate a space. It also goes hand and hand with other natural building techniques like earthen walls and plasters.

This workshop will explore the art of carving/scraffito earth plaster and coloured clay plastering techniques in a creative environment. It will touch on practical clay plastering methods such as how to construct these plaster mixes, how to level a wall and use a hawk and trowel – all techniques that can guide in the creating of artistic walls. 

We will also incorporate locally found pigments, collected by pigment hunter Scott Sutton, two days prior to this workshop. If you are interested in learning about sourcing local pigments and processing them for use in various art forms, sign up for Scott’s workshop! It will be held right before this one, on July 22-23 in Silver City, and we are so excited to collaborate with him on this project –

Clay plasters are a natural building material made from subsoil, water, and fibrous organic material (typically straw). Contents of different local subsoils naturally vary, and can be modified with sand or clay to create the desired balance.


Whiskey Creek Zocalo: 11786 HWY 180 E. Arenas Valley, NM

This workshop will be held at a local bar, restaurant, and music venue, Whiskey Creek Zocalo, recently featured in New Mexico’s Edible magazine. It is owned and run by artists Jeff LeBlanc and Melanie Zipin. The Whiskey Creek is a space that houses creativity, and in this workshop, you will be part of creating a work of art that will remain there for many to enjoy.

Accommodations are not provided as part of this workshop. There are many local campsites and hotels in Silver City. 


  • Lunch
  • Water
  • Sunscreen & Hat
  • Snacks

All tools and materials will be provided. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the workshop site. 


Workshop Syllabus


Athena Steen grew up building with clay and adobe. She loves creating sculpted spaces that connect form with function, and walls rich with pattern, texture and color.  

Through the Canelo Project, a small non-profit organization, Athena has been teaching workshops for over thirty years, in strawbale construction and earthen building. Focused on simple, low-skill, low-cost methods that build community between people, culture and nature. 

Co-author of The Straw Bale House, Small Strawbale, and Built by Hand, her influence in the natural building world has been wide-spread. When Athena does not have her hands in the mud, she also enjoys publishing and designing books.

Danielle Felgenhauer is an artist with a passion for creating with natural materials. With a background in fine arts and geography, her journey has been an exploration of the relationship between people and their environment.

Art isn’t just about expression; it’s a profound connection to the world around us. Believing that working with local materials is a poetic way to delve into our relationship with the earth, Dani finds joy in the knowledge that every creation crafted from clay will eventually return to its origins.

Over the past three years, Dani has immersed herself in the art of clay carving, finding it to be a captivating transition from other mediums. Now, she is excited to share her knowledge and passion with others on a journey of creativity, exploration, and a connection to the earth as you discover the art of clay carving together.

Watch Athena Steen create a sculpture and carvinG: