Travis Winters: Animal House Workshop

Travis Winters: Animal House Workshop

This workshop will focus on building techniques for creating expressive animals. Throughout the class students will gain knowledge on using simple armatures to assist in the solid construction of narrative figures. This includes, building, sectioning off pieces for hollowing, hollowing, reassembling, and clean up. During this process we will learn techniques for modeling realistic features and textures to bring our animals to life. Towards the end of our workshop we will discuss finishing options and learn how to create dynamic surfaces by using terra sigilatta, underglaze, glaze, and stains. 


Workshop includes:

  • 5 lunches
  • 25 lbs of clay
January 6-  10, 2019: 10:00am – 4:30pm
$495.00 Nonmembers (includes 5 meals) : Early Bird Price $455 (Until Nov. 9, 2019)
$445.00 Members (includes 5 meals) : Early Bird Price $405 (Until Nov. 9, 2019)
$396.00 Students (no meals included)*: Early Bird Price $355 (Until Nov. 9, 2019)*

*Current Student ID must be presented at beginning of workshop. Student must be enrolled for 6 or more credit hours for discount. All students are requested to volunteer 2 hours before or after the workshop for the Reitz Ranch. Questions please email: admin@reitzranch.org


About Travis Winters

Travis Winters is a ceramic artist and Programs Manager at Touchstone Center for Crafts in southwestern Pennsylvania.  Originally from Corning, NY, he found his fascination for working in clay at community college and later went on to receive BA from Buffalo State College and an MFA from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Working primarily with animals and figures, he creates figures based on mundane day-to-day life, past struggles and real people. Winters exhibits work nationally and has shown at Baltimore Clayworks in Baltimore, MD, The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, PA, The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA, The Baton Rouge Gallery in Baton Rouge, LA, and the AMOCA Museum in Pomona, CA. Travis was the Lormina Salter Fellowship Artist at Baltimore Clayworks, long term Resident at Odyssey Clayworks in Asheville, NC, a Kiln God Summer Resident at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in New Castle ME and a Short-Term Resident Artist at Red Lodge Clay Center in Red Lodge, MT.

With my work I am constructing characters, often humorous, each focused on its own individual narrative. These stories are based on mundane day-to-day life, past struggles, and real people. Throughout our lives we encounter many “characters” and create our own stories.  Some of these people and stories become part of our personal identity as we pass them on to those around us.  I feel compelled to narrate these stories derived from human nature, universal experiences, and my own personal understanding of the world around me. Drawing from these observations, I am able to manifest prevalent themes about life within our contemporary society. By creating comical figures, I am initiating a non-threatening conversation about a variety of topics prevalent within our culture.  Captivating the imagination of the viewer through open-ended stories, I invite the fabrication of personal narratives and encourage an intimate connection with the characters. This dialogue between viewer and figure encourages various interpretations, all while relating the narrative back to themes of everyday existence and experiences. With my work, I am modeling my figures with exaggerated folds and wrinkles in order to create a visceral encounter with each narrative.  Through sculpting in this stylized yet realistic way, the viewer gets hooked in as their curiosity leads them to closely examine each character.

Required Tools

Required tools


Prior to the workshop, students should construct a simple armature with the following materials:

  • Floor flange and two threaded metal pipes. These can be purchased in the plumbing department of any major hardware store. Type of metal is not important. The diameter of the pipe should be 1/2″.  The pipe should be at least 3-6” long for the shorter, and  8-12″ long for the longer pipe.
  • Wooden board for mounting floor flange. The board should be at least ¾” thick and at least 12” x 20”
  • 4 wood screws ½” long, for mounting flange to board

Tools/materials for participants

Tools/materials for participants:


  • Students should bring a couple of basic wooden sculpting tools with which they are most comfortable. I suggest Kemper JA17 wooden sculpting tool (or something similar)
  • A cheap plastic putty knife 1.5” wide:
  • A wire tool
  • A scoring tool (or needle tool)
  • Plastic to cover work
  • Spray bottle to wet down work
  • apron
  • several sheets of scrap newspaper
  • masking tape
Kemper Sculpting Tool JA17
Plastic putty knife 1.5”

Reitz Ranch Cancellation Policy

– RR will offer a full refund of registration/workshop fees if cancellation is made at least ONE WEEK in advance of workshop.

– If cancellation occurs less than ONE WEEK prior to the start of the workshop, participant will forfeit 50% of the total workshop fee, or, at the request of participant RR may credit the total amount to be used on alternative class/workshop at a later date.

– If cancellation or no-show occurs once the workshop has commenced RR reserves the right to withhold all Fees paid by participant. However, RR understands that extenuating circumstances may occur and will make every effort to take these into consideration. In some cases, participant may be eligible to receive a partial or full credit towards another workshop.