Teacher Bios


Lee Akins was born in Texas but spent most of his early years in Taiwan. He received his B.F.A. from the Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, Ohio in 1975 and M.F.A. from Southern Methodist University in Ceramics in 1986. He has taught ceramics at the college level for more than 30 years including Dallas County Community College and Colin College. In 2008 he retired early and moved to northern New Mexico to become a full time studio potter.Lee coil builds terracotta, creating vessels and sculptures influenced by his time in Asia. Archetypal forms are covered with matt patina surfaces. His work has been featured in ceramic magazines and publications including an article in Ceramics Monthly, August/September 2006. Website: leeakins.com



Bill Fajman, Emeritus Emory University Medical School faculty (Atlanta), began taking pottery classes as a second choice over 16 years ago: he really wanted to try stone carving, but the class was full, so he tried ceramics. One class led to another and he has not been without a class since.

As an undergraduate at Cornell University, Bill majored in chemistry which has provided significant influence in his interest in glazes and firing techniques and, in particular, raku, the ancient Japanese ceramic artform. Bill was drawn to raku early on and enjoys the lack of predictability and the  instant “gratification” associated with the technique. He also experiments with other low fire techniques  such as “naked” raku and Obvara type raku.

 Since moving to Santa Fe, Bill has immersed himself in the rich influences of the art, artists and spirit of the culture and land. He has challenged himself with various seminars including one intensive workshop with the renowned Japanese potter Shozo Michikawa.

Bill, his wife, a little brown dog and two cats live in Eldorado.



After earning his BFA in Ceramics at the University of New Mexico Andrew began to explore setting up his own studio, which has become McCollom Clay. He has worked for New Mexico Clay, Hanselmann Pottery, and he has had pieces displayed at Gallery ABQ. He frequently participates in discussions about function, form, design, and contemporary ceramics with instructors and students at Central New Mexico Community College where he is the Instructional Technician. Andrew is also involved with the community through local craft fairs and markets.



Frances Parker was born in Wisconsin and has lived in New Mexico for the past sixteen years.  She obtained an undergraduate degree in Fine arts with a concentration in ceramics from Lewis and Clark College in 1990. Upon graduation, Frances apprenticed with Toshiko Takaezu, a world renowned ceramicist, and continued on to receive her Masters from SUNY New Paltz in ceramics.  She has had one person exhibits at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, MD and the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum in Neenah, WI as well as many smaller exhibits in multiple galleries.  Her work is represented in the Bergstrom-Mahler’s permanent collection and multiple private collections.  Currently, Frances is a part-time instructor at Santa Fe Community College and Santa Fe Clay.  She also works full time creating sculpture in her Santa Fe studio.



Andrea Pichaida was born in Santiago, Chile and grew up in Germany and Chile. She travelled extensively in order to study various cultures, both ancient and contemporary. Andrea worked to become head of the sculpture department at the Art School of the Pontifical Catholic University (Chile) and published a ceramics manual for students in conjunction with her job. Andrea Pichaida currently lives in Santa Fe with her family.



Matt Repsher earned a BFA in Ceramics from Penn State and an MFA in Ceramics from Indiana University. He currently teaches at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and here at Santa Fe Clay. Matt’s ceramic work begins on the wheel, handbuilt elements are added, and highly layered, architecturally influenced surfaces bring the elements of each piece together to form a sophisticated body of work.



Greta Ruiz grew up in northern New Mexico. She studied ceramics with Paul Soldner at the Claremont Colleges in California. Greta has been teaching adult handbuilding and children’s classes at Santa Fe Clay since 2000.



Arlene Siegel has been teaching ceramics for over 40 years. Her work, thanks to 30 years of art fairs and 20 years of owning a gallery, is all over the world. The only thing more exciting to Arlene than getting her hands to do what’s in her head is helping her students experience the same thrill.



Mike Walsh has worked as a studio potter in Santa Fe, New Mexico since 1978. He specializes in functional, wheel-thrown stoneware. Born in Bennington, Vermont, Walsh earned a degree in art education from Mansfield State College in Pennsylvania. His thoughtful simplicity of line makes his pottery equally at home in both rustic and contemporary settings.  Mike spends the majority of his time producing his wares, but sets some time aside to share his knowledge of his craft by teaching at Santa Fe Clay.

© Santa Fe Clay 2017