Our Instructors

Ellie Kotsianas Christner

Pottery with surface treatment/carving embellishing 

Ellie is a Knoxville native who has been doing pottery since 2014. She has her own business called Bug Pottery where she makes functional ware and decorative vases. She has a signature ladybug that she places on every piece. She studied advertising and art at ETSU. She has been with Mighty Mud since 2014, and teaching since 2016. She finds her inspiration from nature and the everyday items in our home. She is very friendly and outgoing. You may see her around working with her studio pup Chewie! Ellie teaches our Intermediate and All Levels classes.

Maggie Connolly

Maggie Connolly is an artist and author from Dubuque, Iowa. After earning her undergraduate degree from Grinnell College in 2007, she made her way to China eventually becoming the first American graduate to earn a MFA in Ceramics from Tsinghua University in Beijing. She then hopped, skipped and jumped over to Japan. In 2017, she became the second American to earn a Ph. D from Tokyo University of the Arts for ceramics. In Spring of 2019 she finished a two year post-doctorate program there. From 2019 to 2020, she spent a year as an Artist-in-Residence at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and loved every moment of it.

 She has published multiple articles in Ceramics Monthly related to her travels throughout Asia researching ceramics. In her free time, she enjoys playing bridge. Currently, she is a full-time professional artist at Mighty Mud Studios in Knoxville, Tennessee. You can see her work at caoyustudio.com

Bailey Fritz

Sgraffito and mishima techniques

Bailey Fritz is a ceramicist from the Knoxville area who creates functional, handmade pottery. In 2020, they began taking classes at Mighty Mud and have been pursuing it ever since. After graduating with a degree in sustainability from UTK in 2022, they felt drawn to merging sgraffito and mishima techniques with earth tones to create pieces inspired by Appalachian flora and fauna. They spent the following summer working and studying at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and the fall at Penland School of Crafts. Bailey hopes to pursue pottery full-time in the future, and they can be found selling their wares at markets around Knoxville."

Barron Hall

Owner and Teacher

Barron is a practicing artist in Knoxville, Tn. Originally from Alabama, then Florida, Barron headed to Knoxville with his family to earn his Masters of Fine art in Ceramics at the University of Tennessee. He currently owns and operates Mighty Mud Studios and teaches Ceramics: Sculpture and Art History, at Maryville College. His personal work combines hand building and wheel thrown ceramics as well as large scale installation pieces of wood and scrap. He has recently served on the Knoxville Mayor’s Makers Council and more info can be found at: barronart.net 

Vanessa Hartman

Handbuilding, Studio Techician & Programs Coordinator

Vanessa Hartman makes objects as a way to digest the world around her. Ideas of origin, identity, the human experience, symbiosis, and play resonate in her work. Hartman is translating her observations into new forms which act as vessels of stored energy, conversations in nonverbal communication, and characters in a mythology of their own. Growing up in Jupiter, Florida, the sand, fauna, people, and gift shops have provided her with a particular sensibility for the human perspective and the way we interact with the environment we live in. Hartman received her BA in Studio Art from Florida State University in 2014 where she focused on multi-media sculpture and ceramics. Her continuing desire to learn has brought her to Tennessee where she studied and worked at Arrowmont School of Arts in and Crafts in 2017. It was there she fell in love with the mountains and community of East Tennessee. For the last five years she has pursued a cohesive balance between working, making, and teaching. 

Jillian Hirsch


Jillian Hirsch is an artist and educator. She received her MFA in Ceramics at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville, in 2020. She currently teaches Art at the L&N STEM Academy. Over the last 10 years, Jillian’s professional art career has centered around teaching and community-based art projects via the creation of large-scale mosaic murals. Through her artistic practice, Jillian strives to engage others in dialogue concerning ecological literacy and environmental issues while exploring speculative futures on a damaged planet. She is an avid gardener and beekeeper.

Amanda Humphreys

Pottery with surface treatment/decals, screen print, slip trail

Amanda is a Knoxville native who makes functional, whimsical pottery. Her work is inspired by her love and fascination with classic country music & the colorful costumes the artists wore & the images they portrayed, textures & colors from peeling paint on old historic buildings and southern culture & phrases. Amanda completed her BA in Studio Arts in 2005 at The University of Tennessee. Following her new found love of clay, she attended Haywood Community College in Clyde, NC for their Professional Crafts Program. She graduated in 2009, receiving honors and earning the Award of Distinction for her body of work.

From there she became a Two-Year Resident at Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts in Asheville NC. She is currently busy teaching classes at Mighty Mud and The Knoxville Fine Arts & Craft Center. You may see her work about town at RALA and local pop-up shows and Farmers Markets.

Daniel Huxtable

Daniel Huxtable is a Knoxville Tennessee native. He studied ceramics at East Tennessee State University, where he received his bachelors in Art. He started working with clay at a young age of 13. His mother let him take a class at a small studio in West Knoxville. From there he continued to dabble in the medium till he started High School at Farragut. Wendie Love, the teacher at Farragut inspired him to further his education. From there he attended Pellissippi State, University of Tennessee, and finally East Tennessee State. Daniel draws inspiration from nature. His favorite form is the mug. He makes mugs that depict fish from local waterways and abroad. He is not a good fisher and therein lies the irony of the subject matter. His firing methods are a mix of throwing and altering on the wheel, use of slips, and underglazes to achieve a multi-layered aesthetic. He also does sculptural work in the wood kiln allowing the kiln to give his work a unique and multi-sided finish. 

Wendie Love


Wendie Love is a thinker, tinker, maker, and teacher. In art and in life Love is driven by a passion for learning, making, and building community. Love sees clay as a material with endless potential that naturally brings together a community of makers. Teaching high school art in Knox County Schools has been Love's primary modality for building community. Love earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics and Painting and a Master of Science in Art Education from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville. You can find Love's art at exhibitions with Terra Madre a local ceramic artist's group or on Instagram @thinkertinkermakerteacher

Anais Lux

Pottery with surface treatment

Anais Lux is the studio potter behind Andro Lux Pottery (androluxpottery.etsy.com). In their role as studio Program Coordinator, they manage all the classes and events at Mighty Mud. Additionally, Lux teaches private and group beginner/intermediate wheel throwing classes. Their arts education has been formed through community classes, self-education and hours upon hours spent in the studio. Lux holds a B.A. in Psychology and is working toward a Master of Social Work degree.

Jeremy Myles

Detroit Michigan native, Jeremy Myles is currently an Artist in Residence at Mighty Mud and Instructor. He obtained an Associate of General Studies with a concentration in art from Oakland Community College in MI, where he gained a love for creating with clay. He began his ceramic journey by taking his two-dimensional drawings and translating them into three-dimensional forms. Although much of his current art and classes centers around wheel throwing, he has a love for functional, sculptural, and hand-built forms alike. His current goal as a teacher is to continue to teach, learn from those around him, and to implement all he has learned into what he loves.

Eric Sherwood

Eric Sherwood is a wheel throwing ceramic arts instructor at Mighty Mud Studios. He can currently be found teaching Cup, Bowl, & Plate as well as a 6-week wheel throwing class on Wednesday evenings.

Kelly Sullivan

Kelly graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a BFA in Studio Art, concentration in Printmaking, but considers herself to be a Mixed Media Artist. She has lived in South Florida, Atlanta, Syracuse, New York and currently resides in Knoxville, TN. Regardless of where she lives, she finds a community where she can make art, learn new processes, and teach what she is most passionate about. Kelly moved to East Tennessee to follow a dream and work at Arrowmont School of Arts & Fine Crafts, where she worked for two and a half years. Kelly is currently the director of Knoxville Arts and Fine Crafts Center where she enjoys creating programming for the community she lives and teaches in.

Campbell Williams

Girl Scout events and Pottery

Campbell was born and raised in northern Indiana along with her two older siblings. As a child, she always had an itch to keep creating in everything she did, and that itch has never gone away. A bachelor’s degree in Pre-art therapy has provided her with a passion and purpose in the way that art and people interact. The studio is a place of community and also serenity, as it serves as a place for people to create together. Thus, what she enjoys the most is spending her days in the ceramic studio. She sees beauty in every part of the creating process; from making the clay, to seeing the final product find a place in a home. She creates with simplicity in mind. In a way, simplicity allows for more attention on the small details and intentionality in every design decision. In her work you will see trends of neutral colors, texture, and a mixture of playful and serious shapes. She hopes that others can see bits of her personality in her work; just as she loves seeing others’ personality show in their work. Instagram: c.pottery_