Our Instructors

Ellie Kotsianas Christner

Pottery with surface treatment/carving embellishing 

Since studying Advertising and Fine Arts at East Tennessee State University I have found my passion in making ceramics.Whether I’m sculpting a play-doh cheeseburger for my tea party or hand building a mallard duck replica with objects found in my backyard, I have been creating and making things with my hands for as long as I can remember. My father has always worked in the furniture industry and specifically with Stickley Furniture, so I have been surrounded by the Arts and Crafts aesthetic. Falling in love with the simple designs and strong attention to details, it is clear where my inspirations come from. As a child I was always playing outside and interacting with nature, so I draw most of my inspirations from things you might find in your back yard.

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.

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.

Shiyana Mahendra


Being raised in the North, East, Mid-West, and the South, as well as having close family and friends throughout North America, Meg showed interest and intrigue with pottery and the multi-faceted and ever-changing subject we call Art. Living in multiple areas of the country allowed her the opportunity to glean knowledge and information about the vast mediums and forms of art. Meg’s earliest memory of art in uencing her is from her holidays and summers spent with her cousin’s in New Milford, Connecticut, playing at Hunt Hill Farm and The Silo (an artist community similar to Arrowmont). Through Meg’s artistic endeavors, she has shown that she is open to utilizing whatever medium it may take to complete an art work… including cosmetics.

While Meg excels in all areas of the Art world, her passion has become clay. Through clay she is able to show her love of this ever changing medium as well as being able to incorporate other mediums and techniques of other art forms into her pieces. Though, her greatest excitement and enjoyment comes from being able to share her knowledge and abilities with others; no matter what age or ability!
Meg, while raising her son, received her Associate’s of Art-Studio Arts, focusing in ceramics from Walters State.

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.

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 mosaics 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.

Wendie Love


Wendie Love’s artwork is primarily influenced by the role of the form and function in art as it enables the building of community. She works to provide an environment and encouragement for people to imagine and create. Valuing the creative process over the product, she strives to contagiously instill in her students a love research, planning, and the full embrace of the accidental. For her, clay more than other media, provides endless opportunities for technical research, historical appreciation, creative problem solving, and perpetual learning. Art is about process: establish/recognize a problem, imagine potential solutions, create a solution, evaluate and reflect on the quality of the solution, and repeat. In art and in life, she seeks to experience and share a passion for learning while building a creative community.

Wendie has a BFA in Ceramics and Painting and an MS in Art Education from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. She teaches Ceramics, Painting, and AP Art History at the high school level in Knox County Schools. She exhibits and sells her work with Terra Madre – Women in Clay a local artist’s group.

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.

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.