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Heart Breaking News

It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of glaze, clays & all things chemistry master Phil Bernburg who passed away on Wednesday, July 21st.

Phil has made many contributions to the ceramic community over the last few decades. I first met Phil over twelve years ago when he taught my first pottery class at Bill van Gilder’s Frederick Pottery School. That first meeting grew both my love of pottery and my friendship with Phil that led us to open Washington Street Studios in 2017.

Phil Berneburg was a studio art potter with over twenty years’ experience, a geologist and ceramics engineer, and a professor of ceramics in the Masters program at Hood College (Frederick, Maryland). His main interests are in creating sculptural ceramics, both functional and nonfunctional, and in contributing to education in the ceramic arts, in particular, teaching the technical background of ceramics and its importance and relationship to art pottery.

His background has included just about every aspect of ceramic processing including raw materials handling, ceramic body preparation, shaping and forming techniques, firing procedures, equipment maintenance, and studio and laboratory design and safety. He operated Apron Full of Gold Pottery School in Winthrop, Maine from 1996 to 1999, was an instructor at Glen Echo Pottery (Glen Echo, MD) for 10 years, and an instructor at Bill van Gilder’s Frederick Pottery School for two years. In 2004 he served as technical editor for Ceramics Monthly magazine. Currently, he teaches classes on hand building and wheel techniques, and workshops and intensive classes on technical aspects of ceramics such as clay properties, glaze chemistry, and kiln technology.


Phil had two more passions that we have managed to share with the ceramic community, birthed from Phil’s generous heart and Washington Street Studios, Art Works for Good and The Potters’ Round Table.


Art Works for Good is a 501c3 charitable organization that collects pottery donated by artists to raise money in support of art education for schools, art educators and artists. Art Works for Good has given grants of over $2,500 to support art education in our public schools.


The Potters’ Round Table started as an in-person gathering where Phil shared his years of clay and glaze experience with the ceramic community through monthly lectures and presentations focused on the ceramic arts. This led to the creation of the Washington Street Studios YouTube channel and The Potters Round Table podcast where these lectures have been captured and shared with the public free of charge.


We will miss Phil and his zeal for life. I will miss his friendship and the passion that kept us going. Washington Street Studios, Art Works for Good, and The Potters’ Round Table will all live on as part of Phil’s legacy within the ceramic arts community.


Rest in peace Phil.


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