Explorations in Blackboard with Martha Banyas

Join Martha Banyas for an intensive, in-depth exploration of pre-enameled steel blackboard and the variety of ways you can create color and pattern! The class starts off with classic black and white techniques using graphite pencils, white pencils, pen & ink techniques with white ink and various forms of shading, texturing and patterning with just black and white.

We will then move into color, the tricky thing being to keep the colorant, as well as the blackboard, matte after firing.  Students will start with a range of mica powders in various forms and applied in a number of ways before moving into mason stains. Martha will walk you through the intricacies of applyting color, sgraffito-ing back through the color, and combining the mica and mason stains.

In addtion, there will be other surprising materials that will be added day by day to give you a wide range of media to work with on Blackboard. We will also see what happens when we cut and shape and even solder findings onto Blackboard. 

Each day we will do at least 2 pieces, and there may be time for more! This promises to be an exciting and innovative workshop for working with a black background and mat surfaces….and no enamel! All of these materials fire permanently into the Blackboard and provide rich surfaces and broaden your coloring options! 


Techniques covered include:

  • Blackboard firing 
  • Graphite pencils
  • White pencils
  • Pen and ink techniques
  • Mica powders in various forms
  • Mason stains
  • Additional underglaze materials and coloring options 
  • Soldering with blackboard
  • Cutting and shaping blackboard


This class is in person only. 

In order to take this class, you must complete the TES Blackboard Jam session with Martha. A link for the Jam Session (online only) and kit you will need for that will be provided in your registration email. This 1 hour introduction will give you the skills you need to dive right in for this class!  You are highly encouraged to enamel along with this video and do the project, if at all possible—it will give you a huge advantage to the in-person class!


A kit of supplies is provided with this class and will be waiting for you on your first day of class. 




Students must take the Blackboard Jam Session from TES, as a basic prerequisite for this class. This is a short 1 hour introduction to blackboard by Martha Banyas. A link for accessing the TES Blackboard Jam Session and a link to the supply kit for the Jam session will be in your registration email.

Enameling and metalsmithing experience is extremely helpful. 



Martha Banyas (Guest)

If a class is online, or is a combination online and in-person session, all students receive a link to a recording of the class demonstrations. In-person only workshops are not recorded. For staff instructor classes, students have access to the recordings for one year. For guest instructors, access is 30 days. 

If a kit is included with the class, online students will have them mailed to them. Kits for in-person students are delivered at the beginning of the first class. More information about the kit is included with the supplies list which is emailed after registration.

International students may be charged an additional amount for shipping, because of the increased cost to ship abroad. Also, shipments to other countries may incur a tariff payable by the student. International students are welcome to contact us re: these costs and options for their materials. Please be sure that the address with your payment is the correct one for shipping.

If this class is offered online, it uses the Zoom app/website. Through Zoom, you’ll be able to see demos and follow instructions, ask questions and interact with your instructor. Zoom is easy to use and free for students to use for class, and works on most devices, like phones (iPhone, Android, etc), tablets (iPads, etc), and computers (Mac or PC).

Your instructor is also available during free Zoom office hours for questions and help.

For classes that include work time, online students work at home or in their studio. All of our recommended tools and the kit materials are chosen to be home studio friendly. Links to preferred vendors are provided in the supplies list sent after registration. Some classes, like our short demo only classes, don't require tools or materials to attend. 

We remain committed to keeping everyone as safe as possible while continuing to move forward and adapt to the current circumstances for our in person classes and open studios.

In person students must show proof of vaccination. We recommend that everyone remain current with booster shots as recommended by your doctor.

Face masks are encouraged while at the school, but no longer required. Students must bring a particulate face mask (N95, KN95, KF94 or similar) to protect against dust and particles when needed and required during class work time.

If you have tested positive for COVID, have symptoms that could be COVID, or feel ill, please don't come to class. Contact us for more information. 

All benches and shared tools are cleaned before and after class. 

It’s recommended that students bring their own apron, safety glasses•, mask (also used for protection against fine dust when polishing), and water bottles. Filtered water is available for refills. We have aprons, safety glasses and togo cups available to use.  

*Students are always required to wear safety glasses for their protection in the classroom. Be sure to choose safety glasses that fit comfortably, even over your prescription glasses.

Please visit our COVID-19 Updates page for more information.

And now the fine print. Payment in full for class fees is due at the time of registration to reserve your place. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and PayPal. Checks and cash are accepted only if you register at school. If you mail a check, your registration is not processed until it clears and the class may fill during the wait. 

If the workshop is canceled by our school for any reason, all class fees will be refunded, or you can transfer to another class, or you can keep a credit on account with us for future classes or purchases, 

Students can cancel, receive a credit or refund, or transfer to another class up to 21 days before a workshop, whether it is online or in person. No cancellations are accepted after the 21-day deadline, however, we will do what we can to try and sell your place to a qualified student. If we can sell your place, you can receive a refund less a $50 cancellation fee, keep a credit on account with us, or apply your fees towards a transfer to another class. 

If you can’t make it to class, you may send a participant who has the necessary prerequisites in your place. Please call or email us immediately with any changes in the student participant information. If a class includes an online section, your class will be recorded and you can watch later to make up a class you miss. 

Students must be at least 15 years old to attend a class, and students under 18 must have a legal guardian sign our liability waiver form. We have had younger students attend classes, on a case by case basis. If you’re interested in enrolling your child, please call or email us. 

If you sign up for a class and fail to have the required prerequisites as listed in the class description, you are still subject to the 21-day cancellation policy, listed above.

Lodging and meals are not included for in person classes.

If you don't come to class, there are no refunds, credits or transfers.