Escape to Tucson!

With more than 350 days of sunshine a year, a visit to Tucson is an escape that frees the mind and relaxes the soul.  For artists, it's a place of limitless inspiration.

That’s why I’ve started an all-inclusive program called Stay and Play with Clay that combines personalized one-on-one instruction, lodging at my “zen” home studio in the Tucson Catalina Foothills, meals, and more. One location. One price. Unlimited fun. 


Create your personalized 3-day, 2-night experience by selecting two workshops from the options below.  A broad range of unique experiences are provided OR you may also request other workshop topics based on your interests.  Each day you’ll receive up to 10 hours of personalized instruction on the topic while learning new techniques and making your own jewelry. A third day will be open studio time for work and instruction on whatever project you choose…even that challenging one that you can never seem to wrap up!

An alternate option for stay and play would be to choose a metal clay artisan course instead of individual workshops. Note that should you choose this option you may need to add an additional night of lodging for $ 100.00 to accommodate your travel schedule, particularly if you will be visiting from outside of Tucson. Each artisan course will require a full two days (9:00 am - 5:00 pm) of working time.

Student Testimonials

"The Stay and Play experience with Cathy was amazing. Her experience with the Gem Show streamlined the whole process and allowed me to focus only on my needs. I appreciated the way she tailored our studio time for my specific requirements. I learned exactly what I needed to learn. Cathy and Greg were wonderful hosts and showed my some of the best things that Tucson has to offer. Thank you!"

- Kim W., Le Claire, Iowa

"Do not wait! Relax, renew, and revive your inner artistic spirit with Cathy Flesher!  I just completed my second visit where I created a bracelet, two pendants, two beads, a prototype endcap, and a pair of earrings. Cathy is a spectacular, patient, and caring instructor.  I consider her my mentor on my precious metal clay journey.

Your accommodations are 5-Star hotel worthy, and the food is fantastic.  The Zen Garden with pool provides fantastic sunrise and sunset picture taking opportunities. Take a dip in their saltwater pool!  Bird watching is great!  Cathy even scheduled the best massage that I have ever had on their beautiful patio. I will be scheduling more Stay and Play with Clay experiences for sure!!!"

- Vicki W., Colorado Springs, Colorado

"Amazing experience!  I can't wait to do it again.  We worked non-stop but it felt like play! Cathy is an excellent instructor that left me feeling confident and inspired to do more.  She is very patient with just the right amount of hands-on assistance when needed. She also is just an extremely nice person who is now a friend. Thanks again Cathy!"

- Debbie B., Pasadena, California

Sample Workshop Options

Workshop 1: Metal Clay Pendant: Desert Landscape

Learn how to conceptualize, sketch, prepare, and finish a multi-layer one-of-a-kind metal clay desert landscape pendant.  Design front and back using multiple layers of metal clay, molds, textures, syringe, CZs or other stones, and hand-sculpting to create depth. Learn multiple bail  options for your reversible pendant, kiln firing, and final finishing including patina.  Workshop includes 15g of metal clay, metal clay syringe, a stone, and CZs.

Workshop 2: Mixed Media Earrings: Sugar Skull / Dias de la Muerte

These fun earrings are made with metal clay and glass flower and leaf beads. Scratch foam and molds will be used to create your sugar skull design.  Use sterling silver wire to construct your own earwires.  You will learn various metal clay techniques to design, carve, refine, and fire your earrings. Embellish your design using glass beads and assemble all your components. Then, celebrate with some wine!  Workshop includes 10g of metal clay, glass beads and sterling silver wire.

Workshop 3: Molding, Sculpting, and Pasting Organics: An Interactive Experience 

Gain a comprehensive "concept to creation" understanding of making your own organic molds and how they can be used to enhance your jewelry designs.  Roadtrip to the interesting Miniature Museum to get inspired. Afterward, explore and collect some "textures of Tucson" during a short desert hike. Upon return to the studio we'll review the process of making your own molds including sculpting, working with metal clay paste, and kiln burnoff. Walk away with numerous molds and components to use in your future jewelry designs.  Workshop includes two-part molding compound, 15g of metal clay, and admission to the Miniature Museum.  

Workshop 4: Sketch and Create Custom Metal Clay Mounts for Irregular Shaped Objects

Learn how to use metal clay to create customized prong settings to enhance your favorite irregular-shaped pieces including cabochons, fossils, shells, or something else. Draw, measure, cut, and refine your designs before kiln-firing. An often overlooked but critical component to great designs is the process of sketching. Just spending a little time researching and brainstorming will help jump-start your creative process and bring focus to your project.  Learn techniques on how to get started on your sketches, how to then translate a sketch into a real actionable plan, and ultimately execute a custom metal clay mount from your raw sketch.  Workshop includes 15g metal clay, stone, and fine silver wire for prongs. Let's get creative!

Workshop 5: Fun with Soft Soldering: Making Creative Charms

Learn fundamental (and a few more advanced) soldering skills and create inspired keepsake ornaments and jewelry using old china, illustrations, photos, and vintage ephemera. Over the course of a full day we'll cover:

- How to safely use a soldering iron with proper technique.

- How to select proper tools and supplies to enhance your work.

- How to correctly wrap and burnish copper tape around two pieces of glass and china.

- How to attach jump rings and add "bling".

- How to solder dimensional objects under glass.

- How to add textures and details to your designs.

Workshop includes all tools and materials including solder, copper tape, glass, images, and china. Feel free to also bring your own family photos and/or china.


You’ll have complete use of my studio including access to my kiln, torches, tools, and textures. Metal clay and materials needed to complete each workshop is also included as described above. (Extra clay and material can also be purchased separately.)  Once the day has wrapped up you can wind down with a swim and enjoy a cocktail while watching an amazing Arizona sunset or even playing with my two friendly Maine Coon cats.  Available during gem show weeks is an optional guided adventure where I can take you to all the best shows aligned with your interests.

You’ll stay in your own private room (queen-sized bed and private bathroom) at my home studio and enjoy multiple included meals, Wi-Fi, pool, local hiking trails and birdwatching in my neighborhood and Sabino Canyon (five minutes away) and majestic sunset and star viewing from 2,700 foot elevation in the Catalina Foothills. Custom massages also can be scheduled upon request.

Now accepting reservations for Spring and Summer 2024!

All-inclusive packages are $ 895 for 2 full days of workshops and open studio time along with 2 nights of lodging and all meals.* An additional night of lodging plus full workshop day can be added for $ 250 per day. An additional night of lodging only is $ 100.

A $ 250 deposit is required at the time of reservation to hold your selected dates with the remainder of payment due no later than 21 calendar days prior to arrival.  Cancellations after your deposit and/or full payment has been received but more than 21 calendar days prior to arrival will be refunded in full less a $ 35 administrative fee.  Cancellations less than 21 days prior to arrival will not be refunded but a full credit will be issued that can be used within six (6) months of cancellation for any future stay and play, online course, in-person course, or jewelry product available for purchase on this website. 

* Email today for more information and date availability! Once your dates are confirmed you can use the Registration and Payment link in the left frame of this website to pay for your deposit.