ARC art professor Rodney Mott set to host WorldStoke before retiring in 2022

Founder of Penryn Workshop, host of Worldstoke, Rodney Mott, is an accomplished professor and mentor


Rodney Mott, American River College Adjunct Art professor, pictured on the right, with Ray Gonzales on the left, has dedicated his life to teaching and creativity. (Photo by Diana Martinez)

Diana Martinez, Staff Writer

American River College adjunct professor, Rodney Mott, has dedicated his life to teaching and creativity. He has taught art in multiple mediums such as clay, painting, drawing, sculpturing and more in the Sacramento region for nearly 30 years, mostly in the Los Rios Community College District. 

Mott says his first venture into art was a pottery class as a freshman in high school when he was living on the East Coast. His passion for clay continued throughout his education, while he was majoring in English at Penn State and, later, as he received his MFA from Claremont College.

 He is also the founder and director of the Penryn workshop, established in 1992. The workshop program has hosted many well-known artists facilitating hands-on clay and wood firing for over 30 years. 

 On March 11-14 the Penryn Workshop will host WorldStoke, a collaboration of ARC art students, artists, friends, and clay enthusiasts. It’s an international symposium of wood firing, artist demonstrations, and discussions to address social inequities in ceramic art.

The event will include wood and raku firings, hands-on clay workshops. Over 50 students were given scholarships to attend the event thanks to Penryn Workshop. 

Devin Walker, a student from Mott’s spring 2021 class, made a presentation about artist Emory Douglas. That seed of knowledge led Mott to contact Emory Douglas who accepted the invitation to be the lead presenter during WorldStoke. 

Emory will be speaking to a live audience at ARC and live-streamed to the Blue Goose Event Center in Loomis. 

One of Mott’s students invited special guest Sara Rahmani to class. Rahmani is a 25-year-old painter and engineering student from Afghanistan who recently moved to Sacramento. 

“Rahmani’s paintings depict some of the current events in Afghanistan, which had just gone viral on social media,” Mott said. “Sara Rahmani’s brave presentation to our class inspired all of us.”

There will also be a fundraiser for the California Food Bank.  Empty Bowls/Empty Goblets is a regional organization that will raise money for the California Food Bank during WorldStoke.

“Professor Mott’s class was something I looked forward to during the pandemic as an opportunity to interact and connect,” said Nathaniel Rescostudio, an ARC student. 

Recently, Mott’s students organized an event, Clay Day, which was held outside the State Capitol. East Bay Clay and the Penryn Workshop donated over 2,000 pounds of clay for the public to play with.

The event was a challenge to organize given the limitations of COVID restrictions but it was a success bringing all cultures together.
“I have been so lucky for the opportunity to teach at ARC, the multicultural nature of our student body has taught me more than I could ever teach,” Mott said.  “I have learned more from my students online than any of my previous classes.”

Mott says he is excited to return to the clay studio next semester as it will be his final class. He will be retiring and moving the Penryn Workshop to France to pursue his passion for art in the spring of 2022.

 “Creativity is the opportunity for one to believe in themselves,” Mott said.  “A major in art is a major in oneself. With art we will find the equity we seek.”  

Students interested in attending WorldStoke March 11- 14, 2022, or Rodney Mott can go to to learn more.