Classes, Lectures & Workshops

The learning never stops at Tohono Chul – discover this for yourself in our Classes, Lectures & Workshops!

We’re all about connecting our members and visitors to the amazing world around us, offering them opportunities to make their own discoveries about the nature, art and culture of our region. Read on for our latest listings of classes, lectures and workshops designed to engage and delight!

In order to provide the safest learning environment, our classes and workshops are offered online through Zoom or with limited onsite enrollment. In-person workshops with a maximum enrollment of 12 participants will be held in the larger classroom #1 in the Education Center. Participants will be seated at separate tables 6 feet apart. All participants are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing when not seated. The classroom and tables are thoroughly sanitized prior to each workshop and spray sanitizer/wipes are available during class, as well as hand sanitizer. The doors will be kept open and air continuously circulating. The restrooms in the building are cleaned frequently and there is a water bottle refill station on the porch. Please bring your own paper, pens, pencils for note taking, as none will be provided.

Cancellation Policy

We reserve the right to cancel or postpone an event due to lack of enrollment or other unforeseen circumstances. A full refund will apply. If however, you cancel your registration in a class or lecture (generally priced $6-$20), there is no refund. If you cancel your registration in a hands-on workshop, there is a full refund if your space can be filled.


Cactus Skeleton Vessel

Saturday, March 27 | 9am-4pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $90 Members | $100 General Public

What more intriguing combination than gourds and cactus? In this latest Sue Brogdon workshop, a round gourd vessel features three leaf cutouts enhanced with the inner tissue, “skeleton,” of the prickly pear cactus, outlined with pygmy date palm. Starting with color, students work with dye inks of their choice, then attach the skeleton to the inside of the gourd and couch the edge of the cutout with natural pygmy date palm. To complete the project, a large row of palm is lashed around the rim. During the workshop, instructor will demonstrate how to prepare prickly pear pads for use in art projects and show how to line a gourd with handmade paper. All materials provided – prepped round gourd, inks, sealant, natural pygmy date and cacti skeleton, sinew and needle for lashing. Students should bring plastic or latex gloves, a heat tool if you have one, scissors, a bucket and an old towel as well as a brown bag lunch.


Fruit Tree Pruning

Thursday, April 1 | 10am-12pm | via Zoom | $5 Members and General Public

Whether you nurture your fruit trees for yourself, or you willingly share the bounty with your friendly neighborhood critters, it’s important to provide them the proper care they need. Even if you have just one fruit tree in your yard, you’ll benefit from this class on how to prune so that your trees are as happy and as productive as can be. Join Jason Isenberg, owner/principal designer of REALM and ISA Certified Arborist, as he discusses the particulars, timing and techniques to help you get the most out of your fruit trees. The Zoom link will be emailed to participants a few days before the class.


A “Novel” Project in Silver Clay

Saturday April 10 | 9am-12pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $100 Members | $115 General Public

This mini-book may not land you on the best seller’s list, but your friends will be clamoring at your door for their own personalized copy. Award-winning metal clay artist Lyle Rayfield guides participants through the process of creating and texturizing miniature book covers using silver metal clay, embellishing them with tiny clay elements and filling them with colorful pages or personalized notes or pictures. When complete, you will want to proudly wear your story for all to see. Microscopic particles of pure silver are combined with an organic binder to produce the clay-like substance known as silver metal clay. When fired at high temperatures, the binder burns off and the metal particles fuse into a solid piece of silver. Students will learn the a-b-c’s of working with fine silver metal clay while creating a mini-book inspired by the plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert. Demonstrations and instruction will cover how to properly roll, texture, shape, refine, fire, and finish metal clay creations (no experience necessary). All materials supplied, but please bring a magnifying glass and an apron.


Sustainability Made Simple

Wednesday, April 14 | 10am-12pm | via Zoom | $5 Members and General Public

A thoughtful, ecological approach to landscape design doesn’t mean that style has to take a back seat. Award-winning landscape designer and owner of REALM, Jason Isenberg, demystifies many of the driving tenets of sustainability including water harvesting, organic gardening, permaculture, xeriscaping, smart irrigation, considered plant selection and more. Once you have this insight, you’ll be able to implement strategies to create a landscape custom made for your conscience, your priorities and your aesthetic preferences. The Zoom link will be emailed to participants a few days before the class.


Silver Earrings

Saturday, April 24 | 9am-12pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $100 Members | $115 General Public

Short, long, narrow, wide, casual, dressy…and the list goes on. Earring designs are endless, and with silver clay artist Lyle Rayfield, the process of crafting them is easy. This workshop is all about learning to work with fine silver metal clay to create one or more pairs of earrings that suit your style, your mood, or an upcoming occasion. Make a simple design to hang from an ear wire or go fancy and add a dangle for more bling. Lyle will demonstrate how to properly roll, texture, shape, refine, fire, and finish metal clay creations (no experience necessary). Students will need to bring round-nosed pliers (for attaching ear wires), a magnifying lens and apron, all other materials provided. 


Alcohol Inks with a Wire-wrapped Rock Rim

Saturday, May 8 | 9am-4pm | Ed. Ctr. #1 | $90 Members | $100 General Public

Adirondack alcohol inks (available in over 50 colors), when mixed, blended or washed together create a plethora of vibrant colors. Gourd artist Sue Brogdon demonstrates multiple ways to utilize these bold colors – dripping, outlining, stamping, blended and even used in combination with other products. Students select the technique and hues to color their own gourd before learning how to wire wrap a rock which will be lashed onto a pine needle, pygmy date palm or suede rim treatment. Beads will be available to conceal the drill holes. All materials provided – cleaned and prepped round gourd; alcohol inks; polyurethane finish; dyed pine needles, pygmy date palm and suede; wire for wrapping; agates, jasper, turquoise; wire for lashing; and, beads, if desired. Students should bring plastic or latex gloves, a wire cutter, flat nosed pliers, bucket, an old towel and lunch.


Virtual Travel with Pocket Sketching (as seen on PBS)

April 28, May 1, 5, 8, 12 | 10am-12pm | via Zoom | $150 Members | $175 General Public

We may be faced with COVID restrictions on travel, but artist Kath Macaulay hasn’t let that stop her. Teaching Pocket Sketching Virtual Travel online, she poses the question – why not learn to travel sketch while you’re stuck at home? Re-live your past travels using scrapbook photos or get ready to be totally immersed in your next trip, using photos of where you plan to go when it’s safe! In five 2-hour Zoom sessions learn to sketch anywhere in minutes with Macaulay’s portable, compact technique for sauntering, biking, hiking, sitting in a concert or on an airport layover. Sessions, which include the use of water-soluble pens and added color, contrast and perspective and landscapes and focal points, are recorded and available for two weeks so you can repeat any lesson. Classes are held via Zoom on each of the following days – April 28, May 1, 5, 8, and 12, from 10am to 12pm. During this Zoom event there will be opportunities for social exchange and interactive critique. Cost does not include supplies which can be purchased from Sarnoff Artist Materials (4747 E. Sunrise | 520-795-1229) for $49.