Thank you all so much for the information! It's all very helpful!
PSC, thanks for the analogy! It makes a lot more sense when you put it that way. You gave me a lot of great things to consider and I will definitely keep them in mind as I try to make a decision. As far as mixing my own glazes and firing the kiln, I'm not sure I'm even remotely close to that point but I'd love to in the future. I bought a book about glazes and I'm slowly reading through it. I'll have to ask about the firing schedules as they aren't listed on their web sites.
Gabby, thank you! That's true. I live in the midwest and I would guess almost everything is cheaper here than on the west coast!
oldlady, that's a great point that I hadn't thought of. It's actually one of the reasons I don't want a studio in my home. At the end of each class we are required to wipe down all of the canvas tables with a wet sponge. The place itself isn't the cleanest but it doesn't seem overly dusty.
Marcia, I don't think there are any extra amenities to the $3/lb. Both places include glaze and fire in their clay pricing.
neilestrick, that's what I was thinking! I was actually planning to call them today to make sure it wasn't a typo but I got stuck at work late. Maybe it's like PSC said and they don't have premeasured chunks (the right word is escaping me at the moment). It sounds like you price things very reasonably.
Callie, thanks for your insight. I like some instruction, but I find I get a bit impatient in my class when the instruction goes on too long. I learn better by doing and by trial and error, so it's more helpful for me to have a brief instruction and then be able to ask questions as I go. I also think I'd prefer a process approach and be technically correct. I'm not really interested in producing for income at this time. Maybe in the future if I ever become really skilled, but for now I just want to make functional pieces for family and friends and exercise some creativity.
Here's a breakdown of the two places I was considering. Sorry, this is a ton of information and a super long post. If you've made it this far and want to comment on it or give any additional advice/suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it. But I totally understand if you don't!
#1 is a small studio that offers a variety of different art classes for all ages. I took my son to a 4-week art class there and liked the vibe.
5 visit pass: $40, limited to studio hours, community shelving
Monthly unlimited pass: $60, limited to studio hours, one shelf
24 hour unlimited access: $110/month (slightly discounted if you pay for 6 or 12 months upfront), 24 hour access, one shelf
Additional shelving available for rent at $8/month, as well as lockers for $10 monthly or $38 for 6 months.
Hours: Tues-Thurs 11am-8 pm, Fri 11am-9 pm, Sat 10 am-9 pm, Sun 12-6 pm.
Clay & Firings: Clay is $3/lb (Standard Brand 306 Brown or 182 White) or $2.50 for reclaimed. Clay cost includes glazes (cone 05-06 & 5-6) and firings. Seasonal Raku firings available for additional fee. No outside clay may be brought into the Studio.
Tools: Basic tools and necessities are available for all Clay Studio users.
Equipment: 4 Brent CXL Wheels, 4 Brent C Wheels, and one Clay Boss electric wheel. Hand building & Sculpting room with large canvas covered work tables with a 23x50 inch North Star Slab Roller. A large cone 5-6 glazing area and 2 L&L Electric and a Kiln Vulcan Electric Kiln.
#2 is where I'm currently taking my class. It is a big community art center that offers tons of different arts and theater programs for all ages and it occupies a former school building. My 8-week class was $125 as a non-resident (I live in a different city about 15 minutes away), it's $115 for city residents. That cost includes 25lb of clay, glazing, and firing, and 4 passes to work in the studio outside of class time.
Open Studio Passes: (10 visits) $30/resident; $60/non-resident. This is the only option, there aren't monthly memberships.
Hours: Mon-Thurs 9am-9pm, Friday 9am-6pm, Saturday 9am-5pm. Studios are open for independent work as long as there isn't a class in session.
Clay & Firings: $20 for 25 lbs or $9 for 25 lbs of recycled clay. Clay purchases include glazes and firing fees.
#182 White Stoneware
#306 Brown Stoneware
#308 Brooklyn Red (cone 6)
B-Mix (cone 10)
Porcelain (cone 10) is available at additional cost.
Cone 10 Reduction firing is available at no additional cost for studio users. Both the electric and reduction kilns may also be rented if you wish to fire projects from your studio at home.
Tools: You must supply your own tools.
Equipment: 13 Brent wheels, 4 Creative Industries wheels, a variety of cone 6 glazes, large spray booth with pneumatic spray gun, 2 small and 1 large Brent slab roller, 3 extruders with assorted dye cuts
They don't mention storage, but lockers are available to rent for $25/6 months. I'll be there Monday for class so I'll get more information about storage and shelving then.
I was originally leaning toward #1 because it's slightly closer to my house and the 24-hour access would be nice. I have a 14 month old son, so I try to keep my "me time" to when he's in bed for the night and I'd like work around my husband's schedule to avoid getting a baby sitter. I also work part-time as a microbiologist and my schedule changes from week to week, so having access at any time would be ideal. However, that $3/lb clay price just seemed really crazy to me and that's what prompted me to post here in the first place.
Again, thank you all. And extra thanks to anyone who made it to the end of this!