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BethMcMillan

Best large community based pottery school

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I am a beginning potter who has had the good fortune to be able to work at a couple wonderful pottery studios where there were lots of open times to work and plenty of space to work in. The very best one  was Mudflat in Somerville, Massachusetts. I am currently living in the north of Denver and have checked out 5-6 local studios and they are as cramped at boats, packed full of students, with very limited hours to work in. I guess I must be claustrophobic. There must be places with an open vibe for the public to have access to without paying to take a college course. I am especially interested in anything the Midwest and Southwest. Please share! Thanks Beth

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I don't know. But a college course is a great option.  It's cheaper than any studio membership I've seen and I've taken several that have open studio pretty much every time slot that there wasn't class.  The tuition included glaze, firings and recycled clay.  Actually really hard to beat for 12 weeks of access, most studios around here (Seattle) are more expensive per month than an entire college course (3 months).  So I guess your mileage may vary, but community colleges have been a great option in my past.

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I agree. Community colleges are usually a great resource. Most community studios will limit your studio time, as well as what you are allowed to do in the studio. Unlike community colleges, they have to make a profit in order to stay open. So more classes and less open studio time are the model. I know this because I own a small one. You'll have a lot more resources available at a college. Community studios, and colleges for that matter, are not necessarily meant to be a long term solution if you want to work at a certain level. They're made for folks who enjoy the social aspect of pottery, and aren't trying to make a lot of money off their work. Maybe a show or two a year, but that's it. It's expected that at some point you'll move beyond what they can offer, and set up your own studio, or rent a private space in a community studio.

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As a generality, I've observed a higher level of consistency and competency among college ceramics courses/instructors, compared to public studio owners/instructors. While many community studios are run by top-flight ceramists,  many are just mediocre and not providing adequate or even correct information/terminology/basic chemistry & techniques.  It's important to  research the background of the place and its staff, as well as the knowing  the policies governing use the studio/equipment, and to observe a few hours of the operation, if possible.   Again, as a generality, educational institutions are less expensive in the long run  for the individual wishing to learn and develop skill.  

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On 11/3/2019 at 6:37 AM, BethMcMillan said:

I am a beginning potter who has had the good fortune to be able to work at a couple wonderful pottery studios where there were lots of open times to work and plenty of space to work in. The very best one  was Mudflat in Somerville, Massachusetts. I am currently living in the north of Denver and have checked out 5-6 local studios and they are as cramped at boats, packed full of students, with very limited hours to work in. I guess I must be claustrophobic. There must be places with an open vibe for the public to have access to without paying to take a college course. I am especially interested in anything the Midwest and Southwest. Please share! Thanks Beth

I agree with all who recommended Community College classes.  It is a great value, you will meet a lot of people at different levels, and hopefully get useful instruction.  If you are in Denver, Colorado, I know for a fact that Colorado has a wonderful community college system.   If you need more recommendations, DM me.

Roberta

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Lots of open studio time at our local JC, opportunity to do some raku, cone 6 and 10 reduction a well; most of the work in in cone 6 oxy. After the first few weeks, there's always available wheels - the instructors are good about allowing them to be used during their classes; there are several kick wheels outside as well, go to!

Be sure to take plenty of time wandering around and (really) looking at everyone's work at least once/week.

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You have enough time to take a look at some community college programs before the January enrollment.   There is a new facility in Wichita  Kansas,  it is called Mark Arts,  I have toured the ceramics department it had a nice and open  feeling.   They have programs in many arts including welding and the culinary arts.   I don't know anything about the open hours they have in the studio.    Wichita has low unemployment  and has a old town area  which is the place to be for young adults.   Wichita has about 300,000 population,  big enough to feel like a big city but still small enough that  it is easy to get around in.    Denice

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