While art and craft has always played a large part in my life, my interest in ceramics didn’t develop until late in high school. That was when I first had access to a studio and was able to spend blissful hours after classes, absorbed in clay and insipid 80’s rock, until the janitors had to kick me out at five so they could lock up.
I went on to study ceramics at the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating with a BFA in 1990.
Settling in Western Massachusetts soon after that, I found employment at a small clay supplier and began developing my own line of ceramics, officially starting Zyra Clay Studio in 2002.
The work has changed a bit since then, becoming brighter and more consistent as I experimented with glazes and refined my throwing style.
The next chapter of my story is to share what I know with other aspiring potters in hopes they will find the same joy in clay and glazes that I do.
My goal at Northampton Pottery is not only to encourage a rewarding experience in clay for people of all ages and abilities, but to cultivate an atmosphere of relaxation and creativity. I actively work to make Northampton Pottery a place where people can come to decompress and spend a little time in Lala Land with other friendly people doing the same thing.
I offer classes for adults and for teens (10 years and older).
The teen classes are largely self directed with me there to instruct, suggest, facilitate and encourage. Many of my kids also make use of the handbuilding facilities at NohoPo.
The adult classes are a bit more structured, at least for the people new to pottery. If that's you, be advised that the first 3 classes are the most important to attend, I start (after the tour and overview) with throwing bowls; a form most likely to meet with success. The ambition is to be getting a feel for the process and to produce 3 or 4 bowls on which to learn the next step.
The second class covers trimming (the finishing of the bottoms of the bowls), and a more vertical form; generally mugs.
Class 3 is quite busy. We'll trim those mugs, learn about attaching handles and also go through the glaze process on the bowls from
After that, we'll go wherever you please; plates, vases, minis off the hump, lidded forms, all is possible. It's up to you- as I tell my students, it's 10 % instruction, 90% practice!
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