As a kid I remember a feeling of great happiness and anticipation whenever a craft project was introduced at school; the paper sculpture of the Santa Maria, the trace-your-hand turkey picture, the ever-popular macaroni mosaic.
You know what I’m talking about.
In my mind, all of it was just THE BESTEST! It was evident that art and craft would be playing a role in whatever I did with my life.
My interest in ceramics didn’t develop until late in high school when I 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 the studio.
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 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 have 3 or 4 bowls produced for learning the next steps.
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 class 1.
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!