Pottery Wheel and Ceramics Classes + Open Studio

Clay Wheel

Our ceramics studio offers some of the best facilities for pottery wheel and ceramics classes on the Upper West Side. Our studios are very spacious, with high ceilings, and we offer a variety of glazes, as well as both clay and porcelain, which sets us apart. We strive to offer an inviting work environment where ideas, creativity, and laughs are shared. Working among peers—whether at a beginner or more advanced level—enriches the class experience. All studio arts classes are in person.

Our Facilities

  • Brand-new equipment
  • Four large work tables
  • Slab roller
  • Nine pottery wheels
  • Two electric kilns (fired to cone 6 oxidation, using a white stoneware clay body)
  • Other clay bodies are available for advanced students—selection will be at the discretion of the studio director and may change per term.
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Meet the Instructors
Armando Cortez

Armando Guadalupe Cortés is an artist born in Mexico, raised in Los Angeles, and currently based in Brooklyn. He received his MFA degree from the Yale School of Art in 2021, and most recently taught at the University of Texas at Austin before moving to Brooklyn. His work ranges from installation and performance to small objects and often incorporates raw and fired clay.

Bernadette Daroux

Bernadette (Bernie) Daroux is a well-rounded ceramic artist who has been working with clay for the past 15 years. She graduated from the Pratt Institute with a degree in sculpture, after graduating from the Interlochen Arts Academy with an emphasis in fine arts. Since moving to New York, she has worked as a ceramic technician at Pratt; an in-house designer, fabricator, and mold maker for Joya Studio; an art assistant and fabricator for Daniel Arsham; and a handbuilding and throwing instructor for Yaro Studios. She has been making and selling her own slipcast, thrown, and handbuilt work since 2016, and loves clay because it is about endless learning and problem solving. Teaching has become a very important part of her practice because there is nothing more fulfilling than helping people find the joy, curiosity, creativity, and peace that is central to the medium of clay.

Anya Marfin

Anya Marfin is a local artist and designer who graduated from Parsons School of Design with BFA in product design. Anya deeply enjoys working with children to explore creativity at a young age and providing a loving, artistic space where art can be used as a language for expression. As a ceramics instructor, Anya brings not only her expertise in ceramics, but also her unwavering enthusiasm and nurturing approach. Under her guidance, children embark on an exciting journey of self-discovery, learn valuable artistic techniques, and develop a lifelong love for ceramics.

Anne Davis Mulford

Anne Davis Mulford has been a JCC teaching artist since 2014. She earned a degree in ceramics and art education from the University of Arizona, Tucson; and a master’s in ceramics and critical theory from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her provocative ceramic sculptures and installations have been exhibited both nationally and internationally, and are included in numerous public and private collections. Anne has more than 35 years experience in teaching, fundraising, political activism/community organizing, and even had a short stint as a Las Vegas showgirl. She also teaches at Queens College.

Ava McNamee

Ava McNamee, teacher and studio manager, has been working in clay for over 20 years and has taught at the JCC for more than six years. She brings a whimsical and gentle approach to clay and her classes, empowering her students to believe in themselves from day one. She studied sculpture at The Art Students League and became interested in ceramics while living in Arizona and New Mexico, where she studied at the Sedona Art Center and Coyote Clay & Color. Ava’s work is mostly handbuilt, with extruded forms that she transforms into whimsical lamps.

Amy Schnitzer

Amy Schnitzer rediscovered pottery in 2010 upon making a career change and taking a six-month work hiatus. The studio community embraced her and clay became a new and exciting medium to work with. Amy prefers to fire her work using gas reduction, salt, and wood, due to the rich colors and textures and unexpected results. She works with multiple clays at any given time because they produce vastly different results. She focuses on form, which is key to her functional pottery, since handles need to be comfortable, lids need to fit, and bowls and plates need to stack. Her favorite works include sets and items that have multiple parts and pieces.

Josh Schutz

Josh Schutz is a figurative ceramic sculptor and potter. Born in La Crosse, Wisconsin, he earned a bachelor’s degree in art history and master’s in ceramics from Minnesota State University, and an MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.

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Firing Fees

Students can purchase firing fees from their instructor or studio monitor (payment accepted by credit card).

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Open Studio Pass

Open Studio Pass holders are advanced students (not necessarily currently enrolled in a class and approved by the studio manager) that can work independently. They will have exclusive access to the studio during certain times.

The cost is $250 per month with a 3-month commitment. Registration includes a private locker; you must provide your own lock. Open Studio Pass does not include firing fees.

Open Studio Pass Hours:
Mondays, 10 am–5 pm
Wednesdays, 10 am–6 pm
Saturdays, 10 am–4 pm

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Studio Time for Students

The JCC Ceramics Studio offers open studio time for students when classes are not scheduled in the space. Currently enrolled students receive three hours of studio credit for the season in which they are enrolled, and additional open studio time credits can be purchased from their instructor or studio monitor (payment accepted by credit card). Credit expires at the end of each season.

Studio Time for Students Hours:
Thursdays, 1–3 pm and 6–9 pm
Sundays, 5:30–8:30 pm

Studio Policies + Guidelines

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Locker rentals are $20/semester for JCC members and $30/semester for the public. Between semesters, locker rentals are $10/month. Lockers are free for Open Studio Pass students. When you arrive to class, your instructor will help you rent a locker. A limited number of lockers are available.

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Clay + Glaze
  • White stoneware and brown speckle clay are available for all students to use, and are included in class fees.
  • Clay should be recycled in the appropriate bins, and clay should be checked for tools and sponges before adding to the bucket.
  • All glazes are food safe unless otherwise noted. Unglazed washes and slips are not food safe.
  • Do not thin glazes—ask instructor for assistance.
  • Students must be prepared to recycle special order clay on their own; otherwise, it will be recycled into the studio reclaim clay for all to use.
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Firing Procedures
  • Firing fees are priced by the size of the work, measured by cubic inch. Firing costs 6¢ per cubic inch per piece, and includes both the bisque and glaze firings. Students can purchase firing fees from their instructor or studio monitor (payment accepted by credit card).
  • There is a 75¢ minimum fee per piece. Re-firings are 5¢ per cubic inch.
  • A firing slip with a name is required in order to have work fired. Items without one will not be fired.
  • Sign the bottom of work.
  • Do not glaze the bottom of work and make sure to clean the bottom with a wet sponge. Works with glaze on the bottom will not be fired and will be placed on special shelves in the kiln room.
  • Do not let work pile up on shelves.
  • Do not handle or touch the work of others. If you damage another student’s work, leave a note.
  • Works must be measured by the instructor and paid for prior to firing.
  • Always bisque work before you glaze fire.
  • Place work on appropriate, labeled shelves in kiln room to be bisque-fired or glaze-fired.
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Studio Clean-up
  • Leave the studio cleaner than you found it.
  • Classes and open studio participants are responsible for leaving the studio clean at the end of the session.
  • Minimize dust; clean up with a wet sponge.
  • Rinse out sponges when done using them.
  • Potter’s wheels should be shut off, cleaned, and splash pans should be washed and returned.
  • Clean up spills as they happen.
  • Make sure fans are turned off.
  • Make sure personal tools are cleaned and stored on shelves.
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Studio Safety
  • Minimize dust by using a wet sponge to clean up dried or spilled glaze.
  • Wear an apron (available in front bin) while working and wash hands when leaving the studio.
  • Stretch arms and shoulders before and after working at the pottery wheel.
  • Minimize dust, clean dried clay or glaze on the skin using water rather than dusting off.
  • Never place anything on kiln lids.
  • Do not use equipment that you do not know how to use unless supervised by knowledgeable JCC staff.


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Ceramics Classes

Ceramics: Mixed Level Wheel Throwing
Ceramics: Mixed Level Wheel Throwing

In Person. In this pottery class, students will learn and/or hone their wheel throwing abilities—from the basics of wedging clay, center, pulling, and trimming to more advanced techniques of throwing off the hump, making multiples, and attaching and fitting pieces together.

Ceramics: Beginner Handbuilding
Ceramics: Beginner Handbuilding

In Person. This introduction to handbuilding is an opportunity for students to work with clay as an art medium. Each student will become familiar with basic methods of construction, decoration, vocabulary, and tools.


Help us continue to ensure accessible programming for everyone. Please support the Arts at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan.