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 in addition to three stoneware clay bodies (white, speckled brown, and red). We aspire to offer an inclusive work environment where ideas, creativity, and community are promoted. Working among peers—whether at a beginner or more advanced level—enriches the class experience.

All studio arts classes are in person.

Our Facilities

  • 12 pottery wheels
  • Two electric kilns (fired to cone 6 oxidation)
  • Large work tables
  • Extruder
  • Slab roller
  • Diamond grinding bats
  • Dremel tools
  • Carving tools
  • Brushes
  • Glazes
  • Washes
  • Colored slips
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Meet the Instructors
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.

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.

Anna Shteynberg was born in the former Soviet Union and grew up in Germany. After finishing law school in Cologne, Germany she moved to New York to be with her now husband. First 8 years in NY she worked at a German financial institution. Feeding bored at her job, she started looking for a creative outlet. She moonlighted as an interior designer, welder apprentice and furniture maker. At the start of 2019 she signed up for an evening ceramic class at a local community studio. That class changed her life! She fell instantly in love with clay Currently Anna is working as a ceramist and lighting designer in Powerhouse arts studio in Brooklyn. Her collection of vessels and lighting is influenced by the enthralling beauty of coral reefs.


Isabelle Yaron is a French potter trained the old-fashioned way, with different ceramic artists. She is influenced by ancient ceramics and drawn by the harmony between the form and the mineralization created by the kiln fire. She is fascinated by artifact restoration and archaeology. Her work revolves around simplicity and humility.

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Open Studio Pass

Open Studio Pass holders are advanced students who can work independently. Pass holders have exclusive access to the studio during selected times and are not required to be current ceramics students in order to purchase an Open Studio Pass.

The cost is $250 per month with a 3-month commitment via auto-renewal. If, after 3 months, you wish to cancel your membership, please email studios@mmjccm.org. 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. Each currently enrolled student is entitled to three hours of studio time for the semester in which they are enrolled.

Additional open studio time can be purchased via credit card in the studio. The rate is $4 an hour.

Studio Time for Students:
Tuesdays, 1–3 pm
Thursdays, 1–3 pm
Fridays, 1–4 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 Fees
  • Firing fees are priced by the size of the work and are measured in cubic inches
  • Firing costs 6 cents per cubic inch and includes both bisque and glaze firings
  • The minimum fee per piece is 75 cents. Re-firings are 3 cents per cubic inch
  • Payment is accepted by credit card via Square
  • Only monitors and teachers are responsible for collecting payment
  • A firing receipt with your name on it is required. Items without a receipt will not be fired.
  • You are required to sign the bottom of your work
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Firing Procedures
  • Do not glaze the bottom of the 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
  • Maintain a Dust-Free Environment: Always prioritize keeping the studio free from dust accumulation to ensure a clean and safe workspace.
  • Wet Sanding Requirement: Never sand pieces without the presence of water. Wet sanding is essential to prevent the release of harmful particles into the air.
  • Access to Masks: Masks are available in the studio. Use a mask when needed to protect your respiratory health.
  • Only operate equipment under the supervision of JCC staff if you are unfamiliar with its usage.
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Class Registration

Payment is made on the JCC website (mmjccm.org) or via the box office at 646.505.4444 or boxoffice@mmjccm.org.

Registration covers the entire semester. Please be advised that our policy does not allow for prorating missed classes. In case of unexpected absences, we encourage you to contact us at studios@mmjccm.org for assistance. We will try our best to work with you while maintaining our semester commitment policy.

Students who are currently enrolled in ceramics classes receive priority registration for the new semester of classes before the general public.

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Studio Time For Members
  • Studio time for members requires a three-month commitment.
  • Payment for studio time will be automatically renewed after three months unless canceled by the member. This system is designed to streamline the payment process for your convenience.
  • For any individual schedule-related issues, please reach out to studios@mmjccm.org. Our team will do our best to resolve your concerns.

Member Studio Times:
Monday, 10 am–5 pm
Wednesday, 10 am–6 pm
Saturday, 10 am–4 pm

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Make-Up Classes

We understand that unforeseen circumstances may prevent you from attending your regular class times. With that in mind, we offer each student up to three make-up classes per semester.

  • Please note that make-up classes are subject to availability, and we cannot guarantee space in specific classes.
  • Due to full class capacity, we've restricted make-up classes to accommodate only one person per session.
  • If you sign up for a class and cannot attend, please remove your name from the online sheet so other students can attend that class.
  • Please register for a makeup class that is similar in practice to your original class. For example, if your original class is a wheel class, please register for a make-up wheel class, not a handbuilding class.

These policies aim to ensure fair access to make-up classes for all, while also maintaining smooth operations for participants.


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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 Wheel Throwing
Ceramics: Beginner Wheel Throwing

In Person. In this pottery introductory class, you'll embark on a journey where creativity and craftship intertwine in the timeless magic of making vessels from mud. You'll explore the depths of pottery techniques like wedging, centering, shaping, trimming, and glazing.

Ceramics: Beginner Handbuilding
Ceramics: Beginner Handbuilding

In Person. Explore the fundamentals of creating unique ceramic pieces using various handbuilding techniques. Learn clay preparation, shaping, and surface decoration methods, and create functional and unique art pieces.

Ceramics: Kurinuki Cup + Bowl Workshop
Ceramics: Kurinuki Cup + Bowl Workshop

 In Person. Join us for a three-hour workshop exploring the Japanese art of kurinuki, carving functional pottery from solid clay blocks. Craft cups and bowls with a jagged, organic aesthetic. Choose your glaze colors, applied by instructor Bernadette Daroux post-firing. No pottery wheel is necessary.


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