Class Makeup Policy
Find another class that works for your schedule below. Please choose a class that occurs in your registered location- if you are in a Belmont class please only pick a Belmont make-up class. Same goes for Watertown. It is not necessary to email the studio to notify us of your makeup class. Please aim for a class of similar experience level.
*Important* students participating in a makeup class should be prepared to absorb the planned lesson. Guest students in a makeup class should not be requesting demos or lessons that they would be missing in their registered class. Additionally, guest students should be prepared to sit at a wheel separate from the class if all registered students are attending.
July 3rd - 8th
Sept 11th -16th
8 Week classes may use 45 lbs of clay
10 Week classes may use 55 lbs of clay
12 Week classes may use 65 lbs of clay
Independent Study students may use 25 lbs of clay per month
If you use more than your allotted amount of clay, that is ok! You can pay $2/lb for extra clay.
You may NOT use more than double the amount of allotted clay total.
* Wet clay use ends on at the start of the 2nd to last class of the semester. Students with nothing to work on this class may do handbuilding projects. Settle up your extra clay in your last week of class with a staff member, who will mark you as paid on the ledger.
Clay for handles counts as clay usage, but clay for trimming (under 1 lb) does not.
Clay does not "roll over" between sessions- do your best to use it up before the throwing period ends!
Only Independent Study students may take home clay. They may bring home up to 10 lbs of clay at a time, for use in an in-home studio. This may not be used to "save" clay.
Pieces that measure more than 10.5 inches in height or width incur a firing fee of $10/piece. This is because loading pieces of this size becomes difficult. They take up a lot of space and have to be loaded strategically.
Pieces that measure more than 15 inches in height or width will not be fired. They are simply too big.
To pay the firing fee, you can use a QR code located at the desk by the Square tablet. It will direct you to a page to enter your payment information, and then will print a receipt for you to tape on your pot so staff knows that you've paid the oversize fee.
Students may bring one free guest per month to either pottery studio. This guest may assist the student who hosted them with their pottery e.g. helping carve, decorate or glaze a pot. They may not use the wheels or clay on their own.
Day Pass, $25: Guests may purchase a Day Pass and try out the wheel and handbuilding projects on their own. Guests must be hosted by an active Indigo Fire student. Students may not host more than two guests with Day Passes in a day. Guests may use one Day Pass a month. A Day Pass comes with 2lbs of clay, and then the guest may use their host's clay allotment. A Day Pass lasts until the end of the day. Students are fully responsible for guests they host.
There is no set limit on how many guests students may bring to see the studio, see their work, and just hangout for a bit. Please just be respectful and make sure not to disrupt other students.
Mid-way through the semester and at the end of a semester, the greenware shelves are cleared of forgotten pottery. Bone dry, moldy, clearly forgotten pots are recycled to make way for new pots.
Remember that as long as you get your pottery bisqued, you have two months to come back and finish glazing even if you aren't continuing the next semester. Work in progress pottery must be cleared out however to make space for the new semester.
The Watertown class shelves are cleared of in-progress pottery on the Friday before a new semester. Because teachers have control over the different shelving units in Watertown though, they may use their own judgement to allow students to keep work on the shelves between semesters as long as the boards are clearly labelled. Please put tape directly on the boards for labeling, rather than the plastic.
New Student Orientation
- Joint Studio Processes and Systems -
Classes meet for two hours at the same time every week. Every semester has one makeup week built in at the end. This extra week is often used if a teacher has a conflict or is sick, there is poor weather, or a class lands on a holiday.
Each student is given a clay allotment by weight that is recorded in the studio ledger. The allotment changes depending on the length of the semester. One lb of porcelain is recorded as 1.5 lbs on the tracker, as it is a more expensive clay body. Students may use new clay for pottery until the start of the second to last class. At the start of the second to last class, students should be working on finishing up their in-progress pottery. If a student has no pottery to work on the second to last class, they may handbuild. Unused clay does not roll over to future semesters. Bagging or drying out clay to recycle or reuse is not allowed in either studio. Students are welcome to re-wedge clay in the same sitting to reuse it, but clay should never be stored on the shelves to recycle. The clay allotment that we give students is meant to account for flopped pots and extra clay that gets tossed in the buckets. We prefer to do all the recycling ourselves because we are set up to do so.
As careful as our staff is handling all the pottery we process, some pots inevitably get broken or damaged. There is a shelf in both studios where these pots are placed with a note explaining what happened. Students are welcome to remake the pots with free clay, but there is no other compensation. Pottery is extremely fragile and occasional accidents are unfortunately part of the process. If your pot gets broken, just know that it happens to all potters.
Firing Times and holding policy
In general, it takes one to two weeks to get pots fired from the time you place them on the rolling carts. Pots going in for the first (bisque) firing usually take a bit longer. Every pot that comes out of the kiln, whether it's bisqued or glazed, gets stickered with a date. Indigo Fire holds onto all pottery for two months from the date of that sticker. If a pot stays around beyond that two month window, it may be cleared out.
Class students should store their pottery in any of the class shelves which are in the middle of the studio. The shelves are divided up into a front, middle and back section. Each section has it's own white board tracker associated with it. Students should use the trackers to record and remember where their pottery is stored. Writing your name in a spot on the tracker does not reserve that shelf for you, it's just a way to help keep track of your pottery. If a shelf spot is available, but someone's name is associated with it on the tracker, you should feel free to use that spot, erase that name and write your own name there.
Each class has a corresponding 'class stamp'. Students that choose to stamp their pottery with the class stamp will have the benefit of their pottery getting placed on the appropriate class bisque shelf and class glaze shelf. Stamping your pottery can be particularly helpful for beginners because many of the pots can look similar and it makes it a lot easier to find your pottery.
Unfortunately, we only have enough plaster in the Belmont studio to manage the clay recycle process which means that students should not be laying out their own clay on the plaster.
The Belmont studio does provide hand towels for students to use. Please keep in mind that sponges should be used to clean up clay bits and slip spillage, while towels should be used only to dry your hands when needed. Caked clay in a towel is tough to get out. When you're done with a hand towel, please clean it thoroughly and hang it up on the towel rack.
Each class in Watertown has a shelving unit for their class to share. Teachers are given the freedom to manage their shelves as they want. For example, if space gets tight, a teacher may ask students not to store bisqueware on those shelves. In other instances, if there's plenty of space, teachers may allow students to even store their tools on these shelves.
The Watertown studio has a series of rolling carts that store bisqued pottery, and a group of carts that are for pottery waiting to be fired. The carts will be labelled accordingly. Some carts will be specifically for greenware waiting for bisque firing and some carts will be for glazed pots.
There are 12 plaster slabs available to students for wedging and drying out clay. Please remember that clay should only be dried out to reuse during the same visit. Plaster is a beautiful surface to wedge on and has many benefits compared to canvas. It's important to remember though, that the plaster may dry your clay out during wedging, so if this is undesirable we recommend spraying the plaster down heavily with water.
Indigo Fire Watertown does not supply tools for students. While larger tools like a heat gun, extruder, buckets and sponges are available, we ask that students purchase their own smaller throwing tools. We have a basic throwing set and specialized Mudtools items available for sale in the studio. If you would prefer to purchase tools ahead of time, we suggest searching "basic throwing tools" on Amazon, Dick Blick, or any search engine to get a set appropriate for a beginner. As you grow in your throwing practice you might choose to purchase some higher quality or alternative tools - that's all up to you!
There are three pods of wheels at the Watertown studio. They are labelled 1-3. Pod 3, which is located closest to the entrance door is reserved 100% of the time for independent study students and class students practicing. There will be a schedule posted each semester that shows where each class will meet. Early evening classes that meet between 5-7pm must have their wheels cleaned up for the late evening classes at 7:30pm. If you're in the early evening class and you want to keep throwing after the class ends, you just have to relocate to a wheel in pod 3.
Improper glaze technique often results in objectively negative results. Glaze defects like excessive running, crazing, pin-holing and crawling can happen. In addition to ruining your pottery, many of these defects damage our kiln and kiln furniture. The onus is on you to glaze responsibly.
Analyzing test tiles and choosing a glaze
Look at the test tile and specifically the section of the test tile that matches the glaze you’re using. Do you see crazing, pin-holing or excessive running? If you have a textured pot, you should be looking for glazes that highlight edges. This glaze action is called “breaking”. If you have underglaze decoration on your pot you should be looking at transparent or semi-transparent glazes. If it’s a functional pot then the interior should be a level 1 or 2 food-safe glaze. Drippy glaze combinations should only be used on pots that have a sufficient ledge and foot to catch the glaze. If this is not the case, there are some techniques to safely use a drippy glaze like only dipping the second layer halfway up the pot or brushing it on. Even then, one must be careful.
Basic Glazing Strategy
Wax the bottom of your pot. Forbes wax (pink) is best for this.
Wait at least 10 minutes after waxing. Thoroughly stir your glaze of choice. Using tongs, dunk the pot in glaze for the first dip. Hold the pot over the bucket for 2 seconds. Pull the pot out of the glaze and hold over the bucket long enough for the glaze to run off and mostly stop dripping. Rest pot back on the table.
Wait at least 10 minutes again for the first glaze layer to dry completely. Repeat step 2 which will apply your second layer of glaze if desired.
After your second layer of glaze has dried, you can pick your pot up and use a sponge to clean off the glaze residue on the waxed bottom of the pot.
Tips related to basic glazing strategy
The bottom of your pot should be completely waxed. The wax should go up the size of the pot at least ¼ an inch as well. This can change depending on the glaze combination used and your experience level. Be aware that glaze will never stick anywhere the wax goes and there is no way to remove the wax. Brush it on carefully. We have Forbes wax with alumina mixed in. This is good for pots prone to “plucking”. Plucking mostly happens to large pots and porcelain. This wax + alumina is also useful for waxing lids. The longer you wait after waxing, the better the wax is able to resist the glaze.
A very small amount of settled glaze at the bottom of a bucket is acceptable, but any significant amount means you must stir more. The amount of time you hold your pot in the glaze determines the thickness of the dip. Keep in mind that larger, thicker pots can absorb much more glaze.
If the second layer of the glaze is applied before the first totally dries, it will likely crack and flake off the pot. If you would like to apply a thinner second layer of glaze, try spraying the pot with a bit of water before dipping. If you are choosing a drippy combination, you might try only dipping the top half, or two thirds of your pot in the second glaze.
Experienced students may add a third, “accent” layer of glaze on the rim or top of a pot if they determine it to be safe. Wet or dry glaze on the bottom of a pot can easily be removed with a damp sponge. You can wipe glaze beyond your wax line if desired.
Sponge the waxed portion of the pot well so that it’s completely free of glaze. You may include a sticky note with your pot if it has exposed oxide wash or a safe, stable glaze close to the bottom. Remember that our kiln loaders are trained not to fire pots with glaze too close to the bottom.