Already familiar with the Pottery Wheel? Want to do Hand Building? Not looking for guided instruction? Then this program is for you!
Our Independent Study Program is for individuals ages 18+ who know how to throw or hand build and are looking for a place to work. You will get your own shelf to store your work, use of studio tools and decorating materials, and access to our cone 6 glaze selection.
As an independent study student, you may come work any time during studio hours, even if a class is in session.
If you're interested in Independent Study, please fill out this form
Please note that both Belmont & Watertown locations are operating on a waitlist.
$165 a month. There is a $75 initial sign-on fee. This includes 25lbs of clay and all firing and materials. If you do not use all of your clay allotment, it does not roll over to the next month. If you go through your clay allotment, you must pay $2 per pound. Students record their clay use in the studio ledger, which can be found at the clay weighing station. The studio has 5 clay bodies, brown, white stoneware, speckled, and porcelain and recycled clay (mix of all clays). Due to the higher cost of porcelain, please record your per pound use at 1.5lbs in the ledger.
The Belmont studio offers some tools, whereas Watertown students are required to provide their own tools.
Q. Can I bring in my own Clay?
A. No. This is in part due to the risk of firing a clay body at the wrong temperature. More so, it is because classes/independent study etc. are priced out in a way that includes a specific clay allotment. When it comes to producing a piece of pottery, the clay is a small cost in comparison to studio use, kiln firing and glaze materials.
Q. I didn't finish my independent study clay allotment. Does it roll over? Can I store clay on my shelf?
A. No. Clay usage must be used during the month, and you cannot store extra clay on your shelf. You may recycle clay ONLY when you are present in the studio. For example, you may rewedge the same clay you used to make a pot that you are not satisfied with, but you cannot keep lumps of clay/ Ziploc/ containers of trimmings or clay on your shelf
Q. Can I buy cone 6 glazes online or underglazes and use them at the studio?
A. No. We highly regulate our glazes and cannot account for outside commercial glazes. Yes, students are welcome to purchase and use their own underglazes.
Q. What happens if I want to cancel my membership?
A. When you decide to cancel or pause your membership for any period of time, you will need to clear your shelf by the last day of your membership. In order to rejoin the studio, you need to join the waitlist again
Q. What can I store on my shelf?
A. You may store your personal tool, pots in progress. You cannot have any studio tools or Indigo Fire bats on your shelf. Definitely no moldy pots should be on your shelf. No wrapped clay.
Q. What if I wedged few pounds of clay and ran out of time to throw?
A. You may put the clay back in the original bag/ recycle clay bin, and next time you want to throw, you can grab the same amount of clay you marked on the ledger. It is good to write notes to self for reminders.
Q. Are students allowed to make many small pots/sculptures, like beads for example?
A. While we don't have a limit on how small a pot can be, we ask that students don't put many small objects through the kiln. It's difficult to fire and keep track of many small pieces. Custom beads in small numbers are fine. We don't have bead racks so the bead must sit safely on one side that is glaze-free.
Q. Is there a limit on how large pots can be?
A. Yes, any student firing a pot that is larger than 10.5" in height or diameter must pay a $10 firing fee per pot. Pots may not be larger than 15". 10.5"+ pots need to have oversize paid receipt to be fired. We are a learning studio and simply don't have the kiln capacity to process large pots.
Q. I can't find my pot on the shelf. Does that mean it exploded in the kiln?
A. Almost certainly not. We are not perfect, and pottery is very fragile. Pots do break periodically due to mishandling or improper firing. When this happens, we try very hard to find the maker of the pot and let them know. If we can't, we will put the broken pieces out on the shelf. In 90% of cases when students can't find their pot it is either still being fired or is hiding among the rest of the pottery.
Q. My leather hard pottery isn't where I left it on the shelves. Did someone move it?
A. If anyone were to move the pottery it would be Ned or the studio staff. We've never found a case of a student moving another student's pottery. The majority of the time that a wet/leather hard pot is lost, it is hiding on another shelf that the maker forgot about. There are many shelves here and they all look the same! Make sure to take notes about where you store your pottery and how many pots you've made.
Q. If the studio broke or damaged one of my pots, do I get compensated?
A. In this scenario, we always invite the student to remake the pot with free clay. There is not any further compensation. It's a low feeling whenever a piece of pottery is broken. It's easy to get attached to pottery, especially for folks learning. Pottery is a particularly brutal, unforgiving art and loss is unfortunately part of the process. Please know that 1) we feel bad 2) we're doing our best 3) we're always trying to improve.
Q. I did two dips of a glaze that the board doesn't specifically say is drippy. It ran on the kiln shelf, made a mess and ruined my pot. Is this my fault?
A. Mostly. This is a hard answer for students to receive. When we mix glaze, we calibrate it to a specific density that we try to maintain. As glazes get heavily used, this density changes. Some glazes can be moody and less reliable than others. There are times when glazes are significantly off and students can't reasonably glaze their piece safely. These times are very rare though.
In general students should be glazing in a way that is heavily erring on the side of caution. A 10% risk that your glaze might run off the pot is not one that you should take. There are many ways of making beautiful glaze colors and combinations that are not risky. Students should slowly test out drippier glazes and use them in bolder ways as they grow more comfortable with how the glaze behaves.
Q. How long after my independent study ends can my work remain on my shelf?
A. About one week. If your pottery is there, we may recycle it.
Q. I'm used to throwing all pottery on bats. Is this alright at Indigo Fire?
A. We have bats available here, although they're primarily for folks who are throwing plates or large pots that might be difficult to take of the wheel. In general, we ask that students learn to throw mugs, bowls, jars, vases etc. without a bat.
Q. Can I bring my hair dryer in to dry out pottery?
A. No, hair dryers are loud and blow a lot of dust around the studio. We have a quiet heat gun that is available for specific scenarios. It should not be used as a regular method to dry leather hard pots or glaze.
Q. I did this raku workshop where we stuffed our pots with saw dust and soda wads, then we wrapped the outside with copper wire and lithium soaked hay. The results were awesome. Any of that stuff allowed here?
A. Unfortunately not. While we allow students to fire the remains of a leaf that they pressed into the clay, or some stray newspaper, we don't fire combustibles or materials that produce heavy flashing.
Q. My glazed pot didn't come out the way I expected. I'm pretty sure that it will look better if I add some more glaze and refire. Is that allowed?
A. Yes you can refire your pot for re-bisque or glaze refire for a fee of $5
Q. I need to pause my independent study, what is next?
A. You can pause your membership for $25 rejoin fee. You need to refill the waitlist form and expect to hear from us when we have a spot.
The studio is quiet during weekday mornings. We offer a bright and spacious space in which to work. If you would like to sign up for Independent Study come in and we'll get you set up and give you a tour of the studio!
If you have any questions, send us an email email@example.com
or call at
Belmont phone: 617-489-2730
Watertown phone: 617-393-0051