Ceramics Studio
Guidelines & Etiquette 

Please find below some important information about the studio and guidelines for its use.

Updated September 2019

Clay Materials Fee

  • The $40 materials fee is for every 25-pound sleeve of 95400 stoneware clay used, and covers the cost of firing. More clay can be purchased if needed through the studio manager, instructor, or monitor. Recycled clay is also offered at the discounted price of $30 dollars for every 25-pound bag. This clay can be used in addition to the clay you will receive for your class should you run out of your initial 95400 stoneware clay. 

  • For students using more than 75 pounds (3 sleeves) of 95400 stoneware clay in one session (typically 6 weeks), a kiln/firing fee of $10 will be added to the cost of each additional 25 pounds of 95400 stoneware clay purchased. 

  • Students may not bring in outside clay unless given explicit authorization by the ceramic studio manager. 

Open Studio

During your enrolled semester in an IS183 ceramics class, you are welcome to use the studio during non-class hours, referred to as Open Studio time. Open Studio time is for finishing up class projects and practicing techniques. We encourage students to take advantage of this opportunity. As IS183 is a learning environment, Open Studio is not available for mass production or work on projects unrelated to your class. The Open Studio schedule will be posted in the studio and online at the beginning of every semester. Please follow the schedule and wait for a class to end before entering the studio for Open Studio time, and make sure that you have cleaned up and are out of the open studio at least 30 minutes prior to the beginning of a class.


General Guidelines

  • Do not handle other people’s work without their permission, especially green and glazed ware. If you break something, please leave a note with the piece.

  • Do not touch kilns, unload them or put things on top of them without permission.

  • Be careful when mixing glazes with the drill, as the blade is sharp.

  • Be sure to clean all of the glaze off of the bottom of your piece. Even if you wax the bottom, you still need to wipe off any glaze that remains on the bottom.

  • Do not help yourself to dry oxides, stains and glaze materials; ask a teacher for assistance.

  • Sanding and grinding must be done outdoors, as it creates an unhealthful dust that travels throughout the studio. Very small sanding jobs can be done over a sink containing a bowl of water, but never at a work table.

  • If using RED clay please use a red only canvas when rolling slabs and working on the canvas tables. The red clay stains easily and that can transfer onto unsuspecting students work. Also when working at the wheels clean up especially well.

  •  Label your work before placing on the bisque cart.

  • Firing schedules will be posted week to week. Be aware that the studio technician loads the kilns as efficiently as possible, and that the size of a piece determines whether it can be included. A long, flat or very tall piece may not get fired right away because of space limitations.

  • End of Session: If you have not registered for another ceramics class for the following term, be sure to leave enough time at the end of the current session for work to be fired before the last class. Wet work should be completed by the second-to-last class, and glazing can be done during the last week of class. Returning students can continue working, but they cannot put any new work on the bisque cart during the final week of the term.

Clean-Up Guidelines

Be responsible for cleaning up after yourself in class and Open Studio. Make sure that you have completed the checklist below before you leave the studio.

  • Work tables with canvas surfaces: Scrape off extra clay and wipe down thoroughly with a large sponge so that no clay remains on the canvas.

  • Wheels: Clean wheels well. Check buckets for sponges, chamois or tools before emptying into the appropriate larger slip bucket. Turn wheel off when not in use. Trimmings or mess on the floor should be mopped / swept up.

  • Wedging Board: Clean clay off with scraper and sponge.

  • Sinks: Use the slop buckets in the sinks for cleaning dirty tools, buckets and hands. Use clean water for final rinse. Do not leave containers, paint brushes, etc. in or on the sinks; return them to their designated locations.

  • Glaze Area: After glazing, wipe down your surface and any drips or spills on the floor. Cover glaze buckets and push under the counter. Wash off stir sticks and return to their container. Wash paint brushes well and return to their container. Return glaze samples to their proper location.

  • Clay Tools: Clean well and replace in marked containers.

  • Small Sponges: Rinse them out, making sure to remove all traces of oxides and glazes, and replace in marked container.

  • Slab Roller: Clean canvas and slab roller of all clay particles and place canvas in designated space to dry out.

  • Ware Boards/Plastic: Put away ware boards and plastic after removing them from your work; do not leave them on class shelves.

Community Studio Etiquette

As a student using the IS183 ceramics studio, you are a part of a community of artists sharing a studio space. It is important for you to be courteous to your fellow artists, so that everyone can work efficiently and undisturbed. Because there are usually a number of people using the studio at one time, please be respectful of those working around you. The following suggestions will make the studio a pleasant and productive space for all who are learning and working there:

  • Keep your voice low when speaking to others, so that it doesn’t distract people who are trying to focus on their work.

  • Be aware of containing your personal workspace; don’t spread out too far, and make room for others.

  • When placing your work on shelves or carts, follow the guidelines below so that others will have space to put their work, as well.

  • Don’t spread your work out across an empty shelf, but place your pieces toward the back of the shelf and close to other pieces.

  • If your piece is flat or short in height, place it on a shelf of corresponding height, instead of on a shelf that is very tall, which should be reserved for taller pieces.

  • Place only clay work on the bisque cart: no ware boards, plastic, newspaper, supports, etc.

  • If you have many large flat or tall pieces to be bisqued or glazed, don’t put them on the carts all at one time; stagger your firings because these pieces take up large areas of the bisque and glaze carts, as well as kiln space, and preclude other students’ work from being processed in a timely manner.

  • Remove bisqued pieces promptly from the shelf next to the kilns and store them on your class shelf if you do not plan to glaze them immediately. This will leave room for the next kiln unloading.