Peekskill Clay Studios FAQ’s
Daily Ins and Outs
Do we have regular “open hours”?
No. The studio does not have regular open hours. We are open to the public on Saturday mornings when there is open studio or when we have an exhibition on display in the gallery. Other times we are open by appointment.
When do we have open studio Saturdays?
Open studio Saturdays take place on Saturdays when classes are in session. Occasionally they may extend to the date that follows the end of the session so that students can finish their work. Open studios are monitored by one of our volunteer helpers.
When and how can I pay my monthly fees?
Monthly member fees (shelf rental) should be paid monthly, preferably by the 10th of each month. You can pay by leaving a check in the member’s box or if you prefer to use a credit card, pay online under the MEMBERS tab “for current members only” on our website. www.peekskillclaystudios.com.
When can members work in the studio?
Members have 24 hr. access to the studio 7 days a week. Members may work in whichever space does NOT have a class, workshop or other scheduled activity. There are VERY FEW times during which both spaces are in active use.
What if I need to work during a class time?
We try hard to make sure that one space or another (upstairs or downstairs) is available for member use. If you absolutely MUST work in a space that has a class or workshop you MUST check with the instructor BEFORE the session begins. If the instructor is comfortable with you being there and sharing the space, then it is OK. Please use your best judgment about asking for this appropriately, in other words, don’t put the instructor in an awkward position and accept their decision.
How do I know what is going on in the studio and when?
The studio has two calendars, one on the wall behind the downstairs desk and a digital calendar that can be accessed through “TEAM UP”. If you don’t have access to the digital calendar and you want it, let Judyth Stavans or Jessica Dubin know.
If the studio is closed for a holiday, can I still work?
Yes. Members have 24/7 access to the studio. You may work independently but staff and volunteers may not be around to process clay or glaze, take payments or fire kilns during those times.
What should I do if the garbage is full?
Take it out! We are blessed with a huge dumpster outside our facility. Extra bags are usually in the bottom of the can and if not, the contents can be dumped and the bag given a second chance to fill. Our cans have wheels! The small trash bin downstairs is for food. Please check it regularly if you are around. Extra bags are in the bottom drawer in the downstairs desk if not in the bottom of the bin.
My pots dripped and/or cracked what should I do with them?
After you try to figure out what the issue was, please take heavy “mistake” ware to the outside dumpster. It is not nice for anyone to lift a garbage bag that is laden with heavy clay or discards of any kind.
What should I do when something I need has run out?
Please write down studio needs on the large white board downstairs. There are segments there with different categories for different needs. Be specific. Give your requests at least a week to be filled.
What should I do if a glaze is not the right consistency?
If a glaze is not the correct consistency it should be brought to Jon’s attention. Please do not “water down” glazes or remove water to thicken them without consulting with Jon or perhaps, Jessica. You may “Sideline” a glaze that you believe has a problem by placing it in front of the large wooden table on the far side of the glaze area where dry materials live. Make a note on the white board letting us know you’ve done so AND WHY!
Does the studio provide wax resist, underglazes, underglaze pencils, washes and test tiles for my use?
The answer is both YES and NO. Because PCS is a teaching studio (we have classes that share member space) we have many niceties available in addition to the wide array of glazes, dry materials, slips and clay bodies we supply. These include the above items. That being said, members are encouraged to purchase things they may need and/or use in high quantity. Let it also be noted that if it’s YOURS, you will know when it is running out, what consistency you like it to be, where it is at all times, etc… and others will not use it or mess it up.
Can I make a test glaze or a wash for myself and keep it on my shelf?
Absolutely. As long as you use all the glaze mixing and measuring equipment responsibly, you are welcome to do so. If you do not KNOW how to do this, you will need to schedule a lesson with Jon or Jessica.
When should I log and pay for my firing fees?
As a member, you should keep a page in the Member’s Book to log your firing fees. You have the option of logging your work in as it heads to a bisque, and then a glaze, or doing it once for the full fee. Measure work according to the guidelines and calculate the fees. You can pay when you wish by leaving a check or cash in an envelop in the members box, we suggest once a month depending upon your output. Put a line through the parts of the page that you have paid for so there is no confusion. When your page is full, take it out and keep it for your own record (or toss). Make extra copies of blanks when they look low. DO NOT TAKE THE LAST PAGE. You can use the copy machine by the desk.
Can I expect regular instruction if I am a member?
No. You were accepted as a member precisely because you demonstrated the ability to work independently. Member pricing is offered during each class session if you wish to continue your ceramic education while being a member and occasionally, special workshops for members are scheduled. Certainly the studio is a place for growth and learning and that goes for the entire membership and staff. Hopefully you will find that others in the studio can be wonderful sources of information and inspiration and that is why you are here. Jon and Jessica are happy to share their wealth of experience with you when they can or direct you to resources that can assist you in your quest.
Can I bring my kids or a friend to the studio?
Sure! We welcome guests as long as they abide by studio etiquette and your visit does not disturb any other members while they are working. Use your judgment and behave as you would wish others to.
How do I know when the next firing will be?
The kiln calendar is posted next to the downstairs slab roller. It lists kilns for the studio as STUDIO ^06 for Bisque and STUDIO ^6 for Glaze. The gas kiln gets fired 4-5 times a year. Those are generally announced in advance and work can be placed in the white cabinet next to the other glaze/greenware shelves. Members are encouraged to help load/unload and learn about the firing process.
How long is a firing cycle?
Firings go on a 3-day cycle. One day to load, one to fire and one to cool and be unloaded. We do not write down what TIME of day the kiln will be loaded.
How frequently are studio kilns fired?
There is usually one studio firing per week, either a bisque OR a glaze. Sometimes there are two firings per week contingent upon the demand.
How quickly can I expect to get work through a bisque/glaze cycle?
You should allow TWO WEEKS for work to get through a full cycle of firing. This is assuming that work put on the shelf for bisque is DRY and ready to load. Please refrain from putting really wet work on the greenware shelves.
What do I do if a piece of mine has not been fired and more than two weeks have elapsed?
Speak with Jon Torres. There may be a reason why your work did not make it into the kiln. Check yourself that the piece is thoroughly dry and if glazed, that the bottom has been cleaned with care. Sometimes pieces are left out for one of these two reasons and must wait through another cycle.
Who do I ask if I have a question about firing?
Jon Torres, the Studio Manager, is in charge of loading and firing kilns and keeping the kiln calendar. It can only be accessed here at the studio. It is NOT online.
Can I fire a kiln by myself?
Only members with firing privileges can schedule and fire kilns themselves. Those members have been trained and vetted and practiced under Jon’s supervision before going solo. If you would like to be trained in loading and firing you must schedule a time with Jon. Members who fire on their own are responsible for scheduling, loading, firing, unloading and cleaning shelves themselves. They must sign up for a whole kiln and pay the whole kiln fee. If any damage occurs during a member’s firing, the member is responsible for replacing or repairing the damaged goods or equipment.
Who is employed by PCS? What are they in charge of?
PCS has a very small staff:
- Jon Torres is the Studio Manager. He is employed part-time in that role. Jon is in charge of firing and maintaining the studio electric kilns, maintaining glazes, ordering clay and materials needed to make glaze as well as other basic studio supplies, monitoring reclaim needs, training members on the spray booth and kilns, providing orientation and assigning shelf space to members, communicating needs about repairs and making small repairs when possible and generally making sure that everything runs smoothly IN the studio on a daily basis but he does not work (and is not obligated to do so) every day.
- Jessica Dubin is the Studio Director. She is employed part-time in that role. Jessica takes care of many things behind the scenes such as class registration, communicating with the web designer for publicity needs, putting together gallery exhibitions—both invitational and member driven, organizing workshops and special member and public events, monitoring the studio volunteers and interns, and communicating with members, students, parents. Jessica also handles many phone calls/e-mails and inquiries that come to the studio, whether they relate to classes and workshops, sales or people interested in membership. Jessica also usually spearheads studio firings of the gas kiln and helps to maintain it.
- Francesca Beghe does our accounting. She collects member fees and stays on top of class registration from the payment standpoint. She makes sure that studio bills are paid and pays the staff and the instructors. She is also a co-owner of the studio along with Ben Green.
- Ben Green owns the Hat Factory and The Peekskill Clay Studios. He is really the mastermind behind the business and responsible for setting the whole studio up and building most of what’s in it from scratch. It has grown organically since it opened several years ago. Ben oversees the whole operation. He helps to maintain the facility and can be contacted in an emergency in the event that something critical is broken. Ben monitors all aspects of the studio, its members and its employees.
How about the people who recycle the clay and clean up and mix glazes?
In addition to our staff, PCS has a few (currently 3) members who get shelf space in exchange for being studio helpers. These folks help with clay reclaim, glaze mixing, some studio clean up and general maintenance of the public spaces, also monitoring open studio Saturdays. They work roughly 15 hours per MONTH which is why they are not here all the time or always doing chores when they are. They are monitored by Jon and Jessica and communicate with them regularly. They are your peers and equals, treat them with respect.
Who cleans the floors?
We have a group of people who are in a job-training program through the Keon Center, a group that employs disabled adults. They clean the studio floors roughly once a week, usually on Thursday mornings. They are paid for their time. They are not responsible for cleaning other things.
Who maintains the bathrooms?
We all do! Please clean up after yourself. If the bathroom needs freshening up, you can find spray and paper towels in the upstairs bathroom for your use. The downstairs hallway bathroom is shared with ServPro, so it is sometimes less well maintained. If something really unwholesome is going on, let a staff member know. TP is out? Put it on the white board. Need soap? Pick up an extra for group use next time you are at the store!
Who teaches at PCS?
We currently have several wonderful instructors at PCS.
- Jon Torres teaches adult classes on Monday & Wednesday evenings, Kids classes on Tuesday afternoon and Teen classes on Thursday afternoon.
- Karen Jaimes teaches the Senior Clay class on Monday afternoons and the adult class on Monday evenings with Jon. She also instructs during many of our workshops and birthday parties.
- Sue Clayton teaches a class to children who are homeschooled. This class meets once a week upstairs. It varies between Mondays and Tuesdays.
- Natalia Arbalaez , our newest instructor, teaches the Intermediate/Advanced adult class on Tuesday evenings.
- Jessica Dubin sometimes teaches classes or workshops.
What classes do we currently run at PCS?
- Mondays: Senior Clay, Introduction to Clay, Homeschool Class
- Tuesdays: Kids N’ Clay, Intermediate/Advanced Wheel & Sculpture
- Wednesdays: Wednesday Night Clay (beyond beginner)
- Thursdays: Teen Wheel & Sculpture