Ceramics Studio

About Our Studio

“Ceramics builds character. It teaches patience, philosophy, and discipline. These characteristics are crucial. The discipline exists within the ordering of your approach. How philosophical you are determines how patient you are going to be with your craft.”

– Helen Jean Taylor, Ceramic Studio Founder

Our non-profit community studio was founded by renowned ceramist Helen Jean Taylor and has been in operation for over 60 years. Our mission is to create a creative, fun, and collaborative environment where students can learn and experiment with clay. Students receive comprehensive instruction along with independent work time to build their knowledge of the ceramic process and techniques.

We have 3 studio spaces, 12 pottery wheels, plenty of table space for hand building, and a wide array of Cone 10 glazes. We also have slab rollers, extruders, a spray booth, two electric bisque kilns, one gas bisque kiln, and two gas kilns for Cone 10 reduction glaze firing.

The Ceramic Art program runs year-round with classes offered for Adults, Teens and Youth. Class curriculum typically includes hand-building, slip work, wheel throwing, and glazing processes. Firing and glazing of pieces produced in the studio are included in the class fee. Class sessions are eight weeks long and fill up fast, so early registration is highly recommended.

Whether you are brand new to ceramics or are an advanced artist we welcome you to get your hands dirty and have some fun!

Programs

Adult Ceramics

Classes are set up in an independent study format, where the instructor is available to help students create their own work. All levels are welcome. However, if you are new to ceramics or would like to review techniques, we encourage you to try out one of our Introduction to Ceramics classes or our Intermediate Wheel Throwing class.

Teen Ceramics

Explore your creative side and learn how to work clay with your hands! Using pinch, coil, slab, and wheel throwing techniques, students will learn how to create pots and small sculptures as well as learn how to paint with slips and use Cone 10 glazes.

Ages 13 – 17

Youth Ceramics

Inspire your child’s imagination with hands-on ceramic classes! Art teaches children that there are multiple approaches to solving problem through a tactile and creative experience. Our Junior Ceramics program includes a wide variety of clay techniques including slab, coil, and basic hand building.

Ages 6 – 12

Preschool Ceramics

Our “Fun with Clay” class is an afterschool program for our Community Center Preschool students. Students use pinch, coil, and slab methods to create pots and small sculptures. Instructors will guide our preschoolers through multiple project ideas from start to finish.

Parent & Me Ceramics

Bring your mommy, daddy, grandma, uncle, or another favorite caregiver to this fun class. From garden sculptures and luminaries to tiles and more, your team will create ceramic art objects together!

CLASSES, LABS and WORKSHOPS

Intro to Ceramics

The Intro to Ceramics class offers an environment for students who want to learn how to create their own ceramic pieces. The class is structured to work with those who are new to ceramics or would like to review basic techniques. Students will receive instruction and guidance on projects and will be shown the basics of both hand building and wheel throwing.

Intermediate Wheel Throwing

The Intermediate Wheel Throwing Class is a curriculum-based class. There will be weekly projects designed to build off our Intro class. All students looking to improve their technical ability on the pottery wheel are welcome to join. This class is designed for students comfortable with the basics of the wheel – proficient at centering, pulling walls, throwing cylinders and bowls- and want to develop their skills further.

Labs

Labs provide supervised time for independent studio work without scheduled demos or programs. Instructors will be present but may not be able to provide instruction during the Lab period. Each Student can choose one Lab time per week with their class registration.

Workshops

Join us for special workshops with guest artists. Past topics have included:

  • Ceramic Faux Bois
  • Ornament making
  • Luster Application & Firing
  • Lamp Making
  • Animal Sculpture
  • Darted Slab
  • Raku Firing

ART HAPPENS HERE
WITH JOHN LITHGOW

We are one of four local arts organizations featured in the PBS program ART HAPPENS HERE WITH JOHN LITHGOW. Celebrating how arts education nurtures and inspires the hearts and minds of students of all ages, the one-hour special follows Lithgow as he tries his hand at singing, dancing, printmaking, and pottery, working alongside and learning from young people whose lives are being transformed by art.

During the segment filmed at The Community Center, Lithgow joined some of our teen ceramics students as he learned how to use the potter’s wheel, decorate, and fire pottery. Taught by CCLCF instructors Azzah Abdus-Shakoor and Geraldy Martinez, he proved a natural at the wheel. Lithgow made several pots during the filming, one of which was Raku fired as a finale to his time at the Community Center.

“Arts education is an anchor that provides a child emotional and social development and a sense of who they are in the world. Through the arts, young people find out who they are and where their imagination will lead them. It happened to me.” – John Lithgow.

 

About Our Founder

Helen Jean Taylor

Renowned ceramist and educator Helen Jean Taylor founded our Ceramic Studio in 1966 and was the Studio Director until her retirement in 2006. Helen Jean Taylor has not only crafted timeless artworks inspired by colors found in home gardens, but also helped her students improve their mental health through the art of throwing.

Known by many as simply “Jean,” she became the subject of a documentary titled, “Life Centered: The Helen Jean Taylor Story,” which first aired on KCET and PBS SoCal as part of its Emmy Award-winning Artbound series in 2021.

Jean’s legacy is embedded in CCLCF, and the spirit of her kindhearted, unsparing teaching continues to live within the center and those that knew her as a mentor and a friend.

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