Independent studio members

The COMO campus pottery studio has a long legacy of serving as a community resource to the area's potters. The Studio welcomes all levels of interest, from the beginner to the experienced potter, age three and up.  The primary goal of the Pottery Studio is to encourage individual creative expression. The primary Studio objectives include: providing educational opportunities for personal growth through structured classes and building comradery while sharing an affinity for ceramics.

The COMO Pottery Studio is designed to engage and support both the student and experienced potter who has achieved Independent Studio Member status.  

Non-adherence to any of the studio policies and procedures listed below may result in suspension of studio use without reimbursement of student or Independent fees.

Interested in becoming an Independent Studio Member? Download the COMO Independent Pottery Application.



1. CLAY: All clay must be purchased through the COMO.  Clay charges contribute to glaze and kiln firing expenses.

2. SIGN/LABEL YOUR WORK: All work must be signed.  Unidentified pieces will be held back from firing. In process work must be clearly labeled with potter's name.

3. ABANDONED WORK: Any work (finished or unfinished) unclaimed in the Studio after one month will become the property of the COMO.

4. DO NOT TOUCH: Please only handle your own work to prevent accidental breakage; this includes in process, bisqued or glazed ware.  Work is especially fragile when it is bone dry before bisque firing.

5. BAT USAGE: Please avoid leaving work on throwing bats, instead transfer them to ware boards ( i.e. wood or Sheetrock).  Especially if they are being left in the Studio over a week. This prevents warping, preserves the life of the bats and conserves shelf space.

6. GLAZES: A minimum of 8 glazes will be available at all times.  Do NOT alter glazes (i.e. add water) without permission from the Studio Manager.  Outside glazes can only be used with the studio manager's approval, no exceptions.  Broken shelves due to poor glazing by an Independent Studio Member will be the financial responsibility of that member to buy a replacement shelf.  Student glazing is monitored by the class instructor.

7. KILN USAGE: Kiln firing is for students and enrolled Independent Studio Members only.  Non-paying persons may not use Studio members' clay, studio glazes or space in the kiln.  Firing priority is as follows: Youth students; Adult students; and Studio Members. Loading/unloading of the kiln is prohibited. Only the Studio Manager or designated Instructor is allowed to load and unload the kiln. Technical difficulties sometimes occur during firing; consequently, the outcome of fired work cannot be guaranteed.

8. SINK USAGE: Absolutely no CLAY is to go down the sink drain. Drain excess water in the settling sink first, making sure no clay enters down the overflow pipe. Then pour the clay bits in to the respective reclaim bins. Once all slurry and clay bits are placed in reclaim bins a final rinse can be done using the sink.   


1. CLASSES: Classes begin and end promptly at the appointed times. Please respect the progress of your class by arriving on time or no more than ten minutes early.  The final 20 minutes of each class is spent cleaning the wedging boards, pottery wheels, tables and tools. Please return items to their appropriate locations and leave the Studio cleaner than when you arrived.

2. MISSED CLASSES: A class which is canceled due to inclement weather or instructor unanticipated absence will be rescheduled.  Students will be notified by email regarding any cancellations. There are no make-up classes for individual student absences.

3. STUDIO AVAILABILITY: Students may not use the Studio beyond or outside of class time and bench time. Students may have the option to purchase additional Studio time, referred to as Bench Time. Bench time allows a student to work independently on work, without instructor support, outside of class time. Please note, the Studio Manager and/or instructor present during bench time is there managing other responsibilities and not present to provide direction or support. Bench Time is without instructor support.

4. STUDIO FEES:  New students are required to purchase clay, which is the material fee for the class. The materials fee is for 25 lbs of clay, glazes and firing of work. Students are allowed to purchase one 25 lb bag of clay per class session upon registration or at the beginning of class time.  At the end of the class session students must take home leftover clay, as it can be used for another class. Any clay left behind on the last day of class becomes COMO property and is donated to the Studio. The Studio does not have the space to store clay for students after a class is completed.


Interested in becoming an Independent Studio Member? Download the COMO Independent Pottery Application

CAPACITY: Independents are selected capable potters who work on their own in the Studio, with access to the Studio at a wide variety of times during the week and weekends, when classes and bench time are not in session.  The Studio Manager must approve new applicants. A max enrollment of 20 registered with a waitlist, first come and first served, will be utilized as openings occur in the program.

STUDIO GOALS: The individual must share the same goals and positive spirit that the COMO strives to perform. The COMO Pottery Studio is designed to engage and support both the student and experienced potter as hobbyists, not commercial production.  As a nonprofit organization who subsidizes the operations of the Studio, in order to keep this art form affordable and accessible to the community, production with the intent to sell outside of the COMO umbrella changes the Independent Potter's hobbyist status to licensed vendor.  Licensed vendors, who utilize the studio's resources to generate wares for private sales is cost prohibitive to the COMO; therefore, such production is discouraged.

COMO MEMBERSHIP: Annual Basic COMO membership is required with Independent status. It is the expectation that membership brings a sense of ownership to both the Studio and larger nonprofit, as the organization trusts such members with access to the Studio and larger COMO facility outside of business hours.

FEES: Independent status fee is $180.00 per quarter, due before the first of the month. Please note: New enrollment may begin mid-month by paying the appropriate prorated amount in addition to the three month fee. A completed COMO Billing Options form with credit card on file is required for all Independent Potters who would like to reserve their slot for the next billing cycle. If the Billing Options form is not completed, the next person on the waitlist will be notified of the open slot due to begin the first day of the slot's next billing cycle. Potters may choose auto-billing or cash/check/online billing and may choose to opt out of future billing by providing a two week notice.  

Payments not received by the 27th of the month will be charged using the credit card on file. Those who wish to break out quarterly payments may pay $60 per month; however billing cycles remain in quarterly cycle and not reimbursable if status is terminated within the billing cycle. Independent Potters are responsible for maintaining paid status. Invoices will not be mailed. Should payment not be made by the 27th and a credit card payment is declined by the system, items left in progress and to be fired will be removed to storage.  A storage fee of $10.00 will be invoiced to retrieve stored items. Items will become the property of the COMO after 30 days. The Billing Options form also outlines additional processing fees when payment is not received for services.

CANCELLATION OF INDEPENDENT STATUS: Cancellation of Independent Status must be submitted in writing to the COMO Pottery Email, In order to accommodate those on the Independent status waitlist, quarterly enrollment, at a minimum is required. If automatic monthly payment is selected, all three months are due in full regardless of early termination by the Independent. There is no credit applied to missed months. The three months which constitute the quarter are purchased consecutively. Termination of Independent status, whether for one month or more, automatically opens this Independent slot to those on the waitlist. If the Independent then desires to return at a later date, their name is added to the waitlist. This addresses a pattern of cancelling various months, yet holding that individual’s slot as an Independent which adversely impacts the studio’s budget as well as others waiting for Independent status.

INDEPENDENT WAITLIST: A maximum of 20 Independent slots are available. A lottery will select from the current 2018 waitlist as Independent openings become available. Members require Studio Manager approval and must demonstrate capacity and proficiency to work in the Studio without supervision. Once the 2018 waitlist is exhausted via lottery selection, a first come first served list will be generated as openings become available.

CLASS REQUIREMENTS:  Before consideration, individuals must have taken a minimum of two six-week classes within three (3) years at the COMO Pottery Studio. The individual must show competence in the use of a variety of clay-forming techniques (use of the pottery wheel, hand-building, glazes), must demonstrate a good working knowledge of the Studio (organization, machinery and equipment) and show an ability to carefully maintain the facilities.  In addition, a cooperative and helpful community spirit is a welcome asset. An email expressing intent to pursue independent status should be written to the Studio Manager and Instructor to determine eligibility at The Studio Manager assesses all Independent applicants.

CONTINUING CLASSES:  In order to maintain independence and to show continued capability in the Studio, it is mandatory to enroll and attend one workshop annually at the COMO Studio.  There will be a workshop hosted at the end of each quarter to demonstrate a continued understanding of basic pottery skills which is evaluated by the Studio Manager and Instructor.  If an independent cannot attend, then taking another COMO offered class can be an option. Ask the Studio Manager.

CLAY:  Clay must be purchased through the COMO (at the main office), two (2) bag limit per month.  One bag must also be purchased at least every six months to ensure the clay used works properly with the glazes and to avoid damage to the kiln and others’ work.  

SHELF SPACE: Each Independent will be assigned one (1) cubic foot of shelf space for in process work, bisque ware and tools. The COMO is not responsible for tools left in the studio. Oversized pieces that do not fit on the designated shelf must be approved by the Studio Manager. If work does not fit on the designated shelf it will be removed for storage and $10.00 retrieval fee will be added to the account.

FIRING COSTS: Firing costs are based upon: the size, shape and complexity of the ceramic or pottery piece to be fired; the cost of labor to load and unload the kilns; the commercial cost of electricity; and cost recovery of the kiln. Potters will be given 15 points per month for firing.  Points will roll over to the next month however, may not be used by other potters. Independent Potters will fill out Firing Slips and leave them on the Greenware, to-be-bisqued, shelf with their works. Works with no Firing Slips will not be fired. There will be a sheet posted in the studio that the studio manager will use to keep track of points used and adjust the points accordingly if points have not been listed properly using our new diameter system stated in Point Usage below.  Additional points can be purchased for $5.00/point. For the hobbyist, this model addresses the volume of work to be generated.

POINT USAGE:  There will be a chart and demo pieces in the studio to show value of points per piece.  For example: one (1) point = less than 4” diameter; 2 points = 4” diameter; 3 points = 6” diameter; 5 points = 8” diameter and 7 points = 10+ diameter. Again, this system is designed for the hobbyist, not a commercial production potter.  

STUDIO AVAILABILITY:  Independent members are allowed access to the facilities outside of scheduled class time, 7 days a week 6 am-10 pm. The Studio is closed when the COMO facility is closed due to inclement weather or other incidences that require such a shut down; at these times no access is allowed to the building until the facility is open again to programming.

SIGN-IN:  Independents must sign in and out of the Studio at each visit.   Failure to comply with this security requirement will result in suspension of independent potter status.