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Instructors

San Francisco Instuctors
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Jamie found clay in 2014 and hasn’t been able to get out of the mud since! She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics from Missouri State University. Her work was previously exhibited internationally at the MenLo Gallery in Jingdezhen, China. Working mostly in clay, she draws inspiration from her family and her beloved chicken family members. Jamie takes nostalgic memories and makes them permanent in clay. Past students have described Jamie as very friendly instructor and "she offered options and alternatives to help figure out their own style."

Instagram: @westermeyerpottery

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Mayetta was born and raised in the Bay Area. She has been creating whimsical ceramic pieces for over 15 years. She has taught wheel throwing and handbuilding for the past few years in Philadelphia at The Clay Studio, Black Hound Clay Studio, and Fleisher Art Memorial. Additionally, she has assisted in ceramics workshops at craft schools such as Penland and Arrowmont. Mayetta's playful work seeks to serve the inner child in everyone. 

Instagram: @djyetta

Jess Garzaro

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Jess Garzaro first found their passion for clay as a young child and has been fascinated by the tactile and hands-on experience that clay provides since. Through exploration of different mediums, her fascination with the three-dimensional has persisted throughout her artistic journey. Possessing a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and Studio Art from San Francisco State University, Jess has developed her artistic practice by combining their playful and practical sides, putting fun in their functional works. Excited to teach others the art and fun of ceramics, Jess utilizes the mindfulness and patience the medium requires to show how meditative clay can be.

Annika Guadiana

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Annika has always loved the arts from a young age. She was born and raised in Fresno, CA. Annika first found her passion for all things clay at the City College of San Francisco. When filling a general education requirement she decided to take Intro to Ceramics and after her first pinch pot she knew she found her passion. Seven years later it never would have crossed her mind that she would be managing a small studio to then running that studio herself. Annika has an extreme passion for teaching and sharing her love for ceramics and the community that comes along with it. Annika’s style is forever changing depending on what is inspiring her at that time. She thoroughly enjoys wheel throwing and adding handbuilt elements to her pieces. At this moment in time, she is diving into the colorful world of Nerikomi. Annika is extremely excited for her new journey at Clayroom and as Annika always says "Live, Laugh, Love."

Chiara Reagan

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San Francisco native Chiara, has always loved dirt. She spent a good amount of time playing in mud puddles, inside and outside of the classroom, before attending the San Francisco Art Institute. There she continued to get her hands dirty, broadening her horizons to various other materials, and was awarded her BFA in sculpture. Now coming back to her muddy roots, she predominantly teaches wheel throwing classes, using her 10+ years of experience to walk her students through the technical aspects of making. She strives to cultivate a fun yet still thoughtful and instructive classroom where students can challenge themselves to find their creative voice through clay — or simply find a space for peace in a constantly moving world.

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Margaret is originally from Tennessee and started working with clay in high school. She grew up loving gardening and working with nature and people. She studied Psychology, Ceramics, and Art Therapy at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC, and worked as a studio assistant at La Meridiana International Ceramics School in Tuscany during her Junior year of college. After graduating in 2020, she spent two years teaching pottery and farming to 7th through 12th graders at a boarding school in Tennessee. Margaret fell in love with California when she apprenticed with a slip casting artist in Sonoma, and decided to make the move out West. She loves learning all kinds of ways to work with clay, but mostly enjoys making functional work on the wheel.

 

Instagram: @mwilsonpottery 

Rigo Bucio

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Rigo is from Mexico and grew up moving all over the US, they have been hand building for 9 years. They earned their Associates Art History degree from East Los Angeles College and fell in love with ceramics after excelling in their first hand building class. In 2018 they graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor's in Art History. During their schooling they practiced and refined their skills in hand building while fully immersed in art. To them ceramics was and still is a healing practice, a way to connect with the earth, themselves and others. Their work tends to focus on identity, sexuality, and movement. 

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Chris was born in Connecticut and moved to San Francisco in 2015 to work as a restaurant chef. After walking by the Clayroom window display, Chris decided to take an Intro to Clay Class, and the rest is history! He was immediately hooked onto the idea of Pottery not necessarily as an art form, but as a Craft. His work centers around the pottery wheel, with a focus on functional pieces to be used in the kitchen and home. Chris is passionate about sharing his knowledge and excitement for clay with new students and gets satisfaction from helping them find methods and techniques that work best for them. When not teaching new students, you can find Chris practicing his teapots!

Instagram: @cmdpottery

Originally from Maryland, Ryan has worked in the world of professional ceramics for over a decade, both in production and education. He has recently taught at Clay By the Bay and The Clay Underground, and has helped to found Clayroom.

Past students have described his teaching style as "very thorough, very patient and extremely nice. The class is very relaxed and there is no pressure to come out with a masterpiece."

Ryan holds a B.F.A. in Ceramics and Printmaking from Frostburg State University.

Instagram: @ryanmccullen

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Jason is a UX Designer by day, but passion for making things led him to woodworking and furniture design. He draws inspiration from Scandinavian and Japanese furniture design and woodworking techniques and enjoy wood turning to relax when furniture projects get too complicated.

Instagram: @jasoncatiis

Barbara Vanderbeck is a San Francisco based artist who remembers being smitten with clay from a very early age. Barbara received her MA in Ceramics from Northern Arizona University and has extensive experience teaching all levels in various institutions. Passionate about the creative process, she delights in sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm with others.

Neil Gershgorn

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Neil's teaching style blends excitement, energy, and mindfulness to help students understand the foundational principles of ceramics and woodworking. His passion is to conquer the initial hurdles and fears and help students feel successful in the studio. Personal attention, catered techniques to help the individual succeed, and having fun with clay is his signature style. 

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Justin is a San Francisco-based designer and furniture maker. He grew up in West Virginia, helping build fences, structures, and homes on the family farm. These formative acts of making blossomed into an obsession with fine furniture woodworking under the mentorship of Elijah Leed in 2012. Justin's work focuses on unexpected forms grounded in a modern Nordic vernacular. In addition to teaching at Clayroom, Justin serves on the core committee of The Chairmaker's Toolbox—an organization seeking to remove systemic barriers to education and community for underrepresented craftspeople. He currently works in tech as a design lead and manager and spends his nights and weekends making useful things at Hunt Projects in Bayview or his little home studio in The Castro.

 

Instagram: @onendstudio

Email: hi@onend.studio 

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Michael began his pottery journey in Buenos Aires, Argentina at a studio called Fango Taller de Alfareria in 2008. He enjoys handbuilding and wheel throwing in addition to using colored clay. He has experience with raku firing, clay making, glaze making, and plaster mold making. Recently he has been building clay fountains. He is the proud father of Cooper the dog!

Instagram: @michaelscottsilver

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Paige Warmington is a San Francisco based artist who received their BA from Stanford University in 2022. While their background is in interdisciplinary art, they developed a love for sculpture and working three-dimensionally. As they create, Paige's art becomes a comforting presence, embracing ambiguity with hope. They treat the act of creating as a means to calm down the noise of life. Moving to the city has caused them to scale down their work (literally), but joining the Clayroom community has allowed them to mix ceramic sculptures with wood in their recent work. Paige is excited to teach both woodworking classes focusing on functional and non-functional projects that still encapsulate their playful art style. 

Matthew Elias

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Hailing from Santa Maria California, Matthew moved to Oakland in 2013 to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at Mill’s College. After graduating, Matthew never used his degree and instead spent the next 9 years startup hopping till finally burning out and returning to something more meaningful – woodworking. Joining Clayroom SF in the fall of 2022, he has spent the last year learning as much as possible to better his craft. At the moment he is diving deeper into the art of finishing though he will be the first to admit that there does seem to be an endless amount to learn. Above all, he enjoys seeing people learn, create, and be inspired.

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Stephanie hails from New Jersey and received a BA in architecture from University of San Francisco. Stephanie has a great passion for both ceramics and woodworking and loves teaching and working in both mediums. Stephanie creates mystical candelabras and functional sculptures. She’s also been soaking up knowledge of glaze chemistry and glaze making during her time at Clayroom. She enjoys answering those tough glazing and sculpture building questions from her students and helping them get to their creative goals.

Instagram: @stephaniemorin

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Zoe grew up in Chicago and began their relationship with clay at the age of three. They began to closely study ceramics ten years ago, beginning with wheel throwing and eventually transitioning into a more sculptural practice. Zoe received their Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2019 with a focus in Ceramics. Under the close instruction of ceramicist Gerit Grimm, Zoe developed a love for figurative sculpture and organic forms. Their work is playful and surreal, and often involves manipulating the material in uncanny and unexpected ways. Zoe has taught both adults and children for many years and their approach to teaching encourages divergent thinking, embracing mistakes, learning by doing, and celebrating one’s inner child.

Instagram: @zoeejackson

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Andrea first took a ceramics class at age 10 and has been at the wheel ever since. During 2020, she was able to throw full-time and started her brand, slow daze ceramics, which has custom ceramic smokeware at its core. She loves the variety of requests she gets for custom pieces and has evolved both her throwing practice and glazing techniques to create unique and personal designs. These days she happily fills her evenings at Clayroom in San Francisco where she works on personal projects, slow daze pieces, and also teaches Next Steps Wheel and Tableware classes. 

Instagram: @slowdaze.ceramics

Alexa Hozouri

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Alexa is originally from San Diego and started working with clay in 2019. She grew up mainly working within 2D mediums but always had a curiosity for clay. She completed her undergrad in Landscape Architecture from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and still practices. Just as with landscape, she loves the process ceramics offers: idea > creation & making a mess > community enjoyment! Alexa loves exploring all avenues of clay creation, but you’ll usually catch her making functional design ware on the wheel.

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Daniel (he/him) was born and raised in the East Bay began his immersion into clay during high school. After high school and completion of the AP studio art program, Daniel became the studio manager for UC Santa Cruz’s student-led pottery studio: the Merrill Pottery Cooperative. During this time Daniel also worked in the ceramics wholesale industry learning the inner workings of kilns, wheels, and all technical aspects of pottery. Daniel’s main artistic focus is functional tableware and formulating beautiful glazes and surface decoration techniques to complement those forms. 

 

Instagram: btselem_ceramics 

San Mateo Instuctors
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Kelsey grew up in Michigan and has been working with clay since high school. She received her BFA from the University of Michigan in ceramics and sculpture and has worked with various materials such as clay, metal, wood, marble, and plaster. She has found a passion for mold making and slip casting and encourages her students to experiment with unique non-ceramic forms and slip design techniques. She strives to push the envelope with her class offerings and incorporate projects that combine various skills and materials.

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Alissa received her BA in Studio Art and Art History from Florida State University. She has apprenticed for artists Sue Tirrell and Julie Guyot, and received fellowships to attend workshops at both Anderson Ranch Arts Center and Penland School of Craft. Originally from southwest Florida, her work has shown both locally and nationally. Alissa completed two terms as a Ceramic Artist in Residence at the Mendocino Art Center in August 2018. She then spent a year teaching and making artwork as a long-term Resident Artist at the Taos Clay Studio in New Mexico. ​After spending five years in New Mexico, Alissa moved to San Francisco, California in 2023.

Instagram: @mittlceramics

Etsy: MittlCeramics

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With an MFA in 3D animation, Bennie transitioned to the world of clay in 2017, bringing a fresh perspective to her ceramic creations. As a passionate artist, Bennie has a deep appreciation for Japanese aesthetics, which includes a focus on simple shapes, unique colors, and textures. Her creative journey led Bennie to craft functional ceramics, specializing in dinnerware and kitchenware, where she continuously explore the endless possibilities of glazes on the simple forms in my work.

Instagram: @be.bennie

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Isabella grew up in Ann Arbor Michigan. She fell in love with clay in 2016 and has been obsessed ever since then. Isabella has a BA concentrating in ceramic sculpture from Alfred University and is currently living and making art in Foster City CA.

Instagram: @isabellacomai

Lisa Azzolino

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Inspired by Mediterranean antiquities, Lisa crafts pottery decorated with scroll carvings, sculpted grapes, vines, and ancient designs. Relief carvings are her current favorite creative projects to explore as she is captivated by the concept of bringing forth life from a slab of clay. In addition to the craft, Lisa is developing an original glaze for the San Mateo studio, & she’s pretty excited about it :)

 

Instagram: @lisa.azzolino.art

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For Loraine, working with clay is a form of meditation - a place where she can be still inside and let whatever comes forth pour into the piece she is making. The idea of building a vessel or object whether it comes from form, function, or both is what challenges her. Loraine says clay has taught her patience and the ability to let go of the outcome. Having the opportunity to teach others and relay her passion has been a joy and she looks forward to continuing her journey as an instructor in San Mateo!

Instagram: @lokopots

David Bruce

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David’s life in clay began with an introductory wheel throwing class right before the pandemic. Fast-forward a couple years without clay…after returning home to the Bay Area in 2022 and witnessing firsthand the profoundly positive effects a regular clay practice was having on his wife’s mental health, he restarted a practice of his own and has been captivated ever since. David loves sharing his passion for clay, introducing others to the craft, and is always looking to learn something new about clay and/or fire!

Karen Laing

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Karen’s journey to pottery may have begun in the tech and nonprofit worlds, but her love affair with clay is anything but virtual. Her years of experience in data analysis and project management allow her to bring a meticulous eye and a passion for innovation to her classes. She loves the technical aspects of ceramics, but encourages her students to unleash their creative spirit. 

Instagram:  @klaing_44

Amy Hoang

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Amy is a lifelong learner and explorer. She started her career as an educator, partnering with families and young children to co-create a play-based curriculum. During the pandemic,  Amy picked up ceramics as a hobby. After nearly 10 years in the field of education, Amy took the plunge to go back to school for a degree in Fine Arts.  Amy is currently teaching ceramics throughout the Bay Area while working on finishing her degree. Teaching and experiencing the wonder of clay alongside others is something that brings Amy lots of joy. Outside of getting muddy, she enjoys rock climbing, practicing her latte art, and crochet! 

Michelle Chae

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Michelle is a Korean-American ceramicist with roots in both the bay area and Los Angeles. Her initial foray into ceramics was in 2017 at a local community center, but it wasn't until 2020 when a little thing called Covid allowed her to really explore and delve deeper into the world of pottery. Little passion projects here and there quickly became a full blown studio obsession, which led to her working with restaurants in the bay area and LA for custom pieces of tableware. When she's not covered in clay, she's most likely playing the guitar, watching comedy shows, surfing or obsessing over any cat. You'll probably hear her around the studio saying nonsense like "let me be your Patrick Swayze".

Instagram: @the.alchaemist

Antoinette Ledford

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Antoinette has been joyously journeying through the world of ceramics for 6 years as a student and member in various studios/community colleges in the Bay Area and Chicago. She works full time as a hospital-based occupational therapist, so clay is squished into all of the free time that she can find. Her ceramic art focuses on playing with shape, surface design, and glaze effects while emphasizing function. Her favorite part of pottery is that there will always be something new to learn and explore, and she’s looking forward to introducing others to this incredible medium! 

Instagram: @mud_musings

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Miki is a functional small batch ceramic artist and best known for her ceramic tea ware. She moved from Chicago 10 years ago and has been teaching and showing her work through various exhibitions and galleries throughout the Bay Area and China. Her teaching style incorporates not only wheel skills but best practices to posture and studio practices. 

 

“Let’s make some beautiful pots!”

Instagram: @mikisr_ceramics

Caroline Yildiz

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Caroline grew up in the mountains of North Carolina on a goat farm. From an early age, she loved playing in the dirt. However, her love of throwing came much later. Largely self-taught, Caroline first began pottery in 2020, setting up a pottery studio in her garage back in Indiana. With her two sisters, she immersed herself in clay and explored a wide range of techniques. After moving to California for graduate school, Caroline gifted her wheel and kiln to her sisters and had to give up pottery temporarily. Thankfully, Clayroom classes became an outlet for ceramics once again and she has been a part of the Clayroom community (both in San Francisco and San Mateo) for the last two years. Caroline loves to push boundaries and challenge herself, and encourages others to do the same. Viewing ceramics as a form of art therapy, Caroline is passionate about helping others discover and explore the wonderful world of clay. Caroline will help you overcome frustrations by letting loose and having fun. 

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Always having a deep appreciation for art and animals, Sachi obtained a minor in Art Studio at UC Davis while also studying to become a veterinarian. Leaving the anxiety and rigors of Veterinary Medicine after a decade of practice, she continued her creative expression using mediums like wool felt for portraits, fondant on cakes, and even sourdough bread sculptures (thank you, pandemic)! With the recent opening of the San Mateo Clayroom location, she is happily settling back into working with clay… If you don’t see her in the studio, you can probably find her snuggling on the couch with her mini Aussie, Henry, or Cheeto, her ginger cat!

Instagram: @sourdoughwithsachi

Rosanne Petrella

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Rosie was born and raised on the peninsula in a large Italian family.  Her first experience with clay was in her backyard digging holes in the dirt, filling it with water and making mud creations. She loved putting her hands and feet in the mud. Kindergarten was her first experience with ceramic hand building but grew in highschool with wheel throwing, hand building and playing with different surface techniques.  The ceramics lab became her happy place. With a child development degree from SFSU, she continued taking pottery classes wherever she could find them and incorporated clay activities in the classroom as well as volunteering her services at her children’s schools. More recently she taught the childrens ceramic class at the Foster City Parks and Recreation Center. Rosie is looking forward to sharing 40 years of love for pottery as a part of The Clayroom team.

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Ilke is originally from Turkey and has a background in Materials Science. She got hooked on working with clay ever since she took my first class in 2014. Ilke enjoys exploring different techniques to make new pieces, and one of her personal favorites has been marbling different colors of clay. She creates both minimalistic/modern style pots, as well as colorful, cheerful ones.

 

Instagram: @ilkestudio

Nancy Gittleman

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Starting her ceramic journey at age 8, Indiana University is where Nancy earned a BA in Ceramics and Art Education. After volunteering with Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa she was a studio assistant and teacher at the Evanston Art Center. Next stop New York City, where she was a studio assistant and teacher at Greenwich House Pottery, worked for Betty Woodman and Henry Street Settlement Visual Arts Center. Once in California, she worked at a clay studio in San Francisco and Foster City. She is a full time art and ceramic teacher in SF public schools when not at Clayroom San Mateo. Nancy’s teaching philosophy is to expose students to as much as possible around ceramics. She enjoys working with people aged 3-105 and especially those that are disabled. Her differentiated teaching approach is student centered and supports students to learn about themselves through experiencing clay and going beyond their comfort zone.

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Lillian is originally from Atlanta and moved out to the bay area for a career in software engineering. She found her love for ceramics at a Try Day class here at Clayroom in 2023 and since then, she has taken several 6 week classes and began teaching at Clayroom in December of 2023. Lillian has dedicated any free time towards ceramics and loves to play with different designs and techniques to spice up her art. Currently, she's working on throwing larger and has a goal of making a ceramic piece as tall as she is one day! When she's not in the studio, you can find her skiing/hiking up in the mountains or traveling to try new foods!

Instagram: @lz_ceramics

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