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About Little Bird Clay Company

Greetings! Thanks for clicking the "ABOUT" link!  Little Bird Clay Company is more than a pottery studio, a place for you to feel welcome, supported, heard, and of course creative! 

 

About me:

Hi I am Jamie Fitzgerald, owner and instructor. I have been making and teaching pottery for over 25 years! I have taught at the UCONN Community School of the Arts, Farmington Valley Arts Center, and at my own studio! I have been a guest instructor (and tutor, substitute teacher) for several school districts and currently teach kids classes sponsored by the Manchester CT Youth Service Bureau! I am the creator of MYOM (Make Your Own Beer Mug) night which I have hosted at several local breweries! I love laughing, music, the smell of clay, rainy days, and cats! I have degrees in Art, English, and Communications. The studio is a home away from home where I love to create, mingle, chat or just chill out! 

First and foremost, I want everyone to feel supported and welcome. This is really a casual, friendly studio where people make friends easily and build a community. If you would like to check out the studio before registering, give me a call to make an appointment!

 

That said please adhere to the following if you come to class.

 

Please read all studio rules in the terms and conditions section before purchase. 

  • NO OUTSIDE CLAY/GLAZES/or pottery made elsewhere.  

  • Please follow all cleanliness guidelines that are posted in studio. Silica dust is deadly, and there are good reasons for all the cleaning rules posted. This is one of the cleanest studios you will ever see. There is no canvas, or dirty tools in buckets, YOU MUST LEAVE YOUR WORKSPACE AND WHEELS CLEAN thanks! (cleaning is part of making and we will show you how!)

  • Bring your own towels (or purchase here) and apron if you choose and bring items HOME TO WASH BETWEEN CLASSES. Dry clay creates dust. Work wet and clean wet, do not let clay dry on tools, hands, tables, towels, floors etc. Clean up dust, clay lint, clay bits immediately.

  • Arrive on time, class ends on time. 

  • There are no make ups for missed classes.

  • If there is snow or the instructor has to cancel, arrangements will be made to make up the time.

  • Manage your expectations, pottery is hard! I make every effort for you to succeed, but if you are after perfection, this is not the place for you. Things happen, pieces break, glaze fails, on and on. 

  • This is an LGBTQ safe space. Please treat others with respect, and avoid discussions of politics, religion, and personal life or  health issues. The classes go by very quickly, so be sure to focus on the work. 

  • Please no food. You may bring nonalcoholic beverages, please take out what you bring in. 

  • Pottery wheels may be uncomfortable or challenging for those with back or mobility issues, please send us an email if you need assistance. 

  • If you have muscular or back problems, throwing may be a challenge for you, but you are welcome to hand build. 

  • Manage your expectations, relax and follow along with the instruction. Open studio is for returning students only. 

  • DO NOT TOUCH WORK THAT DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU 

  • DO NOT TOUCH WORK ON THE READY TO BE FIRED SHELF (even if it is yours)

  • Dress for the weather.

  • Please leave the studio the way you found it, and clean all materials, tools, wheels, work areas and put everything away.

  • Please do not arrive under the influence as you will be asked to leave. 

  • Please avoid overly strong perfumes, smoke, oils etc.  I am highly allergic to lavender and other scents.  

  • Class guidelines will be handed out at first class. Please follow the guidance of your instructor. We have many years of experience! 

  • PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS! 

Please be sure to read the complete terms and conditions page before purchase. By purchasing, you acknowledge that you have read, understand, and agree to the studio rules and policies. Those who do not follow the policies will be given one warning, and subsequent deviations from the studio rules will result in cancellation of your participation in classes and removal of your work, and personal belongings. No refunds or credits will be given to anyone who is asked to leave. This has never happened by the way, I simply want to ensure the studio stays a safe, positive, fun place for all who attend! 

“That which is not slightly distorted lacks sensible appeal; from which it follows that irregularity—that is to say, the unexpected, surprise and astonishment, are an essential part and characteristic of beauty.”- Charles Baudelaire

If you would like to check out the studio before registering, I am happy to give you a tour, please email me for an appointment. 

Why do you charge for glaze firing and don't just include it in the class fee?

Because our instruction is very personalized, we encourage you to work at your own pace. Some people work faster than others, some take time in their glaze design, and some are just here to relax and are not that concerned with how much work they produce, and for that reason, we charge for what you want to keep, rather than for what you may not even use. 

I want to sell my work, can I use your studio for production?

Sorry we cannot accommodate production pottery and have a limit on the amount of work produced so that we can have a fair amount of kiln access and firing time schedule for everyone. 

Why does everything take so darn long to be "finished?"

Welcome to pottery making! Firstly the creation process is not something that can be rushed. We are always doing a delicate dance with air and water not to mention humidity! To achieve desired results, care and time must be taken when working with clay as it is a fragile, finicky medium to create with. Clay must dry SLOWLY, otherwise all manner of nightmares can happen, cracks, splits, warps, and more! After the clay is TOTALLY dry it can finally go into the kiln for the first of two firings. The first firing is the "bisque" state. Clay is fired to about 2000 degrees which takes a total of about 48 hours including the loading of the kiln, at least 2 hours, the firing at least 8 hours and the cooling before opening another 12-16 hours and then there is the unloading so... factor in sleeping and eating... give it about 2 days. After that comes the "glazing" time where I glaze all the pieces. Depending on what I am glazing and how, this might take another 2 days, and then back into the kiln the pieces go for another firing, this time to about 2200 degrees and yes, another 24 to 48 hours turn around time. 

Why can't you just fire a few things at a time?

For maximum efficiency, the kiln should always be full when fired. 

My pot cracked! What happened?

Well, unfortunately many many things can go awry when working with clay. Sometimes there is a structural issue during creation that doesn't rear its ugly head until firing time. Other times things go haywire inside the kiln that no one can foresee or control. Welcome to the agony of defeat! No matter, just grab a slab or ball of clay and start again. The only way to learn is by making mistakes!

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