San Francisco

Pottery studio 'Hickory Clay' brings ceramics and community to the Mission

At the beginning of October, Ashley Hinton and Daniel Karvasales debuted their new pottery studio, Hickory Clay, in a warehouse space at 2710 16th St. (at Harrison).

Trained as an architect, Hinton says she got into pottery as a way of getting creative and using her hands, a welcome change from her computer-heavy day job. 

She and Karvasales initially worked on pottery at Ruby's Clay Studio in Noe Valley and another space in Russian Hill before deciding they wanted to create their own community space. They eventually found the space on 16th Street, a former artists' studio, which took about three months to fix up.

Hinton says the neighborhood is growing, citing the presence of nearby Tartine Manufactory and Gus's Community Market, as well as the forthcoming bar Jolene's, located right next door. 

"Pottery has become very popular," Karvasales told Hoodline. "The neighborhood is ready for this."

The 2,500-square-foot studio features exposed redwood beams and rafters and birch plywood shelving and tables, some of which were constructed by Hinton and Karvasales themselves.

The main loft features 18 pottery wheels for throwing, while a glazing area is located upstairs. Hickory curates its own glazes, according to Hinton, mixing them in-house in colors like matte black, satin olive or satin white; clay comes from a supply store in Richmond.

Hickory Clay currently offers two four-week beginner classes taught by Karvasales. Beginning in January, eight-week beginner and intermediate classes will be offered as well.

Each class meets for two and a half hours, with beginning students learning the basics of preparing, centering, throwing, and trimming the clay. After pieces are fired, Karvasales teaches basic glazing techniques, like dipping and painting.

Intermediate students receive instruction in how to create nested and graduated sets, and replicating identical forms. 

The space also hosts some specialty classes, including a pair of Valentine's Day workshops for kids aged five and up. For more advanced students, a January session will focus on how to work with colored clay. Karvasales hopes to invite other artists to host workshops in the future as well.

Experienced pottery makers can also get a membership to the studio for $185 per month, which includes a dedicated cubby for clay and tools. 

Some members spend time at the space every day, Hinton said, noting that members come from a diverse background looking for a community and to share their craft with others.

Hickory Clay is open Monday to Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on weekends from 12 to 6 p.m.

For those interested in a trial run before committing to a multi-class package, Hickory is hosting a one-night "try out the pottery wheel" class on January 12, which teaches the basics of centering clay to create a bowl. Admission is $70.

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