Pottery studio Clayroom to expand to SoMa, add woodworking classes

Pottery studio Clayroom to expand to SoMa, add woodworking classesA student makes pottery at Clayroom's original location in Potrero Hill. | Photo: Clayroom/Yelp
Saul Sugarman
Published on February 28, 2020

Potrero Hill's pottery studio, Clayroom, is expanding South of Market — and its new spot will include woodworking in addition to clay.  

Company co-owner Neil Gershgorn told Hoodline that while he could not claim total originality in combining woodwork with pottery, he still hopes the new studio (375 9th St.) will offer a “unique spin.”

“It’s more experimental than our Potrero space,” said Gershgorn, referring to the studio at 1431 17th St. that he co-owns with Ryan McCullen and Kevin Waller.

With two different mediums, Gershgorn said he's interested in how the "blend of those communities come together, and how that ultimately translates in terms of art." 

Clayroom equipment and space under construction at 375 9th St. | Photo: Neil Gershgorn/Clayroom

Pottery studios have been trending in San Francisco of late, with new ones debuting regularly around the city.

Asked about the artform's popularity, Gershgorn pointed toward the “third place” concept used in the creation of Starbucks coffee shops. Essentially, he said, people need another spot to go that’s not home or work.

“What you’re seeing in SF, the third place for people here is climbing studios and pottery studios. It’s areas where people can connect,” Gershgorn said. “People long for this.”

The "double whammy" of both community connection and instruction is “fantastic," he said. “I’ve seen friendships develop between students, between members, and so forth.”

As for woodworking, Gershgorn said he first fell in love with it as a child, at summer camp, and is excited to bring it to more people.

Wheel work at Clayroom's Potrero location. | Photo: Kathy L./Yelp

The new Clayroom studio will offer 20 wheels for throwing clay, and 10 lathes.

Dan Kay and Patrick Anderson will serve as instructors and craft the curriculum for the classes, which run $305 for a six-week course. For more experienced potters, membership runs $525 quarterly, or $925 semi-annually.

The price tag is high because "you have to pay employees here, and rent is not cheap,” Gershgorn said.

But he makes a strong effort to provide venues for members to sell their wares and recoup the cost, as well as offer items they've made to benefit charities like the AIDS Lifecycle and Rocket Dog Rescue.

Inside the new Clayroom space at 375 9th St. | Photo: Neil Gershgorn/Clayroom

“There’s a lot of work that went into creating this space and building this out,” Gershgorn said. “It’s a celebration.”

Clayroom will host a preview night next Saturday, March 7, at 7 p.m., to show off the facilities and demonstrate the equipment. Clayroom's official opening day is set for Monday, March 9. More information on classes is available at the studio's website