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A woman’s hands molding raw clay into a rimmed pot on a pottery wheel. Bluestone Pottery

Get your hands dirty at these SF ceramic studios

From throwing to glazing, you’ll learn everything you need to know at one of these studios

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If the San Francisco ceramics boom has you curious about experimenting with clay, here’s a directory of the city’s studios, along with a quickie glossary to help you get started.

  • Bisqueware: A clay piece that has been fired once to a (relatively) low temperature.
  • Cone (or ∆): Clay and glazes will react differently depending on the temperature inside a kiln; cones are a standardized measure of heat for firings.
  • Clay body: There are many types of clay, and each has different characteristics like color—from white porcelain to black cassius basaltic—composition, and plasticity.
  • Firing: Exposing clay to extreme heat in a kiln. Ceramic pieces require two firings.
  • Glaze: A liquid that transforms into a hard, glass-like surface when fired in a kiln. Every glaze is composed of silica, alumina, and flux.
  • Greenware: A clay piece that is unfired.
  • Handbuilding: The name sounds pretty self-explanatory—building with your hands—but includes techniques like coil building, pinch pots, hard- and soft-slab, and more.
  • Kiln: A custom oven for firing clay (greenware and bisqueware).
  • Throwing: The act of using a wheel to shape clay.
  • Wheel: A machine that features a flat, spinning disc; it’s used to create symmetrical vessels and ceramic pieces.

Following are a list of clay studios in the city you should check out.

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1. Clay by the Bay

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1616 Pacific Ave
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 416-6475
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Neighborhood: Nob Hill

Classes offered: Intro to Pottery Wheel and Clay; Wheel and Surface; Handmade Materials: Hand Forms and Critique; Form, Function, Wheel, and Critique

Membership options: see site

Open studio hours: see site

Follow: @claybythebaysf

2. SMAart Gallery And Studio

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1045 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 962-7877
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Established: 2012

Neighborhood: Lower Nob Hill (Tendernob)

Classes offered: Wheel, handbuilding, and sculpture classes as single-day workshops, or in a series of four, six, or eight sessions

Membership options: Flexible commitments of one year, three months, one month, two week, or single day

Open studio hours: Members get 24 hour access to the studio. Student drop-in is Wednesday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The nitty gritty: 20 wheels; eight clay bodies; in-house, studio, and raku glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆6

Contact: Steve Allen (owner); steve@smaartstudio.com 

Follow: @smaartgallery 

3. Clay and Wine at the Jewish Community Center of SF

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3200 California St
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 292-1200
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Established: 1980s

Neighborhood: Laurel Heights

Classes offered: Clay and Wine (handbuilding); wheel

Membership options: No

Open studio hours: See instructor

The nitty gritty: Ten wheels; one clay body; commercial glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆5/∆6

Contact: Joshua Margolis (instructor)

Follow: @clayandwine

4. Mel Rice Ceramica

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6138 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 941-7975
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Established: 2017

Neighborhood: Outer Richmond

Classes offered: Wheel throwing and handbuilding

Membership options: Yes

The nitty gritty: 4-plus clay bodies; in-house glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆6

Contact: Mel Rice (owner), melriceceramica@gmail.com

Follow: @melriceceramica

5. Bluestone Pottery

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3425 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 568-1998
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Established: 2018

Neighborhood: Outer Richmond

Classes offered: Weekly beginner wheel sessions for beginners; handbuilding classes start in the fall; single session wheel workshops; single session Friday evening/date night workshops (BYO wine); Sunday family wheel workshops for parents and kids where parents can come with their kids to try the wheel (BYO coffee and snacks); private classes

Membership options: $220/month (plus the cost of clay)

Open studio hours: Members have unlimited access during studio hours: Tuesdays from noon to 5 p.m.; Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Students can use this time to refine and finish items from class, but not to throw or make more items.

The nitty gritty: Eight wheels; four clay bodies; in-house and commercial glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆5

Contact: Sarah Wright (owner); bluestonepotterysf@gmail.com

Follow: @bluestonepottery

6. Yonder Shop + Studio

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701 11th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94118
(650) 303-9216
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Established: 2013

Neighborhood: Inner Richmond

Classes offered: Eight-week handbuilding sessions; single night social clay sessions; team-building workshops; visiting artist workshops

Membership options: Space is available for regular memberships at $175/month and production membership at $275/month (plus the cost of clay)

Open studio hours: Members have 24-hour access; students have access on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., and Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The nitty gritty: Hand-turned banding wheels only; four clay bodies, in-house and commercial glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆5/∆6

Contact: Linda Fahey (owner); yonderpacifica@gmail.com

Follow: @yondersf

7. Mud Months at the SOMArts Cultural Center

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934 Brannan St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 863-1414
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Established: 2015

Neighborhood: SoMa

Classes offered: Primarily handbuilding

Membership options: $160 per month (eight three-hour sessions); $400 for a three month pass

Open studio hours: The studio is open Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The nitty gritty: One wheel; six clay bodies; commercial glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆5

Contact: Matt Goldberg (director of ceramic programs); mgoldberg@somarts.org

Follow: @goldmatt

8. Sharon Art Studio

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300 Bowling Green Dr
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 753-7006
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Established: 1970s

Neighborhood: Golden Gate Park (between the Upper Haight and Inner Sunset)

Classes offered: Eight- to twelve-week wheel and handbuilding sessions

Membership options: No

Open studio hours: Only available for students, cost is separate. Timing is posted each session on the site

The nitty gritty: 20 wheels; seven clay bodies; in-house and commercial glazes; three electric kilns bisque firing to ∆04, two natural gas kilns firing to ∆10 reduction

Contact: Zachary Canter (manager)

Follow: @sharonartstudio

9. Hickory Clay

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2710 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

Established: 2018

Neighborhood: Mission

Classes offered: Multi-week intro wheel and handbuilding classes; intermediate wheel classes; and glaze-making classes; single session classes on Friday and Saturday nights that focus on wheel, handbuilding, or colored clay

Membership options: $185 per month.

Open studio hours: Students and members have unlimited use of the studio during all open hours: Monday through Thursday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The nitty gritty: 20 wheels; six clay bodies; in-house glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆6

Contact: Daniel Karvasales and Ashley Hinton (owners); ashley@hickoryclay.com

Follow: @hickory_clay

10. Clayroom SF

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1431 17th St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(914) 806-5673
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Established: 2018

Neighborhood: Potrero Hill

Classes offered: Single session and series in wheel and handbuilding

Membership options: Quarterly ($525) and semi-annual ($925) memberships offered

Open studio hours: Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The nitty gritty: 33 wheels; 19 clay bodies; in-house and commercial glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆6

Contact: Neil Gershgorn (manager); contact@clayroomsf.com

Follow: @clayroomsf

11. Randall Museum

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199 Museum Way
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 554-9600
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Neighborhood: Corona Heights

Classes offered: See site

The nitty gritty: one clay body; in-house glazes; gas kiln fired to ∆10

Contact: Tomoko Nakazoto (program coordinator and instructor), tomoko.nakazato@sfgov.org

12. Ruby's Clay Studio

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552A Noe St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 558-9819
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Established: 1962

Neighborhood: Castro

Classes offered: All-level handbuilding and wheel, and all-level wheel, plus occasional intensive courses in specific techniques

Membership options: Lockers and spaces and available but there’s currently a five-year-plus waitlist; three-hour drop-in sessions are available on a per-session basis for experienced ceramicists but there’s currently a six-month waitlist

Open studio hours: The studio is generally open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Locker- and space-holders have 24-hour access; students may use the studio any time a member with a key is present (except during classes or studio meetings).

The nitty gritty: 12 wheels; three clay bodies; in-house glazes; electric and gas kilns fired up to ∆10

Contact: rubysclaystudio@gmail.com

Follow: @rubysclaystudio

13. Artillery Ceramics

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2751 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Established: 2016

Neighborhood: Mission

Classes offered: Month-long wheel or hand building; custom learning packages; single sessions; team-building

Membership options: $200/month including free clay and no additional firing fees

Open studio hours: Members have daily access from noon to 9 p.m.

The nitty gritty: 12 wheels; five clay bodies; in-house and commercial glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆6

Contact: Matthew Mauger (instructor); artilleryceramics@gmail.com

Follow: @ArtilleryAG

14. Pinckney Clay

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3417 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 525-4574
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Established: 2017

Neighborhood: Bernal Heights

Classes offered: Six-week handbuilding and wheel classes; one-time handbuilding and wheel workshops; private events and one-on-ones with local artists

Membership options: Available, but there’s currently a year-long waitlist

Open studio hours: Available to members all week, and students on Saturdays and Sundays (except during classes and workshops)

The nitty gritty: 8 wheels; five clay bodies; commercial glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆5

Contact: Pinckney Templeton (owner), Holly Coley (manager); create@pinckneyclay.com

Follow: @pinckneyclaysf

15. SFclayworks

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2240 Palou Ave
San Francisco, CA 94124
(415) 647-2529
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Established: 2011

Neighborhood: Bayview/Bernal

Classes offered: Mixed-level handbuilding and wheel classes

Membership options: $165/month plus cost of clay; members must be able to work without instruction, and as SFclayworks is run by volunteers, studio policy does not allow members to sell work or promote themselves online

Open studio hours: Students are allowed eight hours per week in addition to their class; members allowed unlimited access during all studio hours, Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday through Friday from noon to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

The nitty gritty: 17 wheels; five clay bodies; in-house glazes; two electric kilns bisque firing to ∆05, and one gas kiln firing to ∆10 reduction

Contact: Nina Saltman, Joyce Fujiwara, Takashi Fukuda, Beth Ozarow, Leigh Barbier, and Lucia Bogatay (partners); sfclayworks@att.net

Follow: @sfclayworks

16. City College of San Francisco

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50 Frida Kahlo Way
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 239-3000
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Neighborhood: Fort Mason and Balboa Park

Classes offered: Beginning, intermediate, advanced, and studio ceramics

Membership options: Five-month spring and fall semesters; six-week summer sessions.

Open studio hours: No

The nitty gritty: four clay bodies; in-house high fire and commercial low fire glazes; gas kiln fired to ∆10

Contact: Anna Asebedo (art department chair), aasebedo@ccsf.edu

1. Clay by the Bay

1616 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109

Neighborhood: Nob Hill

Classes offered: Intro to Pottery Wheel and Clay; Wheel and Surface; Handmade Materials: Hand Forms and Critique; Form, Function, Wheel, and Critique

Membership options: see site

Open studio hours: see site

Follow: @claybythebaysf

1616 Pacific Ave
San Francisco, CA 94109

2. SMAart Gallery And Studio

1045 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Established: 2012

Neighborhood: Lower Nob Hill (Tendernob)

Classes offered: Wheel, handbuilding, and sculpture classes as single-day workshops, or in a series of four, six, or eight sessions

Membership options: Flexible commitments of one year, three months, one month, two week, or single day

Open studio hours: Members get 24 hour access to the studio. Student drop-in is Wednesday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The nitty gritty: 20 wheels; eight clay bodies; in-house, studio, and raku glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆6

Contact: Steve Allen (owner); steve@smaartstudio.com 

Follow: @smaartgallery 

1045 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94109

3. Clay and Wine at the Jewish Community Center of SF

3200 California St, San Francisco, CA 94118

Established: 1980s

Neighborhood: Laurel Heights

Classes offered: Clay and Wine (handbuilding); wheel

Membership options: No

Open studio hours: See instructor

The nitty gritty: Ten wheels; one clay body; commercial glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆5/∆6

Contact: Joshua Margolis (instructor)

Follow: @clayandwine

3200 California St
San Francisco, CA 94118

4. Mel Rice Ceramica

6138 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

Established: 2017

Neighborhood: Outer Richmond

Classes offered: Wheel throwing and handbuilding

Membership options: Yes

The nitty gritty: 4-plus clay bodies; in-house glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆6

Contact: Mel Rice (owner), melriceceramica@gmail.com

Follow: @melriceceramica

6138 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121

5. Bluestone Pottery

3425 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

Established: 2018

Neighborhood: Outer Richmond

Classes offered: Weekly beginner wheel sessions for beginners; handbuilding classes start in the fall; single session wheel workshops; single session Friday evening/date night workshops (BYO wine); Sunday family wheel workshops for parents and kids where parents can come with their kids to try the wheel (BYO coffee and snacks); private classes

Membership options: $220/month (plus the cost of clay)

Open studio hours: Members have unlimited access during studio hours: Tuesdays from noon to 5 p.m.; Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Students can use this time to refine and finish items from class, but not to throw or make more items.

The nitty gritty: Eight wheels; four clay bodies; in-house and commercial glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆5

Contact: Sarah Wright (owner); bluestonepotterysf@gmail.com

Follow: @bluestonepottery

3425 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94121

6. Yonder Shop + Studio

701 11th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

Established: 2013

Neighborhood: Inner Richmond

Classes offered: Eight-week handbuilding sessions; single night social clay sessions; team-building workshops; visiting artist workshops

Membership options: Space is available for regular memberships at $175/month and production membership at $275/month (plus the cost of clay)

Open studio hours: Members have 24-hour access; students have access on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., and Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The nitty gritty: Hand-turned banding wheels only; four clay bodies, in-house and commercial glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆5/∆6

Contact: Linda Fahey (owner); yonderpacifica@gmail.com

Follow: @yondersf

701 11th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94118

7. Mud Months at the SOMArts Cultural Center

934 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Established: 2015

Neighborhood: SoMa

Classes offered: Primarily handbuilding

Membership options: $160 per month (eight three-hour sessions); $400 for a three month pass

Open studio hours: The studio is open Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The nitty gritty: One wheel; six clay bodies; commercial glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆5

Contact: Matt Goldberg (director of ceramic programs); mgoldberg@somarts.org

Follow: @goldmatt

934 Brannan St
San Francisco, CA 94103

8. Sharon Art Studio

300 Bowling Green Dr, San Francisco, CA 94117

Established: 1970s

Neighborhood: Golden Gate Park (between the Upper Haight and Inner Sunset)

Classes offered: Eight- to twelve-week wheel and handbuilding sessions

Membership options: No

Open studio hours: Only available for students, cost is separate. Timing is posted each session on the site

The nitty gritty: 20 wheels; seven clay bodies; in-house and commercial glazes; three electric kilns bisque firing to ∆04, two natural gas kilns firing to ∆10 reduction

Contact: Zachary Canter (manager)

Follow: @sharonartstudio

300 Bowling Green Dr
San Francisco, CA 94117

9. Hickory Clay

2710 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Established: 2018

Neighborhood: Mission

Classes offered: Multi-week intro wheel and handbuilding classes; intermediate wheel classes; and glaze-making classes; single session classes on Friday and Saturday nights that focus on wheel, handbuilding, or colored clay

Membership options: $185 per month.

Open studio hours: Students and members have unlimited use of the studio during all open hours: Monday through Thursday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The nitty gritty: 20 wheels; six clay bodies; in-house glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆6

Contact: Daniel Karvasales and Ashley Hinton (owners); ashley@hickoryclay.com

Follow: @hickory_clay

2710 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

10. Clayroom SF

1431 17th St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Established: 2018

Neighborhood: Potrero Hill

Classes offered: Single session and series in wheel and handbuilding

Membership options: Quarterly ($525) and semi-annual ($925) memberships offered

Open studio hours: Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The nitty gritty: 33 wheels; 19 clay bodies; in-house and commercial glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆6

Contact: Neil Gershgorn (manager); contact@clayroomsf.com

Follow: @clayroomsf

1431 17th St
San Francisco, CA 94107

11. Randall Museum

199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA 94114

Neighborhood: Corona Heights

Classes offered: See site

The nitty gritty: one clay body; in-house glazes; gas kiln fired to ∆10

Contact: Tomoko Nakazoto (program coordinator and instructor), tomoko.nakazato@sfgov.org

199 Museum Way
San Francisco, CA 94114

12. Ruby's Clay Studio

552A Noe St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Established: 1962

Neighborhood: Castro

Classes offered: All-level handbuilding and wheel, and all-level wheel, plus occasional intensive courses in specific techniques

Membership options: Lockers and spaces and available but there’s currently a five-year-plus waitlist; three-hour drop-in sessions are available on a per-session basis for experienced ceramicists but there’s currently a six-month waitlist

Open studio hours: The studio is generally open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Locker- and space-holders have 24-hour access; students may use the studio any time a member with a key is present (except during classes or studio meetings).

The nitty gritty: 12 wheels; three clay bodies; in-house glazes; electric and gas kilns fired up to ∆10

Contact: rubysclaystudio@gmail.com

Follow: @rubysclaystudio

552A Noe St
San Francisco, CA 94114

13. Artillery Ceramics

2751 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Established: 2016

Neighborhood: Mission

Classes offered: Month-long wheel or hand building; custom learning packages; single sessions; team-building

Membership options: $200/month including free clay and no additional firing fees

Open studio hours: Members have daily access from noon to 9 p.m.

The nitty gritty: 12 wheels; five clay bodies; in-house and commercial glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆6

Contact: Matthew Mauger (instructor); artilleryceramics@gmail.com

Follow: @ArtilleryAG

2751 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

14. Pinckney Clay

3417 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Established: 2017

Neighborhood: Bernal Heights

Classes offered: Six-week handbuilding and wheel classes; one-time handbuilding and wheel workshops; private events and one-on-ones with local artists

Membership options: Available, but there’s currently a year-long waitlist

Open studio hours: Available to members all week, and students on Saturdays and Sundays (except during classes and workshops)

The nitty gritty: 8 wheels; five clay bodies; commercial glazes; electric kiln fired to ∆5

Contact: Pinckney Templeton (owner), Holly Coley (manager); create@pinckneyclay.com

Follow: @pinckneyclaysf

3417 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

15. SFclayworks

2240 Palou Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124

Established: 2011

Neighborhood: Bayview/Bernal

Classes offered: Mixed-level handbuilding and wheel classes

Membership options: $165/month plus cost of clay; members must be able to work without instruction, and as SFclayworks is run by volunteers, studio policy does not allow members to sell work or promote themselves online

Open studio hours: Students are allowed eight hours per week in addition to their class; members allowed unlimited access during all studio hours, Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday through Friday from noon to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

The nitty gritty: 17 wheels; five clay bodies; in-house glazes; two electric kilns bisque firing to ∆05, and one gas kiln firing to ∆10 reduction

Contact: Nina Saltman, Joyce Fujiwara, Takashi Fukuda, Beth Ozarow, Leigh Barbier, and Lucia Bogatay (partners); sfclayworks@att.net

Follow: @sfclayworks

2240 Palou Ave
San Francisco, CA 94124

16. City College of San Francisco

50 Frida Kahlo Way, San Francisco, CA 94112

Neighborhood: Fort Mason and Balboa Park

Classes offered: Beginning, intermediate, advanced, and studio ceramics

Membership options: Five-month spring and fall semesters; six-week summer sessions.

Open studio hours: No

The nitty gritty: four clay bodies; in-house high fire and commercial low fire glazes; gas kiln fired to ∆10

Contact: Anna Asebedo (art department chair), aasebedo@ccsf.edu

50 Frida Kahlo Way
San Francisco, CA 94112