Frequently asked questions
Questions are welcome. Here are answers to the ones we get most often. If you don't find your answer (or question) here, please contact us.
Do your glazes contain lead?
There is no lead, barium or cadmium in any of our glazes.
Will my pottery be microwave-, oven- and dishwasher-safe?
All of our clay and glazes are oven-, microwave- and dishwasher safe. Generally, we don't recommend dishwashing because of the additional wear and tear that comes with it. You should also discuss with your instructor the pros and cons of specific finishes if you intend to use your finished pieces for cooking. Some hold up better than others to this kind of use.
Do you offer Paint Your Own Pottery classes?
No. We teach you how to make your own unique creations from scratch. We think it's more fun to get your hands dirty by forming the clay and finishing it up with a coat of glaze after the first firing. Educating the community about the entire clay process — from preparing the raw clay to forming it, applying the finishing touches and firing it — is our mission. Other ceramics studios in the area offer paint your own pottery sessions, we just aren't one of them. If you are looking for something that allows you to enjoy a one-time or short-term clay experience with family or friends, try one of our Events.
Do I need to bring or wear anything special to class?
Wear comfortable clothes that you don't mind getting dirty. You might also want to bring a towel. Working with clay can get messy. The clay comes out of fabric without much effort, but some glazes and other materials aren't so forgiving.
It may seem like a small detail, but we also recommend that you remove all rings and bracelets and clip your fingernails as short as possible to avoid multiple problems while throwing clay. Fingernails are all too likely to poke, gouge, rip and scratch wet clay.
I've never worked with clay before. Do you have a class for me?
Absolutely! All of them, except the Intermediate Wheel Throwing. We exist to introduce beginners to the clay experience and help others improve their skills. Nearly all of our classes are open to students of any skill level. We keep our class sizes small— 6 to 8 students for wheel throwing and 6 to 12 students for our other classes —so you'll have plenty of individual attention from our instructors. If you want to dip your finger into clay before committing to a multi-week class session, try one of our single-class events, such as Cocktails & Clay.
If I miss a class, can I get a refund or make it up?
Unfortunately, we cannot offer refunds, make-up classes or credits for missed classes. (See our Refund Policy for details.) Please understand that when you sign up for a session of classes, we reserve a wheel or table space for you for that particular time slot. Our classes fill with reserved spaces so there isn't room for anyone extra. Keep in mind that you receive at least 20 hours of Open Studio time each week to work in the studio independently. We highly recommend you take advantage of Open Studio even when you don't miss a class because it gives you more time to practice and create.
Can I get a refund if I cancel or drop out of my class?
If you cancel at least two days before the class session begins, we will refund all or a portion of your tuition, depending on how far ahead you tell us you cannot be there. (See our Refund Policy for details.) Once the class session begins, however, there are no refunds for any reason except documented medical emergencies. Sorry, but our tuition is not pro-rated and we have to reserve a spot for you. That means we very likely had to turn away another student to make room for you. When you drop out or cancel at the last minute, we no longer have the opportunity to fill the class.
What happens if Whistle Stop Clay Works cancels a class?
If we cancel a class because it didn't make the minimum enrollment requirement, we will refund your tuition or you can transfer your enrollment into another available class.
If we cancel a class because of bad weather, we will reschedule it. We'll pick a time that doesn't interfere with other classes and is convenient to the majority of the students.
What happens to my work if I do not finish it by the end of the class?
You can finish your work during Open Studio. When you sign up for one of our class sessions, Open Studio is available to you through the final date of the session. If that's still not enough time, you can always rent some additional Open Studio time. If it's a special event or Cocktails & Clay, you must finish by the end of the class unless you make prior arrangements with the instructor.
I have pottery equipment at home. Can I use your glazes and have my work fired at your studio?
Yes. A lot of local clay artists take advantage of our kiln rentals and Clay and Open Studio Packages. We do require proof of clay temperature before firing if you are not using our studio clay. Visit our Studio page for details.