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Building the Dream

Follow the buildout here of the studio here and on Instagram (more current images on Instagram):

Phase II on Instagram

Phase I on Instagram

Building Clay Life Art Studios LLC is a dream fulfilled. But it wasn’t an easy task getting here. Finding not only the perfect place, but all the planning involved and then building it out is an epic task that comes from cooperation of many people. I’m grateful for all the help in making this dream come true. The studio met the deadline of a soft open by February 2023. If you’d like to teach a class here please email us at

Finding the right space for a community studio was an important task. The layout of everything inside should flow with the work. It’s a question of balance, attention to ease of cleanliness, a space for members to enjoy their time, a space for beginners to enjoy a private lesson. Space dedicated for glazing and a zone for work in progress is as important as spaces for the stages of finished work. Driving to the space should be easy. Parking should be super easy.

The neighborhood and neighbors are also an important part of finding the right space. As it is a community studio, driving to the space should be easy and enjoyable. Parking should be a breeze for the everyone as well without impacting an occasional delivery.

Recent Press Article

The long and short of it and the journey to find the center

In 2008, as a graphic designer in his 40’s in the printing industry, the owner needed a change of pace, something to do between pushing pixels and doing press checks. He recalled that when he was 12 or so, one day his mother brought home a 25 pound block of clay. He was forbidden to touch the clay as she had plans for that clay herself and didn’t want a clay mess in her house. Sadly, that block of clay never did get used. It became a solid-block of dried-out clay, poked with hundreds of small finger pokes each representing an “ask” to work with the forbidden delight within.

Then in his 20’s, living away from home, he decided he could buy his own clay and create to his heart’s content. However, without access to a kiln or glazes, and with time and responsibilities bearing down, it gave limited opportunities to explore this medium – balancing – life with the arts in clay.

He was working in San Carlos in 2008 and looked up clay supplies only to find the nearest clay supply store was in Santa Clara or in San Francisco. However he noticed a clay studio was near his home. Curious, he joined a couple of years later. Here was a place that had the wheels, clay, the room and the kiln and glazes. He was in heaven. Before he knew it, he was loading kilns, giving advice, managing, teaching private lessons and then introductory classes and advanced classes in the 11 years he was there. It became his life – his center – his knowledge grew as the studio grew. It was a wonderful place with wonderful people. Still is. But dreams change.

In all that time he was there at the studio, in the back of his mind he kept thinking about that gap in the mid-peninsula between San Jose and San Francisco and as time progressed it changed from needing a clay supply store to needing a membership-based teaching clay studio in the mid-peninsula.

At the end of March 2022, Clay Life Art Studios llc and were born on paper. After careful searching, research, business consultations and lots of negotiating, a place was found in the city of San Mateo in the Fiesta Gardens Shopping Center at 715 Bermuda Drive. February 2023 was the soft open. Plenty of stress-free parking. 2 handicap parking spots are right next to the studio on the left side. South side of 92 near the 101 Freeway. Close to the San Mateo Fairgrounds and Hillsdale Mall.

The Front Entrance
Hand building tables and member cubbies
Wheel room beginning to shape up
More member cubbies and the glazing tables
Letting Foot Traffic know what’s happening
Greenware and Glaze Drop off carts Assembled
Bisque Pickup and a few Glaze Pickup carts assembled