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Atlanta's Pottery Center.
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Mugs for Jugs coming up on October 18th!

Frequently Asked Questions

A great big thanks to everyone for your insightful questions. Here are the ones that seem to pop up most often. Keep 'em coming!

How is MudFire different from community art centers?
Do you have classes for beginners?
Is there a limit on how many pieces I can make each month?
Can I bring a friend to try out pottery?
Are there different kinds of memberships?
Do you have hourly rates?
If I sign up for the wheel, can I try handbuilding too?
What do I need to bring on my first day?
Can non-members use MudFire's kilns?
What temperature do you fire to?
Can I bring my own clay?
What can I expect with regard to glazes?
Can you accomodate a production potter?
Where do I park?
How do I find you?
I thought all pottery is made on the wheel. What else is there?
Can I send you some of my glaze recipes?
What if I need help with something I'm making?
Who is going to load the kilns?
Can I exhibit at the gallery?
Is this like the paint your own pottery cafes?
Can I bring my kids?
Can my social group meet at MudFire?
Do you do Raku firings?
What's the story with food and drinks?
What do I wear to do pottery?
Do glazes contain lead?
Can I sign up for membership on your website?
How can I give a membership as a gift?
Can I make my own dinner set?
Am I too grown up to play with mud?
Are you hiring?

 

I haven't attended open studio at my local arts center because their open studio hours are during the day when I'm at work. How is MudFire any different?

MudFire was designed exactly with this in mind. We are, first and foremost, an open studio set up to accommodate people whose daily lives make it difficult to commit to a class schedule and who want to a creative outlet that works after or around their regular work hours. We are open Noon thru 10pm Monday, Thursday, and Friday; and Noon - 8pm Saturdays and Sundays. MudFire is closed on Tuesdays. You can come for a couple of hours after dinner. Pop in at lunchtime. Spend a rainy Saturday. Bring a bottle of wine and make it a regular happy hour meeting place with friends or colleagues after work.

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I've never done pottery before. Will you have classes?

MudFire is an open studio for all levels, including absolute beginners. A potter on staff is always available to help you get started and provide ongoing guidance whenever you need it. We will also host workshops for different skill levels. Pottery is fun for everyone not afraid to get a bit dirty! Even if the last time you tried pottery was in 3rd grade (that little head with the really big nose you made… remember??), you won't be lost.

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Is there a limit on how many pieces I can make each month?

No. However, there is a limit to how much work you can fire for free. Each member receives a generous monthly glaze firing allowance of 2,500 cubic inches for free. Inches do not roll forward, and if you use all your free inches, additional work is fired at $0.02 per cubic inch for members. Please be aware that only pieces made by members with clay bought from our store will fired under this policy. We do occasionally rent kiln space to non-members and pricing will vary.

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I've done pottery before and this sounds like a great idea. Can I bring my neighbor to try it too?

Absolutely! As a studio member, we invite you to bring in visitors to check out our studio. Bring them in with you on a visit and make sure they sign a visitor form. In fact, if your friend ends up joining as a result of your referral, you will receive a very nice gift from MudFire.

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Are there different kinds of membership?

All members enjoy the same benefits relating to studio use. The price difference is based on the length of the membership you select and whether you choose to pay up front or in installments. We offer a $20 per month discount off the regular monthly rate for members who sign a one year contract. If you choose to prepay, there is an additional discount. Please note we cannot accomodate full-time production artists within our membership plan. Our studio is setup for members who are looking for a place to work several times a week for several hours at a time. We are not a production facility for creating large numbers of multiples.

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I have pottery equipment at home and want to occasionally use your glazes and get my work fired. Do you have by-the-hour rates?

We have a number of MudFire members who do most of their work at home, but bring their work into MudFire for glazing and firing. We don't offer hourly rates, but our memberships are perfect for home potters that do not have the firing options (electric, gas reduction, raku) that we offer. Plus we offer a huge variety of glazes, underglazes, stains, oxides, and other finishing materials that would be very expensive to recreate in your home studio.

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If I sign up for the pottery wheel, can I still try hand building?

As a member of MudFire, you are free to try everything that we have at the studio. There are no restrictions, no schedules. In fact, you can't even be limited by your own imagination since we have plenty of books and project plans. Plus you'll be surrounded by other potters doing fabulous things. MudFire is a playground. Your friends are here. You'll try everything. You'll get a little dirty. You'll hate the monkey bars, but you'll love the slide. Know what I mean? Enjoy!

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What do I need to bring on my first day?

An old hand towel is nice, but not necessary. Everything else that you may need is right here.

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I am a professional potter and not a member of MudFire. I have a show coming up and my kiln isn't big enough. Can I use yours?

We're fanatical about making sure our member's pieces are safe and don't get damaged, dinged or splattered by foreign glazes or clay bodies in the kiln. For that reason, we don't allow clays or glazes from outside of the studio to be fired together with our members' work. If scheduled in advance, we can ocasionally make arrangements to rent out and fire a full kiln load. We'll fire to your specifications and will be happy to assist you in loading and unloading the kiln. Please note, that you are responsible for providing correct firing instructions for your particular clay and glazes, and we will require that you clean or replace any kiln shelves that are damaged by clays or glazes that have melted or run. Please pick up your work within 3 days.

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What temperature do you fire to?

You'll be amazed at how much room for creativity and experimentation there is. We have over fifteen different clay bodies, a rotating portfolio of over 50 glazes, and a large variety of slips, stains, and underglazes. We bisque to cone 04, and glaze fire to cone 6 oxidation and reduction. We also offer raku firings, pit & saggar firings, and will be adding a soda kiln soon.

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Can I bring my own clay or do I need to buy it from you?

We buy most of our clay directly from local pottery suppliers. Our "house selection" includes Standard, Laguna, Highwater, Aardvark and several specialty clay bodies. 25 lb bags of clay sell at MudFire at the same prices that you'll find at the suppliers. We require that members purchase clay from us in order to ensure that only the right temperature and composition clays make their way into our kilns.

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What about underglazes or glazes?

Your MudFire membership includes unlimited use of all of our glazes, underglazes, slips, engobes and terra sigilata for decorating work that you make in our studio. Firing fees may apply if you exceed the monthly free allowance of 2,500 cubic inches of glaze firing. The founder is somewhat of a glaze fanatic and will be involved with continuously formulating, tweaking, and testing new glaze recipes. We'll have a rotating stock of about 50 gloss and matte glazes, and just as many underglazes, slips and engobes. We are focusing great efforts on providing a wide choice of colors, textures and effects, basing our glaze palette on recipes and methods from glaze gurus such as Val Cushing, John Britt, John Hesselbreth, Lana Wilson, Ron Roy and many others.

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I am a professional potter and make my living by selling pottery. Can MudFire accommodate my needs?

MudFire is not set up to accommodate a full time production potter. We want to make sure that equipment is always available for our members, whenever they choose to visit. Having one or more production potters working at the studio would tie up equipment for long periods of time and make it difficult for others to have access. You may be interested in exhibiting your work at our gallery, however.

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Is there parking nearby?

We have a large, well lit parking lot. There is also plenty of street parking adjacent to the building on Pine Street.

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How do I find you?

MudFire is located in Decatur, a delightful community directly neighboring Atlanta to the east. We are convenient to I-285, just a few miles east off the E. Ponce de Leon Ave. exit. We can be reached easily from intown Atlanta via DeKalb Ave., Ponce de Leone Ave., or North Decatur Rd. We have renovated a pair of warehouses that for the past 50 years housed Llorens Stained Glass art studios. Want a clearer picture? Click here for a map.

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I thought all pottery is made on the wheel. What other kind is there?

The wheel is actually a pretty recent development in pottery's history. Ancient cultures made beautiful works of art using pinch, coil or slab building methods for thousands of years before the kickwheel was even invented. Many people are misled into believing that round forms must be made on the wheel. While it is true that different shapes tend to lend themselves more readily toward a particular construction method, in reality, each potter has a method they prefer and often specialize in. Many instructors prefer to start off beginners with hand building, and introducing the potter's wheel later as a tool to be used to achieve a certain form, along the same lines as slab rollers, extruders, molds and various hand tools.

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I have a cone 6 recipe for a glaze I just love. Can I use it at MudFire?

Bring it on! Just email us the recipe and we'll test out a batch. If it works and other people in the studio like it, we'll put it in circulation.

What if I need help with something I'm working on?

Not only will there always be a potter on staff ready to help out with ideas or techniques, we'll also have studio assistants ready to lend a hand.

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I've had work damaged at schools and art centers I've attended before. Who is going to load the kilns?

We are extremely sensitive to that. Kilns will be loaded daily by the owner and Rangers of MudFire. Every possible care will be taken with member's work at all stages: loading, firing and unloading. Damage may still occasionally occur - just consider how much heat is happening inside of a kiln - but we will do our best to avoid problems that can be averted. This includes not firing anything until it is truly "bone dry", not loading anything that looks like it could drip or spatter glaze, and slow cooling.

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I'd like to exhibit in your gallery. What do I do?

MudFire Gallery is alway happy to review works of local artists for inclusion in our exhibits. Ideologically, we are interested in pottery and clay work that makes you go "hmm". We love work that startles, impresses, and fascinates. We exhibit both sculptural and functional clay. If your art is expressive, bold and unique, please feel free to send us images and a show proposal. We are proud to exhibit work of both emerging and established artists.

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Is this like the paint your own pottery cafes?

No, MudFire is very different from a paint your own store. At our studio you will work with soft clay to actually make the pieces that you will eventually fire and decorate. You may use a pottery wheel or any hand building technique to shape the clay into any form that you want. If you've never tried it before, we will teach you to use the tools of a real potter. Another way in which MudFire is different is that it's ok to come in all by yourself. Pottery can be a meditative activity and you may choose to spend several hours focusing on your work. On the other hand, it can be a very social event. If you're in the mood, you will certainly make new friends with a common interest. A parting thought...why don't they call it paint someone else's pottery...after all someone else made it!

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Can I bring my kids?

Youthful but serious-minded pottery devotees of high school age (14+) may join the studio. Because of certain dangers inherent in raw glaze chemicals, sharp tools, and electrical equipment, younger children are not allowed in the studio. If your child does not have their own transportation, you are responsible for picking them up prior to our closing time. We do not stay open late for any reason. Artists 14-16 must be accompanied by an adult member at least for the first month. 16 and up may join and work alone.

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Can my group meet at MudFire?

MudFire can accommodate small to medium-sized groups for various activities. Garden clubs, social groups, networking associations, church groups, etc. are welcome to host team-building activities or special events at MudFire. Advance notice is required. We will be happy to work with you to organize pottery classes, demonstrations, team building activities, guest speakers, and yes, even snacks. Please contact the studio for detailed pricing information.

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Do you do Raku firings?

Yes, we have 3 brand new, large and exceedingly handsome raku kilns with pyrometers. They are a joy to fire! Become a studio member and use them anytime, or reserve a time to rent a kiln.

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Do you serve food?

We love food. But we don't sell any at the studio. You're welcome to bring anything with you that you like, but you might want to bring a little extra to share. Potters are a hungry bunch. And we're all about snacks! There are plenty of great restaraunts within a 5 minute drive ranging from pricey and quite nice to total dives.

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What do I wear?

Comfortable clothes that you won't worry about getting dirty. White and gray clay generally comes out completely in the wash. Red clay contains iron oxide and may not wash out of certain materials. Also, hand building is not nearly as messy as throwing on the wheel, so plan accordingly.

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Do glazes contain lead?

Lead has been one of the most important ingredients of glaze for at least 4,000 years. Since lead is poisonous if ingested, you should be aware of this if you make a habit of buying antique pottery for use as dinnerware. (If in doubt, please check it with lead test strips that are available at most hardware stores.) Over the past 50 years, lead substitutes have been incorporated into the vast majority of potters' glazes. There is no lead, barium or cadmium in any of our glazes.

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Can I sign up on your web site to become a MudFire member?

Oh Yeah! Visit our Membership Options page to get started.

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How can I give a MudFire membership as a gift?

We have gift certificates and artist-designed t-shirts that make great gifts! Instead of a "thing", consider giving an "experience" that may change their life. Stop in and pick one out, or give us a call and we'll help you out.

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Can I make my own dinner set?

Of course! Even wine goblets, napkin rings, and the fabulous sculpture for the centerpiece.

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I'm a 42 year old consultant. And haven't been to an art class since the 8th grade. I feel kind of silly trying this now.

You'll feel even sillier if you don't. Pottery is not hard - clay is very forgiving and there are very simple beginner techniques that will get you started. You will make something on your very first day. It's fun - a little messy and very social. You'll make new friends. And it's incredibly therapeutic - I mean, have you ever met a stressed out potter? There's something about squishing clay, making something with your bare hands… that makes you centered, makes you whole. All humans need a creative outlet. Give it a try.

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I have quite a bit of pottery experience. Are you hiring?

We have an assistantship program that is in very high demand. Assistants work in exchange for studio time and workshop admission. You must be a studio member for at least one month before being considered for this position. Please call us at 404-377-8033 or drop us an email to discuss.

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