First Friday Santa Cruz

A Community in Clay

A Community in Clay

by Bree Karpavage

What has 12 wheels, a pingpong table, shelves of handmade pottery and a wall painted by Jasper Marino? Santa Cruz Clay! This 3000+ square foot warehouse space designed as a working studio co-op, classroom and gallery showroom is the latest project of local clay master, Travis Adams and the newest ceramics studio on the Westside.

His first studio in Live Oak, Floasis, has been a successful hub of clay enthusiasts of all skill levels for close to a decade. Travis has watched the demand for studio space grow over the last five years as turning and throwing clay has become a wildly popular medium among Santa Cruz artists. He says the expansion into the Westside location was a no-brainer considering the lack of ceramics studios in this part of town.

“Something I’ve always tried to do is create an opportunity for people to become professional artists,” says Travis. Tuning into the ceramic obsession not just among creatives but also with the art loving public who just can’t stop collecting handmade mugs for their morning bevs. He’s also focused on creating community. His laid back, co-op style studios offer artists not just a place to hone their craft, build their skills and create pottery, but also a safe place to land for support and friendships.

“Ceramic studios are supposed to be run by a village. There are so many things to do and there is so much benefit to working around and with people of all different perspectives, production and creativity.” The benefit of working in a cooperative, collaborative space sparks a camaraderie within the ceramics community that Travis believes is essential and unique to this medium.

Travis fell in love with clay as a student at Soquel High School under the influence of his ceramics teacher (and philosopher), Michael Emory. He went on to study fine art with an emphasis in ceramics at SFU and started his career teaching at various studios around the county before opening his own in 2016. “It’s a profound experience to share this ancient legacy with people.” And share he has in a big way as he’s witnessed some of his students develop into professional artists with skills greater than his own.

Travis has what he calls an “All-Star Line-up” of teachers offering classes at Santa Cruz Clay. Check out their website, to learn more about classes and studio space and to sign up. And look for Santa Cruz Clay on the First Friday Santa Cruz Art Tour this month featuring Tom Watson and Sam Clarkston: Clay Kings. It’s definitely worth a stop in to see this beautiful space full of unique charm, community spirit and a plethora of mugs to add to your collection.

Located at 2100 Delaware Ave Suite E.
On Instagram @santacruzclay
Featured image: Travis Adams