About Us

Our Mission

Clay Studio is a community art center committed to fostering the creative process in a welcoming and supportive environment. Our goal is to enrich lives by teaching and promoting the ceramic arts.

Our Story

We are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) creative hub for the Santa Barbara arts community and an international destination for all who are passionate about exploring the ceramic arts. Founded in 2012 by potter Patrick Hall, Clay Studio is a safe haven for exploration in clay — from hand building to wheel throwing to 3D printing — and, more. Our state-of-the-art facility and caring, experienced staff will help you develop your potential in any direction you choose.

Team

Our People

Kathy

Kathy Burba

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Kathy Burba is a strategic leader and intermediate potter living in Santa Barbara, CA. She is a retired Army officer who earned an MBA in non-profit management and strategic leadership in 2016. She spent the last several years consulting and honing her ceramic skills. She accepted the director job in an interim capacity to allow for a thoughtful and deliberate executive search. She believes strongly in art education, and supports both traditional craft development and high-tech / cutting edge approaches. Her priorities are on organizational development, strategic planning and Community Outreach. Her goal is to be part of an inclusive team of employees, members and students making the world better one art/design project at a time and having a lot of fun doing it.

Molly

Molly Gwitt

STUDIO MANAGER

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Molly moved to California in the summer of 2021 to work at Clay Studio. She took her first pottery class at age 14, where she discovered her passion for ceramics.  After graduating high school, Molly began teaching pottery to middle schoolers and high schoolers at an art camp. Here, she fell in love with raku firing and found creative ways to inspire her community through art and creativity. Molly received her BFA from University of Wisconsin — Green Bay in Spring of 2021, and received the honor of Outstanding Senior Show Award of her class at her Senior Exhibition. In her free time, Molly loves hiking and spending time in nature, which is where she draws much of her inspiration for her art. She is excited to explore all that Santa Barbara has to offer and to be a part of the wonderful community at Clay Studio.  

Bonnie

Bonnie Vazales

STUDIO TECHNICIAN

Bonnie has been working in the world of ceramics for 9 years, beginning when she first moved to Santa Barbara from Georgia. She got her start in ceramics by working as a kiln technician at a local studio, the Schott Center, before starting her role as Clay Studio’s Studio Technician in August of 2021. Not only does she have an extensive knowledge of how to load and operate kilns, but she also has years of experience in throwing and handbuilding. Her work ranges, but mostly explores human-like expressions and forms on planters, mugs, and vases. Her work is playful, and captures the joy and spirit that creativity invites in. The delicate nature of her faces and forms shows her fine attention to detail as well as her skills in working with clay. 

In her free time, Bonnie loves to hike, explore new places, and soak in natural hot springs with her husband Jared and their two dogs Jack and Eddie. 

Bettie

Bettie Coy

STUDIO TECHNICIAN

Bettie has experience creating art in a variety of mediums. She took her first ceramics class at a small home studio when she was a child and continued to pursue courses throughout high school and college. During her time at UCSB she completed a BS in Environmental Studies with minors in soil science and geology. She loves learning about clay and glazes from a scientific perspective and she has experience harvesting and processing some of her own clay from her time spent living in San Luis Obispo.

Her work is often whimsical and she enjoys playing with incorporating a variety of materials in to her pieces. She has experience in architectural drafting, welding, woodworking, printmaking, and sewing, and enjoys learning new skills.

On her days off she spends most of her time outside mountain biking or in her garage working on new projects with friends.

Anthony

Anthony Escalante

STUDIO TECHNICIAN

Anthony is finishing up his undergrad at UCSB where he will soon earn his BFA degree. Anthony is an easy going fellow who enjoys surfing, skating and being outdoors.

In his free time he continues to develop his art practice whether it be photography, videography, sewing, print making or anything else he can get his hands on. With a growing interest in wood working and pottery, lately Anthony spends most of his time in the wood-shop or behind the wheel.

Juliette

Juliette Fish

GLAZE TECHNICIAN

Juliette is an experienced and enthusiastic ceramic artist who utilizes hand building techniques to create a wide variety of work with a focus on texture and form.  She has worked in clay for over 10 years and has shown and sold her work in a number of venues.  She has also been avidly developing and testing glazes for the last five years.

She has worked in a wide variety of other artistic media including painting, textiles, photography, screen printing and soft sculpture.  Juliette was a frequent contributor to a national crafts magazine for which she designed many published projects.  She is also a member of the Ventura County Potter’s Guild.

Juliette discovered at a young age that designing and making things is what brings her endless satisfaction and joy!

Team