selective focus photography of person molding clay

Fired Up at Jacksonville Pottery Studio

Story by: Lisa Marino

Pottery is not only an artform that produces beautiful objects including dining ware and decorations, but it’s a medium that brings people together.  

Jacksonville Pottery Studio is full of ceramicists who are drawn to the craft for their own unique reasons. Although their passions for pottery were provoked by different catalysts, there is one common thread among the artists’ interests for the art—the appreciation they have for expressing their creativity through handcrafted projects.  

It’s common for a ceramicist to become personally attached to each piece he or she makes because of the lengthy process pottery encompasses. From the artist forming the idea of what he or she wants to create, to finalizing the glaze, the steps in between call for throwing, carving, painting and more.  

Despite what people may believe, it isn’t unusual for a piece of pottery to completely change paths from what an artist originally had in mind. Whether intentional or unintentional, the creative process always takes a turn, or a few turns, down its path.  

Zoë Conrad is the manager of Jacksonville Pottery Studio. As a manager, she has the freedom to create, teach, and work with other ceramicists. Zoë is passionate about teaching pottery because she exposes people to the endless possibilities of clay.  

Ceramics may scare people because of its handcrafting aspects, but Zoë ensures her students that anything can be made with clay. Most people who take her classes are completely new to pottery; Zoë feels delighted when she can share her passion with other people, and possibly, ignite students’ passions for the art.  

A member who can be seen in the studio nearly every day of the week is Robin. Considering ceramics to be more than just a pastime, but her entire world, Robin finds peace in the studio. With the freedom to either collaborate with other artists, or spend hours focused on her own work, Robin goes to the studio every moment she can. 

Robin has created life-long relationships with the people she has met through ceramics. She is always open to working with other artists or helping anyone who needs it to facilitate growth for herself and her friends.   

Nick Pantuso is one of Jacksonville Pottery Studio’s newest members. Nick first started pottery in a high school ceramics class but strayed from it for a few years after graduating. When he found the studio in Jacksonville, he was hooked on the art again and quickly became a member.  

Not only does Nick find happiness within the four walls of the pottery studio, but he notices that ceramics help him in other aspects of his life. Dedicating time to pottery allows Nick to destress and relax, which in turn leads him into being a better friend and spouse. After spending time in the studio, Nick feels rejuvenated to be a supporter for his wife.  

Although she is new to the world of ceramics, Rachael Stewart is eager to learn every day she clocks into work at the studio. Rachael is fascinated by the beauty that can be fabricated from what once was dirt or mud.  

Artists of all forms are driven by different factors. Whether creative expression is someone’s greatest passion, or a sole pass time when not working, art bands people together in ways that cannot always be described.  

The studio is open Tuesday-Saturday and a list of classes can be found at