Ceramics Cooperative

Purpose

Union Project’s Ceramics Cooperative is a membership program providing studio space, equipment, and community for ceramic artists.

This unique program offers the opportunity for ceramic artists to grow and strengthen their creative process and skills in a supportive, communal environment. Members work in a shared studio, energize one another, share knowledge, and collaborate. While taking part in a thriving ceramics environment, members also participate in community-based programming that serves the greater Pittsburgh community. 

Advantages Include

  • Participation in a supportive community of artists
  • Learn new skills and gain teaching experience 
  • Access to Union Project’s community studio, tools, and equipment when the building is open for normal business hours
  • Use of all facilities including slab roller, clay mixer, extruder, pug mill, studio glazes, three electric kilns, raku kiln, and an offsite wood kiln
  • Ability to order clay and supplies from Standard Ceramic Supply through Union Project and receive a discounted rate
  • Opportunity for juried participation in Union Project’s sales opportunities: Three Rivers Arts Festival, Highland Park Pottery Tour, and Mother of all Pottery Sales
  • Access to administrative and marketing support to achieve artistic and professional goals.

 

Associate co-op memberships start at $130/month. Financial accommodations may be made based on need and according to current co-op membership levels. Union Project staff will review individual requests on a case-by-case basis.

UP also offers apprentice level memberships for youth under 18. Apprentice members exchange hour for hour studio time for service, learn a variety of technical studio tasks, have a storage space, and are provided the same access to the studio as Associate Members.

For more information on the co-op, or to apply to join the co-op, see our Membership Application.
To set up an interview or tour of the studio, please contact Jackie Harris at 412-363-4550 or jackie@unionproject.org.

Current Co-op Members 

Molly Bee

After taking a ceramics class during her sophomore year at Chatham University, Molly was hooked. In the studio, she loves having the opportunity to develop her skills by learning from other co-op members and she enjoys teaching some of the workshops. Every piece she constructs is a canvas for sgraffito, and she loves to create anything that makes sound. Outside the studio, she takes care of her organic vegetable and fruit gardens, makes jewelry, and spends times with her three cats.

Ben Dames

Born and raised in Moon Township, PA, just a half hour from the city of Pittsburgh, Ben grew up with a love for sports and art. He aspired to be a cartoonist and professional athlete, but in college he discovered the world of ceramics. In 2011, Ben earned a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Edinboro University of PA with minors in both Art History and Ceramics. Aside from ceramics, Ben enjoys drawing, painting, and photography. He is an avid Pittsburgh sports fan, and loves baseball, basketball, and biking.

Check out Ben's website!

  

Carina Kooiman

As a frustrated art major on the verge of quitting, Carina found refreshing inspiration in ceramics, which was entirely new to her. She is thrilled to share her passion with students working with clay for the first time, and values the knowledge she can acquire from the experienced artists at UP. With an enthusiasm for hand-building, she enjoys making organic shapes and using detail. In addition to her work in UP’s ceramics studio, Carina also works as the art studio specialist at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

 Martha Matthews

Martha Matthews

Martha discovered her interest in pottery as an undergraduate through an art program at VCU in Richmond, where she completed a minor concentration in ceramics. She enjoys the friendly atmosphere in the UP studio and makes utilitarian pieces for everyday use. Outside the studio, Martha spends most of her time outdoors—biking, hiking, walking her dog, and farming with extended family.

  

Ron Mauer

As an employee at IBM, Ron appreciates his studio time at UP as an entirely different environment. He discovered ceramics while working at YMCA summer camp, and describes his work as “confused.” He likes to make time for family, sports, and fitness when he’s not at work or in the studio.

Paula Romanishin

Paula Romanishin

Paula’s first attempt at ceramics ended in screaming frustration, but that didn’t stop her quest to learn. Through UP’s ceramics co-op, she loves being a part of a community and working to develop her skills by watching others, asking questions, and trying different methods. She also puts her artistic talents to use in knitting and sketching, while attempting to take life less seriously.

 Silvija Singh

Silvija Singh

With a passion for drawing, Silvija decided to expand her artistic abilities during her time as a psychology grad student. She found that she could better express her creativity in the three-dimensional world of ceramics, something not possible in the two-dimensional art of drawing. UP provides her with a place to grow artistically, and she enjoys hand-building ceramics of busts, figures, and animals. She often incorporates a political aspect in her figurative pieces. She works as a clinical psychologist and spends her free time with her children.

Gloria Tsang

Gloria developed a passion for ceramics the very first time she sat at a wheel. Union Project’s studio provides a working environment where she can manifest her artistic curiosity and creativity through clay. Her Asian heritage keenly influences her work, which includes both functional and decorative pottery for years to enjoy. She loves spending time with family and taking care of her garden.