Catching Up With New Kids: Bklyn Clay

Bklyn Clay, which opened its first ceramics studio in the South Slope in 2018, is now operating a very fun and buzzy hive of a space on West Street and Watts — they opened on April 2. The studio does it all when it comes to clay — memberships for independent work, classes for all ages, private lessons, parties, corporate events.

Founder (and CEO) Jen Waverek, was working in brand strategy and graphic design (she’s also a fine arts major and an accomplished visual artist) and looking for a place with open studio hours to practice her ceramics skills — with no luck. So she opened one herself and it took off.

“Classes were selling out really fast and we knew we needed another location,” said Laura Vogel, the operations director and CFO. Laura minored in ceramics in college and was managing social media for celebrities and influencers when she met Jen in a ceramics class. She started to help with logistics for Bklyn Clay and then got more and more involved — it’s now her second full-time job.

There is, of course a Tribeca connection: Jen lived here in the ’90s and Laura’s favorite aunt and uncle lived on N. Moore and Greenwich for 54 years until 2015. So Tribeca was the obvious pick.

“When we thought about a second location we thought here,” Laura said. “We saw this place online — it was an art storage place. It took us a year to do the build-out.”

The space is pretty fabulous — whitewashed brick, original columns, barn doors, bright and well ventilated (that is part of their goal, to make sure that the clay dust is minimized with good air purifiers), with areas sectioned off for class work but visible throughout the space. “We wanted to make it safer and more elevated — not like your grandmother’s basement.”

The studio applied has a beer and wine license to encourage parties. (Their other location is Prospect Heights.) Their are 14 wheels in each of the two classrooms; a kiln that can be used for outside work; open studio hours with class registration. Plus during covid they started their own dinnerware line and their signature “crater cups” are now made in Tribeca. The studio is staffed with teaching artists — in our case, Gustav Hamilton, the company’s studio and creative director, and Sarah Allwine, the production and creative director, on either side of Laura in the picture above.

The staff also takes care of some of the trickier parts of ceramics production, so you don’t have be an expert to start producing art. “We do the work,” Laura said, “so you can just focus on being creative.”

Bklyn Clay
288 West Street | Watts & Canal