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central nj studios, gas kilns, and supplies

updated sun 26 jun 05


Stuart Altmann on fri 24 jun 05

Kristina, you asked about ceramic supply sources and studios with high-fire=

gas facilities in the Princeton NJ area. Here=92s what I=92ve learned about=

this in the few years that I=92ve lived in Princeton.

In the heart of Princeton, the Community Arts Center has a small ceramics
studio, but their kiln is electric. Princeton University has a student
studio (where Takaezu used to teach) and about 5 years ago they built a
large gas-fired kiln. However, I believe that you would have to be enrolled=

in the Art Department=92s ceramics courses to use the kiln, and so those wou=
be the most expensive pots you=92d ever make!

Under =91Craft Instruction,=92 the local yellow pages list =91That Pottery P=
in West Windsor (609-716 6200). I know nothing about it, but they are close=

to you.

About 25 minutes drive from Princeton, there is a large ceramic studio a few=

miles north of Hopewell. Don=92t recall the owner=92s name, but she often
advertises her ceramics classes in the local newspapers, e.g. the Princeton
Packet and the Hopewell Valley News. Talk to the advertizing department of
one of the papers, to see if they can identify her for you. Because the
studio is out in the country, it may include a gas kiln.

There=92s a large craft building in Trenton, with a ceramic studio. I haven=
been in there and don=92t know whether they have a gas kiln, but they are
worth a try, perhaps your most likely nearby source. Sorry that I don=92t
recall the name, but they are very easy to locate. Take Hwy 1 south to
Trenton (15 minutes) and get off at the exit marked for the train station.
In, say, just 50 yards after turning off Hwy 1, you will arrive at a
T-junction . The craft building is directly across the street ahead of you,=

slightly to your right, with a parking lot next to it.

The Ceramic Shop, at 3245 Amber St, Philadelphia, PA 19134, tel. (215)
427-9665,, is a ceramic supplier and has an
attractive studio for classes. Check out their web site. I don=92t know
whether they have a gas kiln. They are about a 45 minute drive from
Princeton, a few blocks from Exit 25 of I-95, and so considerably closer
than Phili's Del Val. The Ceramic Shop manufactures Hydro-bats, is your
closest source of B-Mix, and sells various other clays, Shimpo wheels,
common ceramic chemicals, and so on.

The biggest ceramic supply houses in the area are Ceramic Supply, in Lodi
NJ, Bailey, in Kingston NY, and Del-Val, in a southern suburb of
Philadelphia. Ceramic Supply delivers to central NJ every other Tuesday.
Call their customer service (800 723 7264) for their minimum free delivery
requirement in your area. The other suppliers use UPS for our area.

Don't forget to get a resale certificate from the NJ Dept of Taxation,
and send your certificate number to any supplier from which you order, so
that you don't pay sales tax on anything that goes directly into you
wares. Remember too that, thanks to online catalogs and UPS, your nearest
source of supplies is your front door, and that no one supplier stocks
everything. Also, on big-ticket items such as a potter=92s wheel or a kiln,=

the combined cost of the item, tax, shipping, and handling may justify some
comparative shopping. A few years ago, when I knew just what kiln vent I
wanted, I wrote to about a dozen suppliers in the East and asked for a
quotation, including all costs, delivered to my door. The differences in
quoted prices were not trivial!

I have a personal studio in Princeton. Alas, no gas kiln: too many local
obstacles. But if you=92d like to come by the studio sometime to chat, give=

me a call: 609/279-0403. I'll be away for the entire month of July.

Stuart Altmann
Altmann Ceramics