Monica Leap – Founder (Chief Mudslinger) & Ceramics Instructor
She has been working with clay since 2003, and has not stopped since. She holds a BFA in Ceramic Arts from Syracuse University, with a minor in Entrepreneurship and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. She’s attended workshops, classes, and has worked and lived at art centers around the country, all to develop and learn the skills necessary to open a community art center just like this.
Studio 550 is the realization of her family’s dream. Her parents fled a war-stricken communist Cambodia in the 1980s. They started their lives over, with no money, no language comprehension, and a son not even a year old, in hopes of a better life for their children. As a first generation American, she’s witnessed her parent’s non-stop hard work to make a life for their family. This has formed a desire to create a space where people can both play with intention and find camaraderie and community so they don’t feel the need to leave.
“Whether it is for a one-day workshop, or if you are a student here for life, thank you for taking time out of your busy life to be a part of this community. I hope the Studio brings you joy for years to come. May your hands stay muddy & your heart happy” – Monica Leap
Emma Bivona – Retail Coordinator, Kids Programming & Ceramics Instructor
Emma has been working with clay since 2006. It used to be a side gig, and now it is her all-the-time gig.
Before moving to New Hampshire to study History and Education at the University of New Hampshire, Emma worked for 5 years at an outdoors summer camp in Rhode Island. She started out as an activities and crafts counselor and then moved up to head of the leadership program. From all the years as a camp counselor and preparing to become a history teacher, she has extensive experience working with children of diverse backgrounds. When she is not in the studio, you can find tending to her vast collection of succulents and houseplants, belting out the lyrics to her favorite songs, or reading history books.
Theresa Caulkins – Stained Glass Instructor
Rachel Normington – Ceramics Instructor & Studio Assistant
Rachel has always been interested in art. She earned her Bachelors in Ceramics from the NH Institute of Art in 2010. With a strong desire to stay creative, she also sews, and works with leather, in addition to pottery. She’s used these handmade wares to help fund her travels around the country and across the country, in Oregon farmer’s markets.
Currently she sells her work at Twist-of-Fate Pottery in East Kingston, Windham Junction in Windham, Bona-Fide Greed Goods in Concord, Just Naturals in Bedford, Studio 550 Art Center, and sometimes at the Concord Art Market.
Her website: Twist of Fate Pottery
Instagram handle: @twist_of_fate_pottery
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Jazmine Jade – Ceramics Instructor & Studio Assistant