Monica Leap – Founder, Chief Mudslinger
The Story: From our family to your family.
I have been throwing on the pottery wheel since 2003, and have not stopped since then. I have a BFA in Ceramic Arts from Syracuse University, with a minor in Entrepreneurship and hold a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. I’ve attended workshops, classes, and have worked at art centers around the country, and spent a year as a winter resident at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts.
I like pottery, dancing, running, baking, traveling, new experiences and sharing new experiences with other people. (That’s what Studio 550 is all about!)
Studio 550 is the realization of my family’s dream. My 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, I’ve grown up with a desire to build communities in hopes that people would not feel the need to leave. As a studio potter and dancer, art has become the way I create community.
Thank you for taking time out of your busy life to become a part of this community. I hope the Studio gives you a chance to play like a kid again.
See you in the studio!
Emma Bivona – Front Desk Operations & Kids Classes
Emma has been slinging mud on the side for 10 years. After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in history she moved to Manchester for a change in scenery.
Before moving to 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. Emma plans on becoming a high school social studies teacher and running a clay camp for kids in the summers. When she is not in the studio you can find Emma behind the bar of a local A&E coffee shop or tending to her vast collection of succulents and houseplants.
Nabeela Washington – Marketing Maverick
From The South to New England, NaBeela is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham & holds a BA in Visual Advertising. She is a proud small business owner and enjoys helping other businesses and non-profits succeed by crafting unique branding and marketing strategies. When she’s not immersed in the community, counting characters, or trying to figure out what inspires others, you can find her binge-watching advertisements, exploring The Greater Boston & New Hampshire area, cooking Southern staples, painting, writing poetry, or taking photographs.