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

Theresa is (almost) the entire Glass Department at Studio 550. She has an assistant, but we’ll get to him shortly!
She first learned copper-foil method glasswork in 2009 as a sophomore in college. She earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Franklin Pierce University in 2011, specializing in Stained Glass. She has been teaching copper-foil method—alternatively known as Tiffany-Style Stained Glass—since Studio 550 opened in 2013.
Theresa does glasswork full-time with a myriad of diverse objectives: she teaches the craft, does repairs, restores Lead-Came architectural windows, creates custom artwork, and sells at craft fair events and various brick-and-mortar gift shops around Southern New Hampshire (and sometimes beyond). Other objectives are on the horizon soon!
Theresa can most often be found at the studio with the official Stained Glass Studio Assistant, Dodger. He is her Beagle son and the very best boy. His duties include keeping up student morale, delegating break times (to pet him), greeting guests, escorting students to classrooms, and acting as hall monitor. You can find him patrolling the Studio on the weeknights that Theresa teaches, so come on by to learn a bit about glass while getting some high quality dog pets! @riffraffglass

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

Jazmine Jade is CranioSacral Therapist, Reiki Master, and Potter. She loves bringing bodywork and art together to empower others on their healing path. Her private practice is located onsite in Studio 3 to learn more about CranioSacral Therapy and Reiki or book an appointment you can contact her at True Blue Wellness.
In addition to her private practice she works as a pottery instructor and studio tech at Studio 550 and enjoys wheel throwing and sculpting large geologically inspired vessels. Her work is available for purchase in Studio 550’s handmade gift shop.