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. View her work on her website.
“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 slinging mud for over 10 years. 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 or reading history books.
Theresa Caulkins – Stained Glass & Drawing Instructor
Theresa stumbled upon Stained Glass by pure accidental whim as an undergrad at Franklin Pierce University and it completely altered the course of her degree. Ever a sucker for light, color, meticulous detail, and balance, Theresa was easily led into the underbelly of Tiffany-style Stained Glass. This has since become her primary medium of choice.
If you’re looking for a cross between a personal challenge to upend with every new endeavor and a relaxing, fun hobby, Theresa is happy to teach you the tools of the trade. She is a proud dog mom and can be found at many local craft shows. Since 2014/5 she has also taught the Intro to Drawing class. Visit her website.
Liz Johnson – Ceramics Instructor & Studio Assistant
Liz received her BFA from the New Hampshire Institute of Art in 2012. She studied abroad in Japan with various teachers and artists from around the world at the 2011 Tokyo ISCAEE symposium. She has extensive experience as a production potter at several different studios, and now owns her own studio in Methuen, MA.
She loves the beach, blues and greens, and is always interested in hearing your recommendations for the next fantasy/fiction audiobook she should check out. View her work at Earth Cut Pottery.
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 Windham Junction, 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