Pottery Studio

Pottery Studio and classes update 

We are in the midst of organizational changes at the studio – as a result of COVID, several of our instructors moved away from the area or chose to discontinue pottery due to the lapse of arts and craft fairs / selling activities. We are working to identify new instructors and develop a class schedule with the hope to resume pottery classes sometime this Fall, ideally in September. Please keep an eye out on our website, which is where we will publish the class schedule once we have pulled it together.

The YMCA at Virginia Tech is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone who enters our doors. There are growing concerns about the potential spread of coronavirus, and in an effort to keep you and your family healthy and prevent the spread of germs, we are sharing some important information.

We are canceling specific YMCA at VT sponsored events and putting some of our programming on pause until we have a better idea about the trajectory of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease in our community.

Pottery Classes will be paused until further notice




The Y opened the Corning Inc. Foundation Pottery Studio and Jean Cairns’ Arts and Crafts Studio on January 17, 2011.  The two rooms, located within the Y Center, provide community members an opportunity to express ideas, to communicate beyond the limits of language and to discover creative talents.

Y Pottery Studio Passes

Membership to the pottery studio requires taking a 6 or 8 week pottery class before signing up for a membership, regardless of prior clay experience. Monthly membership is $45/month with longer term membership discounts available. Only a few memberships are available at any one time, and usually there is a wait-list to gain access to a membership, so a class is the best way to gain immediate access to the studio. We fire to cone 6 and requires that your clay be purchased from the studio (no outside clay allowed). Clay can be purchased new in a 25lb. bag or recycled. With membership, you will get your own 2' x 2' shelf, and gain access to wheels, hand building tables, shared tools, glazes and more. Studio passes offer an affordable alternative to the set up and maintenance costs of individual studio space and provide a community of artists for learning, inspiration and companionship.  Studio membership dues can be deducted by automatic payment or can be paid yearly.  Please contact mlaroche@vtymca.org for more details and/or to be added to the waiting list.

Studio Hours and Location

The studio is open from 9am to 7pm (same hours as the Thrift Shop) Monday-Saturday and Sunday 12pm to 5pm, except for times when there is a class in session.  Please check the calendar next to the studio door for weekly information about open studio hours, or give us a call at 540-961-9622.  Please use the front doors of the building to enter and exit the studio and leave the studio before the building is locked and the alarm set.

Pottery classes will be held at the Y Center (1000 N Main St, Blacksburg VA)

Pottery Studio Calendar

Meet the Instructors


Michael LaRoche manages the Pottery Studio while making functional stoneware pottery for Michael LaRoche Dirtworks Pottery, showing his work throughout Virginia. He has been a member of the Blue Ridge Potters Guild since 2012, and has been teaching pottery at the YMCA since 2008.

Stephanie Duston

Stephanie has a BS in Environmental Science and is a current graduate student at Virginia Tech studying soil chemistry. She first started taking ceramic classes in 2012 and has been pursuing ceramics as her major hobby since 2015. Stephanie is part of of the Blue Ridge Potters Guild and does most of her work as a member of the  MCA studio. She uses wheel throwing and hand building methods to make functional pottery with textural clay and glaze designs. Her work is available online and can be found at local and regional craft shows.


Ayla Mullen has a BA in Environmental Political Theory and Ceramics from Marlboro College. She continued her ceramic education at the Penland School of Crafts, as well as a 2.5 year apprenticeship with local potter Ellen Shankin, which she completed in 2017. Ayla currently works as a full time studio potter in Floyd, focusing on wheel thrown functional pottery with botanically inspired surface designs. Her work is available online and at craft shows regionally, as well as at Troika Contemporary Craft Gallery in downtown Floyd.