Merrill Pottery Co-op

The Merrill Pottery Co-Op is RE-OPENING! Information about how to sign-up and how to contact the Co-Op is below.


The Merrill Pottery Co-Op is a student-run ceramics cooperative founded in 1970. It is located in the basement of the Merrill A Building. With views of the redwood forest, the Co-Op features two studios: one for throwing and building, the other for glazing. Outside, a gas firing kiln completes the facility.

What's a Co-Op?

A cooperative is a group of people who collectively own and operate a business or resource. A Co-op is non-hierarchical, and members share equally in responsibilities, benefits, and decisions.

Who is eligible to join?

Normally, the Merrill Pottery Co-Op is open to all types of community members including but not limited to alumni, family members of staff, students from community colleges, etc. This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are limiting enrollment/membership to UCSC affiliates ONLY. Merrill students will have a certain number of reserved spaces, however membership is open to all current UCSC students and Staff. You will need a GREEN BADGE to become a member.  

How to Join

Thank you so much for your patience with us in responding to your inquiries about the Pottery Co-Op opening this year. Unfortunately we had to shut down because of safety concerns around COVID-19. These past couple of months we have been working directly with the university admin to outline what it would take to reopen safely. We have come to an agreement and ARE FINALLY OPENING!!! However, there is a list of requirements that need to be met in order for us to proceed successfully.

COVID Safety Protocols:

  1.  Membership for the 2021-2022 academic year will be restricted to UCSC Affiliates only. (Undergrads, Graduate students, and Staff). At orientation, proof of UCSC green badge must be shown for admittance.
  2. Masks are required in the studio at all times, NO EXCEPTIONS, a two strike rule will be enforced and if you cannot comply you will be asked to leave with no refund.
  3. HEPA filters will be on at all times, in addition to windows being opened. We will have hand sanitizer and surface cleaner on hand.

Membership Info and Requites:

  1. Must attend at least one orientation date.
  2. Membership will be given on a first come first serve basis upon successful completion of the orientation and safety quizzes. 
  3. Seven work hours per-quarter requisite for membership. (If this is not met, you will be asked to leave with no refund).
  4. $200 membership fee for 24/7 access during the academic school year.
  5. Having a background in ceramics is great, but we do not require any formal training and encourage everyone of all skill levels to apply.
  6. We are not a production studio and cannot accommodate high volumes of work.
  7. We will hold a select number of spots for students who are Merrill affiliates.
  8. We will hold a select number of spots for students who are in their last year of university.

Orientation Info:

  1. UCSC green badge required for attendance.
  2. We will open the doors 5 minutes before orientation begins, and we will close the doors once we reach 20 people inside each room (40 people total per orientation slot, please do not show up early or form a line, we may ask you to leave if you arrive too early).
  3. Attendance will be taken and please have student ID numbers and UCSC emails ready.
  4. Must attend both mud room and glaze room orientations, be prepared to take notes. 
  5. We will send out via email a safety/membership quiz to all orientation attendees, membership will ONLY be given to individuals who successfully complete this quiz with 100% accuracy, and memberships will be conferred on a first come first serve basis.

2021-2022 Orientation Dates:


  • Thursday, October 21, 11:30am-1:30pm, 5pm-7pm
  • Friday, October 22, 2pm-4pm
  • Saturday, October 23, 9am-11am, 1:30pm-3:30


The Merrill Programs and Leadership office handles all the administrative functions of the Pottery Co-Op. The College Programs Coordinator is the fiscal manager and staff advisor of the Pottery Co-Op. Decisions about expenditures rest with the Pottery Co-Op student managers and/or Co-Op members. Work-trade student managers can enjoy free membership in exchange for undertaking leadership responsibilities. These include mentoring/training others in glaze chemistry and firing techniques, overseeing workgroups, ordering supplies, conducting cleanup and facilities organization and inventory. Student managers are subject to dismissal by consensus if they do not fulfill the responsibilities of the position.

I Don't Know How to Clay

Co-Op members can pursue a variety of ceramic interests in the studio, from hand-building to throwing on the wheel. One does not need great artistic ability, nor extensive experience in ceramics to become a member. The Co-op welcomes all who are interested in CLAY, COMMUNITY, and CREATIVITY.

For more information, email