The Merrill Pottery Co-Op is a UCSC student-run ceramics cooperative. Located in the basement of Merrill College A-dorms, the co-op was founded in 1970. At that time, UCSC had ceramics emphasis as part of its Art Major. In fact, UCSC had one of the most vibrant ceramics departments in the US, there were pottery co-ops located in 2 other colleges. Unfortunately, over the years, the other co-ops were closed by their College Administrative officers to make room for college employee offices. The nationally known Ceramics department was dismantled by UCSC in the mid 80's or 90's as part of their approach to de-emphasize "crafts" and focus more on art. Crafts were looked down upon by UCSC admin as being too pedestrian (something women and people in 3rd world countries pursued), "art" was considered more serious.
A bit of trivia:Santa Cruz Mayor Hilary Bryant used to be a student manager at the co-op.
The current studio offers two studios: one for throwing and building, and another for glazing. Outside a gas firing kiln completes the facility.
To join the co-op, students must attend a mandatory orientation meeting and agree to abide by membership rules. Upon paying membership dues, they are issued a key or access code. The membership drive happens annually during the first two or three weeks of fall quarter.
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