Help Us Reopen Our Pottery Studio!

$43,182 of $75k goal

Raised by 203 people in 5 months
Susan Weber  WASHINGTON, DC
Help Us Reopen Our Pottery Studio!

 Since Jill Hinckley first opened Hinckley Pottery in 1968, we have offered classes and community to many thousands of adults and children. But now, our future is uncertain. The landlord of our new Washington DC studio has embroiled us in a battle that is costing us funds we do not have. We need your help to reopen so that our more than 200 students a week can once again have a space to create pottery. They may be aspiring or accomplished potters and come to us from all over the United States, Latin America, Europe and as far away as Asia, Africa, New Zealand and Australia. And some have gone on to become professional artists.  Many consider Hinckley Pottery their personal clay studio and an unparalleled resource — a place to get hands dirty, meet interesting people and share the magic of turning mud into functional objects. 

What happened?

 In late 2012, we learned that our lease would not be extended beyond 2015.  Our former landlord, a health care nonprofit, had plans to expand. After 25 years in our thriving studio space, we were forced to move. Two and a half years later we found a large, unused former stable that would be perfect. Though it would take a great deal of work, there was enough room to add a second classroom plus individual workspaces and it was just a short walk from our first pottery studio. We felt we had come full circle in a very good way.

We did our part, but our landlord didn’t do his, and now he’s gone even further and taken legal action against us. 

On July 1, 2015, we signed a 10-year lease with a January 1, 2016, start date and launched plans to transform the space into a functioning pottery studio. The intention was to transition from our old location with no significant down time, move in over a short holiday closure in December 2015, and reopen early in January 2016. 

We refinanced our home and liquidated personal retirement savings to pay for our share of the build out – over $200,000.

On September 2, 2015, a day after we were to take “possession of the premises” to begin work, the property manager called to say there was a delay in installing utilities. There was still no water, gas or electricity. But he assured us things would be ready when our contractors were scheduled to begin in mid October. That did not happen. And now, over a year later, our landlord has still not completed the work. The sprinkler water line is not functional, meaning the space is not legally habitable. 

In the fall of 2015, our contractors discovered that the water line to the sprinkler system did not have enough pressure. A custom-made pump would be required. The landlord ordered one in mid December 2015, but we discovered in June when electricity was finally connected, that it was the wrong voltage and would not work in the building. To fix it requires a $46,600 retrofit that the landlord now claims is our responsibility. We have tried in vain to find a resolution. Instead our landlord is taking us to court! 

We have put virtually all our resources into this move.  Our lost revenue already exceeds $300,000 and continues to climb.  

All we want is to open our pottery studio, start teaching again and get our hands back into the clay — but to do this we need your help! 

Your gift of $25, $100, $1000 or more will go a long way toward saving our studio.

To find out more about us, please check our website: www.hinckleypottery.com
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Update 6
Posted by Susan Weber
2 months ago
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Work is continuing. Our bisque library is being unwrapped, ready to inspire. Over the years, well-known potters have given workshops at our studio. We've saved their demo pots for students to study.
Tomorrow a pre-test of the sprinkler pump is scheduled and if all goes well the retrofit will be inspected sometime next week. We are keeping our fingers crossed there won't be any hiccups.
Part of our library of bisque pots.
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Update 5
Posted by Susan Weber
3 months ago
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Wishing you the very best of holidays and a peaceful and prosperous 2017!
We cannot thank you enough for your generous support and encouragement through a very difficult time. It has meant so much to us and enabled us to resolve some of the problems we were facing. Workers were making final adjustments to the fire pump today and we hope to have city inspections early in January.
The tiny clay house ornament in the photo was made years ago by Joan Gardiner, Jill Hinckley's first apprentice.
Again, many many thanks and best wishes for a peaceful new year!
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Update 4
Posted by Susan Weber
3 months ago
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The good news is that the electrician is busy working on the retrofit, the fire alarm is being installed, and new sprinkler parts are on order and should arrive next week. Tomorrow the sprinkler company rep will map out the remaining work and timeline with us.
Meanwhile, Jill Hinckley's bisque pots wait to be glazed. Soon, soon!
Classes are set to resume in January, registration is now officially open and new students are signing up. But it will be months before we can get back on an even keel financially. That's why your support has been and continues to be incredibly important to us. Thank you so much!
Jill Hinckley's pots wait to be glazed.
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Update 3
Posted by Susan Weber
3 months ago
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It was a happy Thanksgiving! At last, our legal issues have been resolved. And just before the holiday, work began to fix the pump for the sprinkler system.

We are especially thankful for the many supporters who made donations to our fund and sent us words of encouragement. They truly have sustained us through some very dark moments.

By the end of this week, we should know how long it will take to get the studio up and running again. We hope to open for limited studio hours later in December. Class registration begins now and our full class schedule will resume in January.
Jill Hinckley making a 5 minute teapot
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Read a Previous Update
Bet Brohel
3 months ago
1
1

Hi Susan and Jill This is very good news. Congratulations.

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Amy Isaacs
3 months ago
1
1

Fantabulous!!!

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$43,182 of $75k goal

Raised by 203 people in 5 months
Created October 10, 2016
CM
$100
Clay Times Magazine
1 month ago

So glad to see you are making progress in your efforts to re-open the studio. Best of luck to you, Jill ... and thanks for your support of Clay Times throughout the years, too! -- Polly Beach, Editor & Publisher

RM
$100
Rosalia Miller
2 months ago

Congratulations! I never doubted the studio would open again and regally! There are so many of us out there who have a debt of gratitude to Jill for helping us to believe in ourselves through the magic of clay.

$200
Anonymous
2 months ago(Offline Donation)
1
1
$100
John Levin
2 months ago
1
1
DY
$50
David Yin
2 months ago
1
1

Happy holidays -- look forward to your re-opening in 2017!

SB
$200
Sabri Ben-Achour
2 months ago
1
1

Better late than never! I filled this out months ago but apparently didn't hit submit. Merry Xmas!

$200
Katherine Alley
3 months ago
1
1

Happy holidays! Wishing you both the best!

MP
$50
MICHAEL PETERSON
3 months ago
1
1
BR
$25
Barbara Rapp
3 months ago
1
1
$250
Anonymous
3 months ago(Offline Donation)
1
1
Bet Brohel
3 months ago
1
1

Hi Susan and Jill This is very good news. Congratulations.

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Amy Isaacs
3 months ago
1
1

Fantabulous!!!

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