we love Pottery

About us

The SKW Pottery Lab grew out of Sandra K. Webster’s passion for pottery. As a college professor, she advised many students over the years to take Kathy Koop’s the wheel throw pottery class. In the early 1990s she decided to sit in on the wheel throw ceramics class herself. Kathy Koop was delighted to have her as an unofficial auditor.
Webster audited Koop’s classes for ten years, never having to graduate. During that time, she served as a Fulbright Lecturer in Seoul, Korea where she also took a course in Korean pottery techniques at the national museum. As her skills grew she began to show her pottery at a local museum and on the internet. Prior to Kathy Koop’s retirement from Westminster College Sandra K. Webster produced the Koop Retrospective. Ronald Webster photographed the exhibition for the catalog.

In 2011, Westminster College moved the art department from the third floor of an academic building to the basement of a men’s dorm. That meant that the high fire kiln would not be part of ceramic arts at Westminster anymore. Koop was heartbroken because it was such a “sweet” kiln. It had produced so many pots, and fostered so much learning over the years. Webster volunteered to take the kiln, with all that meant. Koop was excited to help Webster design a studio to continue high-fire pottery making. The story of the building is below.
The SKW Pottery Lab began almost fully equipped for work.
The Websters opened their Etsy shop in 2014. Since then the SKW Pottery Lab has been the site of many pottery experiments. Zoning laws restrict using the studio from teaching or direct sales. However, SKW has taught the grandchildren who also delight in clay. During the pandemic the studio did double duty. It continued to be a pottery, but also served as a classroom for both the homeschooling of a grandchild and Webster’s online psychology classes.

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The team

Sandra k Webster


Sandra met her life partner and collaborator while they were both undergraduate students. She established her research psychology career specializing in research design and statistics. Before entering ceramics she used creative energies on crafts, wood working, and sewing. She designed and built costumes for community and college productions. She still sews. She is an avid dancer. The common thread running through her activities is creation of novel, useful, artistic, one of a kind objects.

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Ronald Webster


Ronald Webster began his interest in photography as a scuba diver and extended it through his study of biology. His favorite subjects have been flowers, animals, children, and pots. As an art photographer he strives to get the color and light accurate on images of pottery. After earning graduate degrees in biology and seminary he served as a mission pastor. Later, he worked as an educational technologist and web designer. He is responsible for the technology needs of the SKW Pottery lab. The Websters have two adult children and 4 grandchildren. Ron loves to dance as much as Sandra does.

Reuse Existing Components

Creating A Pottery Lab

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Getting the Kiln

The first job was to move the 17 cubic foot capacity kiln from the 3rd floor of the academic building to Websters’ property. It was too big to fit into the elevator. Webster prayed for 12 strong men to help in the move and 18 showed up that morning. Her friends and their friends worked together to get the kiln down the stairs and onto a trailer without injury to kiln or person! Then it sat in her backyard under tarps waiting for the studio.

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Building the building

We designed the studio to be as large as zoning restrictions and the size of the property allowed. Making it a story and a half provided space for photography, leaving plenty of headroom for the gas kiln. Kathy advised to leave room for lots of shelves. Windows on the east side and a sliding glass patio on the south provide light. Once all the permits were in place the building began.
A team of Amish builders completed the main structure of the building quickly. The in-floor heat makes a comfortable studio without the hazard of fans blowing clay dust. We paid for professional dry walling, plumbing, and a gas line. We completed the rest of the interior. Webster’s son did the woodwork and finishing and taught his mom how to build the furnishings. Eventually it was ready for the kiln.

Reuse Existing Components


Installing the kiln

Many friends again came to help install that large and powerful kiln. A certified kiln engineer hooked it up and we were ready to start making pottery.
Unfortunately, Kathy Koop did not live to see the completion of the studio. Her bisque kiln and many of her tools are still at work in the studio. Koop, in so many ways, is responsible for the existence of the pottery and the passion of the potter. Meanwhile, the college had completed building its new pottery studio. The materials from the old glazing lab could not be used in the new low-fire studio so they gave Webster as much as she could carry away before they disposed of the rest.

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"The SKW Pottery Lab grew out of Sandra K. Webster’s passion for pottery. "