Our Clay Story

Elise and I both “found” clay in high school (early bird pottery class, what’s up?!). It certainly wasn’t love at first sight but triggered intense admiration and fascination – along with the inevitable frustrations – with the medium. We both pursued non-art related paths in college, but our interest in pottery remained. Elise offset her accounting coursework with the random studio clay classes at University of North Dakota and I was an office-holding member in Loyola Chicago’s Clay Club (I swear, it was a real thing and just as art nerdy/fabulous as it sounds) and later took an intro clay class at University of Montana. Fast forward some years – Elise marries my brother and we both end up living + working in Bozeman. I had been out of the clay game for some time and decided to jump back in with back-to-back Emerson Cultural Center pottery classes that ended with me talking Elise into going in together on one of the studio’s old kick wheels. A purchase that prompted us to commandeer a corner in Elise’s home garage and hold nightly clay slinging shenanigans (sorry, Luke). 

As a way to share and showcase our rekindled pottery love, we created @Garage.Potters.

Our least favorite part of Garage Potters was purchasing our supplies. We often resorted to bribing friends and family members to pick up clay, glazes, and tools for us on their trips outside of Bozeman. As we became introduced to the vibrant, local Bozeman potter scene – a group of next-level talented artists and makers – we realized pottery supply purchasing woes weren’t unique to just us.

We are so darn excited to be opening Garage Clay, a Bozeman-area clay and pottery supplies store. We hope this space connects the Bozeman clay community and helps to make ceramics more accessible to both the garage potters and established artists.  

Have a clay day,

Elise + Claire Surma

Elise + Claire Surma

The sister-in-law duo behind Garage Clay with a passion for clay, community, and customer care. When they aren’t carving mountains into pots, you can find them getting lost in them - hiking, camping, skiing, and fly fishing.

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