About Black Hound Clay Studio

Founded in 2016, Black Hound Clay Studio came to be because of an acute need for studio space for ceramic artists in West Philadelphia. BHCS strives to be a socially conscious community space welcoming folks of all ages, races, sexual orientations and abilities to experience clay. 

BHCS Staff


Bethany Rusen, Founder & Studio director | blackhoundclay@gmail.com

Bethany graduated with a BFA from Tyler School of Art in 2003 and earned her MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth in 2010.  In her non-existent spare time, she likes to go through other people’s trash, read obscure books on infrastructure and scour the internet for Richard Nixon memorabilia. She lives in a townhouse in West Philadelphia full of strange things. Her hair is usually pink.



Mackenzie Vaughan Pikaart | Studio Technician & Facilities Manager | BHCSFacilities@gmail.com

Philadelphia-based artist Mackenzie Vaughan Pikaart’s work focuses on memories, the awareness of space, and creating visual platforms for statistics. She honed her craft while studying at The University of the Arts, receiving a BFA in Crafts concentrating in Ceramics.  Since graduating Pikaart has become an accomplished collage, installation and sculpture artist. Some of Pikaart’s spectacular pieces have been shown throughout the greater Philadelphia area and in her home state of Connecticut. Now with Pikaart't home studio, at Black Hound Clay Studio, her focus is on exploring slip casting through underglaze transfers for tableware. Carving pattern making, layering and color studies are created through this process and help gather information for future lines of work. 


Aliza Schweitzer | Studio Manager & Membership Coordinator | BHCSmembers@gmail.com

Aliza is an artist, baker, and dog enthusiast. They completed their BFA in Ceramics with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies at Alfred University in 2018. Aliza was an apprentice at Moravian Pottery and Tile Works in the fall of 2018 and has since been developing their tile portfolio. In their spare time, they love to cook and be in a fuzzy blanket before 11pm.

DEvan Spear | Studio Assistant

Devan Spear has been walking around Philadelphia covered in clay for nearly five years. Her current work focuses on the manipulation of clay bodies and largely forgoes the addition of color via slip, underglaze, or glaze. When she's not wrist-deep blue porcelain, you can find her attempting to weave or eating bread.