Apprentice DaysLeslie Nieto, Owner - I grew up in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, where I first started my studio. I discovered an interest in clay with a pottery class I took in Jr. High School. It was just basic hand building techniques, like slab and coil work, but it was enough to plant a seed. The first time I had access to a pottery wheel, I was in High School. After my very first session on the potter's wheel, I was hooked! I began going every day to practice, and spent as much time as I could in the school's ceramics room. Working in clay became my passion. Even then, I knew I wanted to be a potter.

LeslieWorkAfter High School, I wasn’t really sure what one would do to become a professional potter. There was no set rule or recipe that I had ever heard of. It wasn’t like, go to college for four years, get a degree, voila you are a pro. So, I called around every place in the phone book that mentioned the word “pottery”, looking for work and a place to learn. I was lucky enough to find a studio that could use my help, and I went to work as a potter's apprentice.

The Mud Place, now in it's 13th year, began in my heart well before I even knew I wanted to try and run a business, and I am so grateful for the chance. It started as a late-night conversation and was really just a dream that grew. Today I work from my Melbourne, Florida studio, where I design, produce and teach pottery to the impassioned who want to live on their art. I am the inventor of the Sewing Station and hold that US patent. While it isn't all just playing in the mud, I really love my job.


Cassidy Books, Studio Manager - Cassidy began her clay journey in hand building and slab construction. She started at The Mud Place as an apprentice and because of her enthusiasm and dedication to clay, she quickly worked her way up to Studio Manager. Adding clay to her portfolio is a step towards her dream of becoming an art therapist. She enjoys sharing in the creation of art with special needs children and adults.

Tony Da Silva, Potter  - Tony started making pots in Brazil until coming to the States. He makes pots of great variety from large sinks to tiny vases that fit in the palm of your hand.

 Interested in joining our team? We are always looking for qualified people who share our love of clay. Tell us about yourself on our jobs page.