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Our Beginnings - A History of Firsts


Fire Escape originally opened its doors in 1996 in an old building on 15 Ave and 8 St SW in the heart of Mount Royal/Beltline. Our studio was started by Jacqui and J.D. Esler, trendsetters in the contemporary pottery painting movement in Calgary, as it was one of the first and is one of the longest currently running, functioning ceramic studios. 


Our Studio was also one of the earliest to adopt lead free and non-toxic glazes. Fire Escape enjoyed a great deal of popularity in its first location. The Studio had and still has a reputation of being a great place to relax and create for all ages.

Our time in Bowness

Fire Escape Studio moved to Bowness in 2010. Since then we have experienced the warmth of a community that feels like a small town, in the middle of the big city. As involved community members, we helped with Bowness's flood recovery in 2013. We proudly contributed to a number of local schools, charities, and other non-profits organizations and events. 

We closed our Bowness studio at the end of July, 2018. We were sad to go and thank Bowness for 8 wonderful years!

Playing with Mud


Much of the commercial paintable bisqueware in the world is made by pouring liquid clay into a plaster mold. It is allowed to set and then poured out, leaving a hollow item, which is then removed from the mold, cleaned up, and fired. This is the white bisqueware found in most studios.


In another first for our studio -- Fire Escape is now casting a number of our own items. In making our own bisqueware we are able to do a number of things:

We are able to offer lower prices now that we are saving on import fees.

We are now able to show you how to make your own entirely original ceramic items. By working with ceramics in clay form, every piece is fully modifiable from its original basic form.

We are able to bring you a bigger selection of paintable and customizable items through our ever-expanding plaster mold collection.

Calgary Comic and Entertainmen  Expo

Our attendance at Calgary's Comic Expo was a really big first for Fire Escape Studio. It might be one of the worst kept secrets that we have a bunch of Geeks at our studio. It seemed only natural that we head to the Expo in 2017 and show the rest of the community what can be done with pottery painting. We had a great time and we expect to be back in the years to come. It was in preparation for this event that we started the Associated Artist group. This bunch of extremely talented artists helped us produce a number of Sci-fi, Fantasy, and comic related pottery so that we could exhibit and sell their items at the Expo. There is more about this adventure on the Associated Artists page. You can link to our Etsy store and browse several of their items available for purchase, yet another first for Fire Escape Studio.

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