The Shops

Part of what makes Risley so special is that residents have access to 11 Fine Arts Shops and Studios in the dungeon of our castle. There’s plenty of space down here to let your creativity fly or to try out something new.

Risley provides community members with 11 artist workshops that range from letterpress, to wood shop, to jewelry making. Every week, volunteer student managers spend two hours a week holding "Office Hours" and educating any Risley Resident or Out-of-House Member. No appointment or experience needed! Simply check our "Squidserv" or check out our upcoming events on Campus Groups!

Shops are only available for Risley residents and Out-of-House members. Please observe all shop rules and regulations when using the shops, and please leave the space in the same or better condition as you found it!

The Risley Ministry for Arts and Shops Development (RMASD) meets on Sundays at 7:00pm in the Central Living Room.

Shop managers, the RMASD Executive Board, Risley RHD, The Risley Artist-in-Residence (AIR), and interested residents all attend these weekly meetings to plan programs and ensure that all of the shops are meeting Cornell's Environment, Health, and Safety standards!

*Access to the Risley Shops will be unavailable for Fall 2020 due to COVID-19.*

Shop Managers are currently brainstorming ways to conduct safe programming either in a virtual setting or in a socially distanced setting.

About the Shops

Pottery Shop

The ceramics studio provides clay and glazes for both thrown or hand-built projects. No experience with clay is necessary and managers are happy to teach anyone new to ceramics how to work with the medium. All kiln firings are done in the studio space and work can be fired up to a cone 10, in an electric kiln. For those familiar to ceramics, there are opportunities to make custom glazes and modify the clay bodies. Unfortunately, due to material, space and safely constraints, we do not do reduction, raku, or sagger firings.

Digital Media Shop

In the Digital Media shop, one can sign out a camera for filming, and then edit these pieces using software on the computer. A 3D printer and CAD software are available.

Sewing Shop

In the Sewing Shop, one can make any item consisting of fabric, which may include: pillows, blankets, stuffed figurines, costumes, bags, and banners. The materials required might include: any kind of fabric, thread, buttons, zippers, and fringe decorations. Tools required may include: sewing needles and/or machines, push pins and safety pins, scissors, markers, measuring tapes, and patterns.

Art Shop

In the art shop, one may make various art, fine art, or craft projects , as well as use the space for other events if need be (perhaps designated as a “Flex-Space.”) Ventilation currently allows for oil, acrylic, and tempura work, but not for spray paint. The materials required might include palettes, yarn, embroidery, fabric, oil and acrylic paint, markers, staples, stickers, rubber bands, sealant, rubbing alcohol, primer, powder tempura, chalk, colored pencils, wooden dowels, feathers, paper, and foam rolls. Tools required might include: respirators, brushes, glue gun, and cleaning supplies.


In the Darkroom, one can develop film and print photographs. The materials required for the Darkroom shop might include: chemicals (including developer, fixer, stop bath, photo-flo, toner), instruments for mixing chemicals, storage containers, 35mm film, 120mm film, large format film, photographic paper, as well as the relevant tools, such as enlargers, thermometers, developing tanks, film dryers, grain focusers, timers, safelights, a mini-fridge and cameras. Supplemental materials may include film scanners, hoods. Relevant facilities materials may include a ventilation/exhaust system, overhead lights, a sink.

Wood & Metal Shop

In the wood shop, one can make any item using wood as the main material. The materials required might be: wood, metal parts (such as screws), and wood glue. The hand tools required might be: screwdrivers, hammers, hacksaws, measuring tapes, clamps, safety goggles, and pencils. The power tools might include: a band saw, table saw, and scroll saw. Hand tools will also be labelled, with clear ownership to the Wood Shop.

Letterpress Shop

In the letterpress shop, one can make their own printed posters and writings. The materials required for the shop might include: printing blocks, paper, and different colors of ink. The required tools might include: a letterpress.

Recording Studio and Sound Garden

In the recording studio, one can record their own music. The equipment might include: soundboards, microphones, and a computer. In the Sound Garden Shop, one can make their own music. The instruments required might include: a drum set, speakers, microphones, upright pianos, a keyboard, and bongos. Equipment might include: instrument stands, speakers, small hand tools, metal parts, and cables.

Jewelry Shop

In the Jewelry shop, one can make their own jewelry, such as rings, earrings, and necklaces. The materials required might include: beads, string, wire, shells, clasps, jump rings, and twine. The tools required might include: necklace trays, wire cutters, measuring tapes, (crimping, flat-, chain-, and round-nose) pliers, bead boards, and scissors.

Stained Glass Shop

In the stained glass shop, one can produce pieces of stained glass. The materials required for stained glass might include: stained glass, solder, foil, flux, as well as the relevant tools, such as a soldering iron, a grinder, and cutters.