Owner Tonya Johnson came to Louisville from Pike County in 1991 to attend the University of Louisville. While studying for a degree in biology, Tonya decided to enroll in a ceramics class. The class ignited her passion for pottery and changed the path she would follow.

Payne Street Pottery is the realization of both a lifelong love of creating and teaching pottery, and a desire to create an inviting space in which to teach others the joy of working with clay.


  • 1996

    Tonya begins teaching pottery both in schools around the state and at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. She remains an active teacher to this day.

  • 1999

    Tonya graduates with a Master of Arts from the University of Louisville, with a concentration in ceramics. She also builds her own gas reduction kiln.

  • 2000

    Payne Street Pottery opens in August.

  • 2001

    First private class is offered at Payne Street Pottery.

  • 2002

    Expands the number of wheels and starts offering a second-session class on Monday evenings.

  • 2003

    Expands class offerings to three days a week.

  • 2004

    Becomes a vendor at the St. James Court Art Show.

  • 2005

    Adds Friday morning and Thursday afternoon classes.

  • 2006

    Payne Street Pottery moves to 531 North Hite Avenue.

  • 2007

    Begins offering private events and selling pottery supplies.

  • 2008

    Builds and installs a gas soda kiln.

  • 2009

    Tonya is elected Vice President of Louisville Clay.

  • 2013

    Payne Street Pottery begins offering classes on LivingSocial®.