Most people start classes completely new to clay. So, on the first class I start with a demonstration designed for the complete novice. I show students how to (1) prepare the clay for throwing on the potter's wheel (2) center, open, and pull up the walls of a small pot and (3) clean up at the end of class. Then, I move around the room and help each person go through these steps. Practice! Practice! Practice!
As students gain skills, I add more advanced demonstrations that build on each other: a small pot, to a larger/taller pot, to a bottle or pitcher. One simple cup, to matching cups, to matching mugs with handles. Even a lidded pot can evolve to become a teapot when you add extra parts (spout and handle).
When I have a more advanced student join me for the first time, I like to spend some time observing his or her skills before offering individual instruction. As my own students become more advanced, I get them more involved in the clay working process by including them when loading and unloading kilns, recycling and pugging clay, and mixing glazes. Participating in other types of firing also encourages a more serious approach.
Classes at Payne Street Pottery
When you sign up for one of our evening classes, we will meet for two hours, once a week, for 6 weeks. When you sign up for one of our morning classes, we will meet for two and a half hours, once a week, for 5 weeks. Either way, we start out with a focus on wheel throwing, although I do try to incorporate a little hand-building for a change of pace. However, I occasionally have a student who will want to hand-build only, which is not a problem and sometimes I have a student who is not interested in hand-building at all-- also not a problem.
Each class may have as few as 5 or 6, or as many as 10 or 11 students. In this group there are usually at least 2 or more brand new students. The rest will have varying amounts of experience. Then what I do is get the new folks started while the continuing students warm up or get to work on whatever they have in mind. As the class progresses, I just bounce around the room and see what everyone is working on and help as needed. I regularly introduce new projects and demonstrate often, although my continuing folks usually have something in mind they want to work on. The price is $175 and includes all clay, glaze, tools, and firing expenses for beginners. However, as students take additional classes, they gain skills and are able to produce more and larger pieces, possibly resulting in additional materials fees.
During the course of 5 or 6 weeks, a student may need to miss a class, especially during the summer months when folks are always running into vacation scheduling. So, if you miss a class, you will be offered the opportunity to double up on one of the other weeks for a make-up.
Classes are from 6-8 pm on Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday evenings (6-weeks). I also have a Monday morning class from 9:30 am till 12:00 pm (5-weeks) Wednesday evening is currently for more experienced students. There is a new session that will start every January, March, May, July, September, and November. If you'd like to get in on the next session, send me an email with your first and second choice of day/times and I´ll add your name to that class sign up list. A $25 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your place. You can pay the remainder on the first class. Please feel free to call or email if you would like to come by during one of our classes or if you have any questions.
*gift certificates available