pottery classes near me MetroWest Milford Framingham ceramics

Creating art to give as gifts to friends and family may sound like something out of a kids’ art class, but at several local studios and businesses, making things is great for all ages.

Hannah Carleton knows this firsthand. She took up ceramics in college “just as a fun lesson and a stress reliever – and fell in love with it.”

Now the 28-year-old is the proud owner of PYOP Studio in Northborough. The pottery shop offers paintable biscuit clothing: everything from cups and trays to ornaments, fairy houses and animals of all shapes and sizes. Plus, there are a lot of gnomes and gnome houses, which her mother loves, she says.

Bisqueware is clay that has been fired at least once – and is ready for painting or glazing before returning to the kiln for a final firing. PYOP offers painting and clay classes, where customers can come in, paint an object and pick it up a week later.

Carleton was able to ride out the pandemic through grants and by offering contactless pick-up of paint-to-go paint kits, which was a huge success — first over the phone and then on its new website.

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“A lot of times when people walk through the door just to check, they ask me if they have to have any talent or ability to be able to do this,” she said. “Absolutely not.”

Also, “people like to be able to create something they can use.”

get your hands dirty

“My whole business model has gone from little kids and after-school art to adults wanting to paint, hand-build and make clay,” said Kathy Wotton, owner of Arts Studio in Bellingham, who offers ceramics classes for 10 year olds. and up to.

Artworks Studio operates out of ConnectEd & Inspired, also an art space. Both companies will soon be moving to new premises in town.

Wotton said she suspects a few factors were at play in more people wanting to get their hands dirty and do things; the popularity of “The Great Pottery Throw Down”, which looks a bit like the Great British Bake-Off, but where contestants are covered in clay rather than flour; companies offering wheels that are cheaper than a laptop; and people coming out of the pandemic wanting to take up new hobbies.

Additionally, video content on YouTube and TikTok has brought ceramics to new audiences.

But YouTube tutorials aren’t necessarily all you need. Handling clay on the wheel is all about muscles, tension and breathing — and the stress doesn’t help, Wotton explained.

“I’ve had kids walk into the studio and say, ‘I watched YouTube, maybe I don’t need your help,'” she said. “It gave them a little bit of confidence – and they’re the people who go down the fastest.”

How to throw a pot

Wotton said it can be hard for people to pursue a hobby they’re going to fail at — a lot, at least at first. She likened tossing a pot to a dance, with a definite motion for each step of manipulating the clay: centering the ball, turning it into a flat disc, finding the middle of that disc to press a hole into it to form the pot. , opening up, then pulling the clay from the bottom to form the walls.

“It’s one of those things like yoga. You’re here to work out,” she said. in a few, because it takes time.”

When students take pottery classes in college, they are often given practical exercises like throwing a dozen cylinders and then throwing them. But for new potters, having nothing to show of their working hours can be daunting, so Wotton will guide them to ensure they have at least one thing to show at the end of the course for their progress. The initial wobbly bowls may not make great gifts, but even a twisted vessel can hold water, jewelry, or a plant.

Handcrafting is also an option. Handmaking, another ceramic technique, involves cutting and pressing together slabs and shapes to create objects. It’s extremely free compared to wheel throwing in part because the clay doesn’t move while you’re working on it.

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Wotton said it can be difficult for new students to let go of the perfectionist part of themselves: if you keep tugging and tugging on a piece, playing with walls and the profile of a pot on the wheel, the whole thing can collapse.

“We’re all about the wonky pots,” she said, because those initial wonky bowls can still hold paperclips, jewelry, or even a plant. “Every mistake brings you closer to doing well…they have to do everything wrong first.

(Mental Health

Carleton said painting your own pottery was popular during the pandemic and beyond because it was something everyone could participate in. For the art-inclined artists, they could paint intricate designs, and for the less creative, multiple layers of glaze would melt together in one go in the kiln, giving each piece a personal touch.

And there are plenty of tips and tricks. The pencil, for example, burns out while being drawn, so painting something intricate could be as simple as just coloring inside the lines.

Painting pottery “didn’t necessarily get people out of the house, just being home, alone and isolated, and having nothing to do – and I think people are realizing how much such things affect their mental health,” Carleton said. “Having activities that they could do during this time has been helpful for people and I think post-pandemic people really enjoy trying to keep that in their lives.”

Wotton said his students also experience a sense of timelessness in the classroom. They are often surprised that two hours have passed while they were working the clay.

“My students often say to me, ‘I haven’t thought about my work for the past two hours,'” Wotton said. “It gives the mind time to rest, even if it is concentrating on something else.”

She said she hoped there could be more creative spaces for people of all ages in Bellingham and beyond.

“I think being able to provide space for people to have an opportunity to relax and do something fun can contribute to good health,” Carleton added. “It’s great for everyone.”

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