Mudslingers Introductory Class

Marilyn Heasley getting creative in the pottery studio

Introductory class participants working on pinch pots

Marilyn Heasley

I’ll start by saying I lack the artistic gene. I can write accolades describing amazing pieces of work, but don’t expect anyone to be writing platitudes of my works.

I needed something other than golf and exercise classes. Two friends convinced me to join them for the Mudslingers (aka Pottery) introductory class, so I signed up.

There were six of us in the class, some having tried pottery before, others not having touched clay since making an ashtray for their parents when they were a child. Our two instructors, Claire and Rebecca, were both wonderful guides, patiently showing us what to do every step of the way.

Our class focused on pinch pots, starting out small and getting a feel for how it all comes together. We first learned how to cut a portion of clay from a huge clay brick. That was after Rebecca showed us how you temper the clay by tossing it to the ground to “wake it up.” Woke us up! We then estimated a pound piece of clay and cut through it with a thin wire.

We separated the clay into two balls and rolled each one around until it was spherical in shape. It was like working with pastry dough, making sure there were no cracks in the clay.

Once we had our two balls to work with, everyone went on their own separate journey to greatness. I was impressed by the artistic and creative ability I was seeing around me from my classmates. And we got to watch Claire turn a basic vase into an amazing piece, creating and changing as she went along.

Once we were done with our pieces, we labeled them and wrapped them in plastic to dry, checking on them a day or so later to make sure there were no cracks that needed to be fixed and that they were drying well. They were then unwrapped and set on a shelf to go into the kiln.

The next step, after the kiln, was glazing, an interesting process. Our terrific instructors, Vicki and Bonnie, patiently guided us as we chose what colors to glaze our pieces with. But first and foremost, our hands needed to be very clean, with no hint of oils on them. Then we had to clean our pottery of any dust or dirt. Before painting or dipping our pieces, we waxed the bottom of each to keep the glaze from running to the bottom which would then adhere the piece to the kiln, a no-no.

The next decision was whether to paint the glaze on or dip it. We all chose to do both. Once done, pieces were put on a tray and set on the shelf for the final kiln visit. Our creations were finished!

So, if you’ve ever wondered about trying pottery, sign up for the introductory class. We have a great facility and talented and patient Mudslingers around to help you discover your new talent.