January 18, 2024 by Natali Carrera
Hello, readers! I’ve recently embarked on a fascinating journey, one that involves getting my hands dirty – quite literally. I’ve been taking a ceramics wheel throwing class at a local art studio, and it’s been nothing short of amazing. Though I’ve had some exposure in the past, it had been years since I took a formal course, and a recent one-time pop-up event with local potter Kin + Clay made me realize how much I still enjoyed working with clay, and that I wanted to do it again. It’s not just about shaping clay; it’s about the experience of creating something, meeting new people, interacting with local artists, and a newfound appreciation for art.
The Joy of Learning Something New
Participating in a new class or hobby, like ceramics, brings a multitude of benefits. For starters, it’s incredibly therapeutic. There’s something about the tactile nature of clay that calms the mind and soothes the soul. (If you’re a perfectionist like me, it’s a great place to practice easing off of your tendencies a bit, as wheel throwing forces you to stop working on a piece that’s already good, because you might topple it if you keep going!) It’s also a fantastic way to meet people. I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with local artists and fellow hobbyists, all while learning a skill that’s both ancient and perpetually new.
As a parent who also runs a non-profit full-time (in addition to writing for FresYes), it’s difficult to find time for hobbies – as I’m sure is the case for the vast majority of adults. However, can I encourage you to consider trying to make the time anyway? It’s taken me years to do something like this that’s just for me, and in just a few short weeks, it’s already greatly enhanced my life and brought a lot of joy.
Engaging in creative activities like this can boost your mental health, ignite your imagination, and even enhance your problem-solving skills. I encourage you to consider diving into a new hobby – it might just be the refreshing new adventure you didn’t know you were looking for in 2024.
Ceramics Classes in Fresno
As Fresnans, we’re lucky, as the local art scene is growing and there are several places currently offering ceramics classes.
1. Scarab Gallery: Located in Downtown Fresno, Scarab offers several series of ceramics wheel classes with instructor Hannah Witter. The classes cater to beginners and intermediate potters, and cover various aspects like clay preparation, wheel throwing techniques, and glazing. The cost per class series is $245, and all materials, tools, and kiln firings are included. They also have a ‘Ceramics Wheel Try Night’ led by Raquel Ewalt, perfect for those who want a taste of pottery before committing to a full course. Visit their website for additional information or to enroll here.
2. Good Dirt Pottery Studio: Located in Northwest Fresno, Good Dirt Pottery Studio offers ongoing classes in Beginning Wheel Throwing and Beginning Hand Building, each spanning four weeks with 2-hour sessions, priced at $225 and $199 respectively. They also have “Try Nights” for beginners to experience wheel throwing, priced at $65 per person, which includes two pieces for glazing and firing. Additionally, they provide homeschool pottery classes for kids, focusing on both wheel throwing and hand building. For more details, you can visit their website here.
3. Clay Hand Studios: Located Downtown, Clay Hand Studios offers classes in handbuilding and wheel throwing. The handbuilding class, led by Ren Lee, runs on Sundays from 1-4 PM with new sessions starting the first Sunday of every month. It’s suitable for all levels, including beginners, and covers basic techniques. The wheel throwing class, conducted by Jason Haskins, is held on Wednesday evenings from 5-8 PM. These small classes are introductory-level and focus on developing pottery skills and creating ceramic vessels. Both classes include materials, tools, and firing. The fee for each four-week class is $150. For more information and to sign up, you can visit their website here.
4. Clay Mix: Also located Downtown, Clay Mix classes are suitable for all skill levels. They provide wheel-throwing classes on various days, including morning and evening options, with each session lasting 7 weeks and costing $225. These classes are designed to teach basic skills to beginners and allow intermediate and advanced students to explore new techniques. Additionally, they offer a Glazing and Surface Decoration Class and a course on Firing Electric Kilns. The fees for these classes include a bag of clay and firing fees for work created during class. For more details and to register, you can visit their website here.
I highly recommend giving ceramics, whether wheel throwing or hand building, a try. It’s a fulfilling, enriching experience that offers more than just a beautiful piece of art – it’s a journey into creativity, community, and personal growth. Happy throwing!
Natali Carrera is a devoted coffee addict who also loves her teenage son, her husband of 21 years, and shopping local. She is the founder & CEO of parent support non-profit Success Together, Inc. and has been a freelance content creator for FresYes.com for 9 years. Natali is an unrelenting cheerleader for, and lifelong resident of Fresno as well as a Fresno State alum.