By Natasha Anderson
If you’re interested in trying your hand at pottery but are intimidated by the medium, look no further than Plays in Mud Pottery in West Asheville. Owner and artist Kelsey Schissel offers a number of opportunities to work with clay even for those who are true novices.
“My favorite class to teach is the four-week BYOB Friday evening class,” says Schissel. “It is fast-paced, fun and offers instant gratification.”
Students start by making two flat slab plates with decoration, then two wall pockets. They build on their skills in the second class to make a bowl and finally a wine glass. During the third session, participants glaze their pieces and in the fourth they unload them from the kiln. Each person usually walks away with six to eight finished pieces.
“I love the progression of the class and how much students learn in a short time,” says Schissel. “Someone who has never touched clay will be successful in this class.”
A new, four-week version of the Beginner Wheel Throwing Pottery class provides participants with an opportunity to get their feet wet in pottery without the commitment of a longer class. Students will end up with three to four pieces they have thrown.
“This class is fun, but more complicated because students are learning to center clay which is not an easy process,” says Schissel.
For potters who are experienced but need a little help finding their style, Schissel recommends her four week-intensive course focused on mugs and handles. This class meets twice per week and teaches skills including how to attach handles and how to create a balanced design.
Other options include eight-week classes for beginner and intermediate potters and single session experiences for date night, girls night out, wedding parties and other groups. Each participant can expect to make at least four pieces of pottery utilizing four different techniques: hand-building, coil-building, pinching and extrusion. Students select from six different glaze colors. The pieces are fired, glazed and carefully packaged and shipped to participants.
“The studio is stocked with just about every tool you could need for working with clay,” says Marya Oakes, who completed an eight-week hand-building class at Plays in Mud. “I have taken a few pottery classes over the years and this was hands-down the best experience I’ve ever had.”
For a class schedule and registration, visit PlaysInMud.com. Plays in Mud Pottery is located at 735C Haywood Road in West Asheville.