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Explore creativity with paint-your-own pottery classes

By Susan Shinn

For the Salisbury Post

Interested in exploring the world of pottery, but not sure you’re ready for the wheel? Why not try some paint-your-own pottery classes?

Since August, Pottery 101, at 101 S. Main St., has been offering these classes, which have been a big hit. The two-hour classes cost $35 each, and all supplies are included. Upcoming Monday classes include a Frankencan on Oct. 13, a Halloween-themed ceramic piece shaped like a paint can; a floral platter on Oct. 20; an egg tray on Nov. 13; and a Christmas project on Nov. 20.

“We’ve just been trying to think of different ways to introduce pottery to people,” said Cheryl Goins, owner of Pottery 101. “Everybody doesn’t want to come to the wheel to get messy”

Tile parties are also available. For $10, you can spend an hour painting a tile, which gives you a taste of what pottery’s all about. The next tile party is set for Nov. 6, when participants will paint a snowman tile. This past Monday evening, seven ladies got together to paint a colorful fish tile.

To create a batik-style background, the women first painted the 6-inch by 6-inch tiles, then furiously waved small paper plates over them to dry. Next, they painted wax resist on the tiles.

“We want all of our lines connected, because with the wax, you’re creating barriers,” said Jerissa Clifton. By day, she’s an event planner at Catawba College, and by night, teaches the paint-your-own classes and tile parties.

The wax kept each color in its own space.

“The thicker your line is, the more bold the outline of your fish,” Jerissa said.

There wasn’t much chit-chat during class time. The women were intent on their work.

Robin-Lee Smith, who works at the VA, takes pottery classes on Tuesday night. Cheryl explained that pottery students often serve as guinea pigs for tile party patterns.

“She’s an old hand at this,” Cheryl said of Robin-Lee.

Robin-Lee in turn recruited two students from the UNC Dental School, who are doing a rotation at the VA.

“This was something fun for them to do,” Robin-Lee said of Elana Celliers, from Connecticut, and Christina Shaw, from Massachusetts. And yes, they both have gorgeous teeth.

“She’s showing us the area,” Christina said.

As they worked, the women began to add different colors to their fish and to the coral that surrounded the creatures. A few swipes with a hair dryer helped the paint dry quickly.

“You’re not painting,” Jerissa said. “You’re floating the color in those spaces.”

At the next table, Robin Mashburn, Meta Fisher and Patty Messick all worked companionably. The women work at Trinity Living Center. Joining them was Lisa Kluttz, who works at Trinity Oaks Health and Rehab.

“I saw this on Facebook, and I said, ‘That’s what I want to do,’” Meta said. She invited her friends to join her.

“This is fun,” she said. “It kinda relieves a little pressure after work.”

The tile parties are offered at 6-7 p.m., 7-8 p.m. or 8-9 p.m. Celeste Ward came early for the 7 p.m. class on Monday. She also participated in the recently paint-your-own teapot party.

“It’s so whimsical,” she said. “I’ve put it on my sun porch.”

The fish tile, she said, would be for her exercise room, which has a beach theme.

“I just like different things,” Celeste said. “I can do this and it’s fun.”

For more information about the paint your own pottery classes and the tile parties, call Pottery 101 at 704-209-1632, or visit www.pottery-101.com or find Pottery 101 on facebook.

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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