Get fired up about pottery classes and workshops
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on Aug. 21, 2009 at 2:40 p.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.
If you've ever taken an art history course in college, you know that ceramic products are an ancient art form dating all the way back to the Upper Paleolithic period -- that's somewhere between 29,000 and 25,000 BC for all you non-archeology types.
Pottery acts as a window into the world as it was in the past and reveals fascinating facts about our ancestors. What's perhaps even more interesting is how little the art form has changed over the centuries.
Artists today are crafting ceramics in generally the same way as the ancient Greeks, Persians and Mayans did; by applying heat to shaped clay. But they're also creating exciting, new work; the likes of which have never been seen before.
In the greater Milwaukee area, there are a variety of artist studios offering pottery classes and workshops that teach you all the necessary steps, from preparing to throwing to glazing to firing.
Many of these places offer handcrafted ceramic art for sale, as well.
2246 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 699-7033
BYO isn't your typical gallery. This interview with owners Kerry and Ken Yandell explains their vision for the space as a rentable studio available for anyone -- painter, dancer, actor, sculptor -- looking for an inspiring and affordable space to create, practice and share his or her craft. Check the Web site for upcoming pottery classes, or host your own!
Creative Fire Pottery
6427 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa, (414) 443-9402
Creative Fire is a gallery of original work, art studio and workshop for beginners and pros, from kids to adults. Already trained sculptors will enjoy its uninstructed open studio time, and those hoping to sharper their pottery skills can sign up for day and evening classes, summer workshops or pottery parties and special events. Prices run from $105 to $140 for a six-week course.
Dark Star Galleria & Studio
207 E. Buffalo St., (414) 765-9466
This Third Ward gallery offers basic to advanced pottery classes that get you behind the potter's wheel in a small group setting. Each seven-week class is limited to six students and costs $200.
N61 W6321 Turner St., Cedarburg, (262) 376-8852
Glaze is a paint-your-own pottery and glass-fusing studio. They offer four types of art medium: pottery painting, glass fusing, clay work and jewelry making with artist Lilly Ollo. Check the Web site for the long list of classes and workshops.
Murray Hill Pottery Works
2458 N. Murray Ave., (414) 332-8828
Murray Hill has been one of the most popular pottery galleries in Milwaukee for more than a decade. Owner Geralyn Flick is dedicated to sharing her gift for creating usable art. Plus, the gallery's basement has been transformed into a "kids only" workshop station. Classes for adults cost $160 for five weeks and $175 for seven weeks. Kids classes are $100.
Our Creative Outlet
329-B Genesee St., Delafield, (262) 646-9921
This place has it all: clay classes (throwing, hand building and tile making), soap making workshops, custom small projects, Raku and a gallery of functional art to purchase. Kids' create-and-glaze parties are $15 per child.
The Potter's Shop
335 W. Main St., Waukesha, (262) 547-1920
Located in the heart of downtown Waukesha, this artisan's gallery and clay studio hosts a variety of pottery classes, including customized American Raku Nights and hand tile / plaque nights during Waukesha's Friday Night Live events. Six-week adult pottery wheel classes cost $175; $95 for kids ages 6-15. Couples might also want to check out the $60 "couples at the wheel" class.
11520 W. Bluemound Rd., Wauwatosa, (414) 443-1800
La Terraza specializes in pottery painting parties, both for kids and adults. So while you won't be able to mold your own work here, it's a fun place to pick up the paintbrush with your pals and get creative on your blank canvases. The price for adults is $5.50 per person plus the cost of the ceramic piece. Kids are $4 plus ceramics.
A Touch of Glaze
721 Meadowbrook Rd., Waukesha, (262) 524-0231
Like La Terraza in Milwaukee, A Touch of Glaze is a paint-your-own studio. This family-owned business offers more than 150 kitchen and home décor pieces made from bisque (unfinished pottery) waiting for a little creative inspiration. The only fees are those of the ceramic pieces themselves, which range from $3 to $60.
Who knew that a clay community existed here in Milwaukee? I had no idea until I joined Murray Hill. I would highly recommend taking a class there. The owner and instructors are very well versed in all styles of pottery and the studio is an extremely laid back environment. There's always a member around to answer a question or come to the aid of a fellow potter with tips or tricks on how to do something. I think that is my favorite thing about the studio... the members share their experience. Murray Hill is also the largest contributor of bowls to the Milwaukee Empty Bowls project, a charity event that is dear to my heart. It is held every October and is a fundraiser for local food pantries. This year, on one day in May, the potters at Murray Hill produced 850 bowls that will be used in this years Empty Bowl fundraiser on Sat. Oct. 10th at MATC South.
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