‘Glazy’ Days in the Pottery Studio

Lynne Kelsey

The Happy Potters are well known at Robson Ranch, but what does it take to become a member? I can answer that question first-hand. At the urging of an active member, last summer I put my name on the waiting list for the mandatory orientation classes, and in September I arrived at the CATC expecting the first session to be nothing more than that—an orientation.

Boy, was I wrong! Instructors Judie Smothers and Alessia Passalacqua welcomed me, handed me a pack of modeling tools, and directed me to a seat where a 25-pound gray log sat on the table—my clay, which would take me through the six class sessions and then some. After reviewing the studio rules and procedures with our class of seven, our instructors put us right to work. Under their patient guidance, we formed one “pinch pot,” then another, joined them, added surface detail and a stem, and at the end of the three hours, we had created our first pieces—pumpkins!

Not beautiful, but at least recognizable!

In the weeks that followed, we learned two methods of making bowls, how to build a cylinder, and the fundamentals of glazing our creations after their first firing in the kilns. My first pieces were rough, but practice makes … well, better, thanks to the help offered by the more experienced potters at the studio who are always generous with their time and expertise. I never expected to be so captivated by this art form, but suffice it to say that I’ve spent many “glazy” hours building with clay, watching YouTube videos to learn different techniques, and marveling at the amazing talents of our members.

The Happy Potters will be led this year by our recently elected executive board: President Linda Burleson, Vice-President Jackie Graham, Treasurer Art James, Secretary Lorie Shaddix, and Member-at-Large Karen Ellsworth. If you are interested in orientation classes, contact Jackie Graham at [email protected] or stop by the studio in the CATC any day except Tuesday or Friday. You will, no doubt, find a few potters happy to share their passion with you!