Making Pottery Can Be Your Cup of Tea
Classes at Potter’s Obsession Help You Discover Your Inner Artist
By Kathy Feist
It’s Try It Night at Potter’s Obsession at 13035 Holmes Rd.
I am late. It is the busy Christmas season and my assignment writer cancelled out on the story. Try as I may, I could not find an available writer with an art background for this article. But the good news is, and I am happy to report, I didn’t have to. You don’t have to be an artist to make pottery. You just have to love the experience.
Potter’s Obsession has classes for individuals to learn how to spin and shape a wet clump of clay into a work of art, such as vases, bowls, plates, or figurines. Some nights are Try-It Nights for the curious novice. Other nights are no classes at all, but gatherings for artist, new and advanced. (For the record, Potter’s Obsession is not a paint-your-ceramic kind of studio.)
On this particular night, owner Natalie Thomas is teaching the basics of wheel throwing with clay.
Natalie demonstrates how to wet the clay, flatten it, and gently toss it onto the wheel. Once a suction is formed, I step on the pedal and the wheel begins to spin. With my hands grasping the outside of the clay and my thumbs bearing down into the top of the mound, the clay spins faster and faster. A bowl begins to take shape.
It is not as easy as it sounds, but is the challenge. The entire process mesmerizes me. The feel of the wet clay, the hypnotic spin of the wheel, and the human response to creating something from nothing becomes like a soothing addiction. An obsession.
This obsession with creating pottery hit Thomas 15 years ago. Thomas had no background in art. In fact, she had plans to become a park ranger. Yet, something drew her to the former pottery shop location in Martin City (now the Bailey Bros. Bank & Loan Building).
“Every time we would drive by the Potter’s Obsession, I would tell my husband that I
wanted to take lessons one day,” she recalls. “After several years of this, one day he stopped the car, we went in and he proceeded to tell Judy Thompson [the original owner] to sign me up for a class.”
“This is when the obsession came,” she says. “I’ve been throwing pottery ever since my first class in 2001.”
The shop moved to its current location in 2008. And in 2012, when the original owner retired, Thomas was asked to take over the business.
It is clear to see why Thomas was handed the keys to the business. Her creativity is displayed in the front of the store: modern tea pots and vases, beautifully painted platters and plates, dinner sets, and even a miniature gnome village. My favorite—I bought two—was her own invention: an olive holder that stretches out like a plant stalk.
Thomas sometimes finds herself drawn to the studio during irregular hours.
“I’ve been known for going into the studio late at night when I have trouble sleeping,” she says. “I feel throwing on the wheel is very soothing. The clay gliding through your hands and the slight humming of the wheel allows your mind to enjoy a relaxed and enjoyable state. Then I return home to a comforting slumber.”
On Try It Night, I made a bowl and a plate. I chose some colors for the pieces and left them for Thomas to paint and heat in the kiln. As I stepped out into the chilly night, a sense of peace greeted me at the door. For an hour or two, the hustle-bustle of the season had been forgotten. And a future potential had become my new friend.
For information on classes, go to www.pottersobsession.com or call 816-941-2555.
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