Since 24,000 BC, we have been crafting animal and human figurines made from clay and fired in kilns. We have been making pottery and bricks as long ago as 10,000 BC. Fast forward to the here and now for five great places in Minnesota where grown-ups can take classes and learn the timeless craft of ceramic art.
Fired Up Studios
1701 E. Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Learn from professional potters who enjoy teaching and sharing the skills they learned over the many years of making and selling their own work. Classes meet once a week for 2.5 hours over a six- to eight-week time period. Students learn each basic step from wedging to centering, pulling, trimming, glazing, as well as basic studio etiquette. Tuition covers 25 pounds of clay, one free square of glaze firing, tools, buckets, towels and open studio time during office hours. The Center also offers a unique concept called Clay Dates where couples, friends or small groups have an opportunity to learn what it takes to throw a pot in an environment conducive to having a pleasant experience. Each participant gets to try out a potter’s wheel, get his or her hands dirty and actually create a pot that will certainly be one of a kind. Choose your glaze and the staff will finish and fire the piece ready for pick up in approximately two weeks.
White Bear Center for the Arts
4971 Long Ave.
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
Senegalese teaching artist Adama Sow does group demonstrations of hand-building and wheel-throwing clay, plus many more concepts when requested. No experience is required as Adama coaches those needing assistance and gives students freedom to work at their own pace as they advance. The Center provides all materials. Award-winning White Bear Center for the Arts just moved into an 8,000-square-foot building in the summer of 2013.
Pottery and Clay Sculpture at Edina Art Center
4701 W. 64th St.
Edina, MN 55435
“The biggest little pottery department in Minnesota,” as featured on its website, boasts 14 instructors leading a surprisingly large number of clay and pottery classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced students. Look for visiting ceramics experts on the schedule each season as well. Students have access to 20 electric wheels of which seven are left-handed with one kick-wheel and one wheelchair-accessible station.
Northern Clay Center
2424 E. Franklin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
Family-friendly facilities and convenient hours make Northern Clay an attractive place to learn about ceramic arts. With state-of-the-art facilities, diverse and talented teaching artists, ceramic art exhibitions featuring regional, national and international artists, lectures, symposia, publications, an American Pottery Festival and McKnight Residency grants that attract national artists to the region, Northern Clay has everything one might need to learn the art of ceramics. The Center’s small class sizes allow for hands-on instruction of beginning students with the added bonus of open access to its studios on weekends and late evenings.
Stillwater Art Guild Gallery
402 N. Main St.
Stillwater, MN 55082
No more than four students per class allows instructor-artist Kathy Adamek to develop each student beyond the technical and into discovery of personal style and creativity. Students start out with slab methods, building tiles and trays, and advance to hand-building serving bowls, mugs and sculpture. Students have fun, learn to think differently and make great pottery. The Art Guild Gallery offers other classes such as painting and photography and services such as matting, framing, support for interior designers and promotes the work of more than 60 member-artists encompassing extensive types and styles of art.
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.