Art so cool it’s hot in Lakeville

by Joe Masiarchin
Special to Sun Thisweek
Dakota County Tribune

Class participants in Lakeville. Photos submitted.

For thousands of years, people have made pottery, but recently there has been an increasing demand for instructional classes, allowing people to reconnect to this early art form.

Current trends in home design indicate that people are looking for a back-to-basics approach to life.

There’s something about handmade dinnerware and vases that adds soul and personality to your day-to-day life.

As a result, the Lakeville Area Arts Center pottery studio has experienced a tremendous increase in growth.

“When the studio first opened in 2001, there was only one adult pottery class offered,” said JoAnne Andres, Arts Center studio manager. “We now offer a variety of classes for all ages and abilities six days a week.”

In the last three years, this explosion in growth has required the Arts Center to add four pottery instructors and expand the studio to include more shelving and clay storage.

The expansion of the studio has allowed us to add new class times and program offerings to meet the increased demand.

Our classes include instruction in both hand building and wheel throwing.

The basic four-step creative process is the same: forming, firing, glazing, and firing a second time to harden the glaze.

Any potter will tell you that it is not an easy art form and it is not immediate; it requires a series of processes that are hard to control. Only at the end can you see the finished work.

Many of our students find this challenge rewarding – and strangely enough – relaxing.

There’s a certain thrill to seeing malleable clay formed by your own hands turned into something functional.

At the Lakeville Area Arts Center, the sense of community is so strong in the studio that you can feel it from the moment you step in the room.

Friendships have formed over a common interest; the love of pottery.

As pottery student Faye Wallsten put it: “Everyone (including staff and students) is so warm and welcoming and willing to help and share their knowledge. Once you start it’s hard to stop. We’ve all been bitten by the clay bug!”

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Joe Masiarchin is director of the Lakeville Center for the Arts. Columns reflect the opinion of the author.