Inspiration to learn the ceramic arts can come in many forms and from many places. Some people are inspired by shards of ancient pottery found on the site of an archeological dig, while others have happy memories of Play-doh squishing through their fingers as children. Or perhaps the seed of artistry was planted while watching Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in “Ghost,” which features one of the most sensual scenes ever filmed of a man, a woman and a potter’s wheel. In any case, these Sacramento classes will get you on your way to creating your own ceramic sculptures, crockery or decorative items.
Alpha Fired Arts
4675 Aldona Lane
Sacramento, CA 95841
Alpha offers a “Beginning Wheel Throwing” course for novices that meets on each Tuesday evening for six weeks. Students learn the fundamentals of working with clay and potter’s wheels, plus basic techniques of shaping and glazing. Skills include the important art of wedging, which involves cutting and kneading the clay to remove air and to prepare the material for use. Class size is limited to 12 adults, in order for each student to receive individual attention and direction. More advanced students can participate in workshops, working on their own projects with input from experts like noted ceramic artist Tony Natsoulas. Classes range in price from $125 – $169.
ACAI Studios & Gallery
7425 Winding Way
Fair Oaks, CA 95628
Allied Ceramics Art Institute is a Sacramento nonprofit that aims to promote personal expression, art education and creativity through ceramics. The group offers beginner and intermediate level courses on ceramics and on wheel throwing. Depending on the subject and complexity, sessions take between 1-1/2 to 3 hours each and happen over a 4 to 6 week period. Classes are held year round, so it is easy to find a series that fits your schedule. Students working on independent projects, or wishing for extra assistance or practice, can attend studio sessions as well. The ACAI also has a gallery that displays ceramic sculptures from students and other members of the local artistic community; gallery opening receptions are held monthly. Adult classes are $60 – $100 each, with an additional $20 needed for supplies.
2325 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95816
Mystudio offers an eclectic selection of classes for those interested in the arts, and specifically in the pottery arts. Some are focused on decorating and firing pre-made clay pieces, rather than on the creation of the pieces. The “Your Design” drop-in pottery class involves embellishing and glazing a pre-made mug or bowl; the 90-minute session costs $40. Or make your own bowl using a mold, embellish and glaze it for $30. One of Mystudio’s most unique programs is called “Date Night.” Whether you just met or have been together for years, it can be a fun evening as you each decorate and glaze a one-of-a-kind pre-made pottery mug or bowl. Want it to be truly romantic? Mystudio can help the evening with your date be extra-special with dinner, chocolates, wine or flowers included.
The Learning Exchange
1111 Howe Ave., Suite 115
Sacramento, CA 95825
The Learning Exchange courses in wheel thrown pottery are offered at numerous times throughout the year. Courses are held at Alpha Fired Arts and can be led by AFA instructors, so students may choose to work with that business directly. As offered by The Learning Exchange, the adult course costs $169, plus a $20 fee for a tool kit and firing. The Learning Exchange also has a membership program — with an annual membership fee of $29, students can avoid $10 registration fees and save $5 off enrollment costs for most classes.
Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people.
Her work can be found at Examiner.com.