Carla Werme, of Lexington Park has always enjoyed and excelled at creative arts. Drawing, scrapbooking, jewelry making, and leather working are among her hobbies. About three year ago, she discovered pottery painting. Pottery studios stock pre-fired molds to which clients like Carla can use their artistic skills applying glazes that can then be fired to produce stunning finished products.
Carla works her magic at The Pottery Patch in Dunkirk. (There are other studios available regionally.) Upon entering the shop she finds an array of mugs, plates, bowls and platters to choose from. There are also character and animal figurines and holiday items. She can choose to work with bisque or stoneware. Bisque is more for artistic display. Stoneware is mainly for use in dining, and is microwave and dishwasher safe. After selecting her piece, Carla has a choice of various colored glazes, some for bisque and a different set for stoneware. Some glazes are solid colors, some have glittery speckles, and some have bursts of color that only emerge when the piece is fired. Combining glazes and allowing them to run can create special effects. Carla can choose to paint simple color designs or paint images of plants, animals, buildings, scenery, or whatever her imagination can conceive.
Choosing glazes in a learning process. The color that is painted on may look very pale, but when it is fired changes to a brilliant hue. Knowing which glaze to choose in order to create the desired effect requires experience. Carla enjoys experimenting to create her own special effects.
Creating her piece is a slow process. Unless Carla chooses to have colors run together, she must allow one glaze to completely dry before painting another on top of it. There are small fans available to speed up this process. There are also various size brushes for painting background colors, smaller shapes, and intricate details. If she wants to create a particular scene or object, she finds it easier to draw it first on paper and than transfer it to the pottery piece using carbon paper. When the day’s creation is done, it is labeled and left at the shop for firing. The next time Carla returns, she can pick up the finished product and start on the next one. More complicated pieces can take several visits to complete.
Children, teens, and adults are all welcome to try their hand at creating beautiful and useful items at pottery studios. At some shops you can arrange for birthday parties. Some offer classes for work with actual clay and tips for creating original pieces, instead of using the provided molds. Carla has dabbled in this some, but usually prefers to paint the prefabricated pieces.
Carla says she finds this creative outlet very relaxing. She often invites friends to go along with her. Even if it just a one time, “I’ve always wanted to try that,” experience, it make for a fun afternoon outing. Some of her invitees discover they really like it, and want to go again. Over the past few years, Carla has made pieces for her own family’s use, but now is mainly making gifts for relatives and friends. These gifts, of course, have her personal touch and are much appreciated.
Kathi Edwards is a retired elementary school science lab teacher. She spends her time volunteering at a pregnancy center, teaching Sunday school, playing handbells and singing in her church choir.
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