Molding Creativity

Pottery is a fun, accessible and family-friendly activity.

Creating pottery has a storied history that goes back millennia and spans myriad cultures. It has endured and thrived as an artform, and is still popular today, both as a livelihood and a hobby fit for children and adults alike. 

“There’s a lot to learn in ceramics and pottery, and you make it as simple as you want to or it can get pretty complicated if you really, really get into it,” says Judith Wagenseller, owner of House of Clay in Oklahoma City. The business has been serving Oklahomans for 74 years, since Wagenseller’s parents bought it in 1950.

The simplest way House of Clay customers can enjoy pottery is to paint pre-made pieces. Individuals or groups can come in, pick a piece of bisque pottery in whatever shape or design they like, paint the piece, leave it behind to be glazed and fired in a kiln, then pick up the finished piece at a later date.

Jeff Stunkard, who owns Purple Glaze Studios with two locations in Tulsa, has also offered this fun pastime to customers for more than 30 years. Stunkard mentions that in the past, the biggest challenge for people was coming up with ideas for how to decorate their pieces. But today, ideas are more accessible due to the accessibility of the internet. Customers can get as much or as little help as they need, he says.  

“A lot of people will come in with the image off the internet that [they] want to do,”  he says. “We’ll teach them [and] try to get them to achieve the effect they want.”

No matter your level of artistic talent, Purple Glaze in Tulsa has a pottery piece or activity for you. Photo courtesy Purple Glaze

At Purple Glaze, walk-ins are welcome and “primarily, it’s just open studios for anybody to come in and get creative for a couple hours,” says Stunkard.

House of Clay also offers a few other options for those who get swept up in their artistry. These come in the form of potter’s wheel throwing classes, sculpting classes and even 25 pound bags of clay that anyone can take home and use to sculpt their very own works of art. House of Clay offers a class on creating raku pottery which is a way to fire pottery in large outdoor kilns and using flammable materials that creates beautiful bright colors that look iridescent or metallic.

Many of these activities and classes can be fun for the whole family. Children enjoy painting the ceramic pieces, and acrylic paints (which don’t require firing) can be used for decorative pieces that do not need to be food safe. And anyone can be an artist with a large piece of clay.

“[Anyone] can come in and get a bag of clay for the whole family and you all can go home one night and just create together,” says Wagenseller.

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