Mary Ann Bechtel was enthusiastic to begin holding orientation classes again in January 2022 and has instructed 13 Robson Ranch residents in the art of ceramics and pottery since then. Mary Ann joined the Ceramics & Pottery Club in 2015. “Ceramics and pottery is something I have loved and yearned for, for years, to learn,” she said. “The ceramics and pottery studio was the big draw for me to want to live here.” Mary Ann has found her love and “happy place” at the studio.
New members attend an orientation class, which is the first step in learning the ceramics process. They learn about clay, how to roll it out to the correct thickness and begin building their works of art. Each student builds the same piece during orientation; however, they make it unique to their own individual style by adding different embellishments and glaze colors. Pieces are checked for final cleanup after a few days of drying time, then it’s onto the greenware shelf to be bisque fired. After bisque firing, pieces are ready to be glazed and kiln fired to adhere the glaze to the surface. At each step in the process students learn a different technique and the importance of making a piece to achieve the best results during kiln firing.
It is exciting to watch a new member’s face and eyes light up on seeing his or her one-of-a-kind piece of art for the first time.
If you want to try your hand at playing with clay, but think you do not have a creative bone in your body, never fear, you could indeed surprise yourself in accomplishing something beautiful. Who knows, an orientation class may open up a new world of creativity for you!
To sign up for an orientation class, contact Mary Ann at 910-393-9009 or drop by the studio in the Creative Arts Center during studio hours (hours are on a bulletin in the front window).