Turning wheels, throwing clay

 

Some of Park County’s artistically inclined residents got their hands dirty Monday night. Huddled in a circle in Sleeping Giant Middle school’s art studio, a group of artists shaped clay into bowls, mugs and the like on their pottery wheels. 

Benjamin Polit, a class participant, said he especially likes the functionality of the art form and plans to create some gifts during the class. 

“It’s a lot more fun to make things for people than to buy them,” he said. 

Marie Stevenson, an art teacher for Sleeping Giant, has thrown pots for about 40 years and leads the seven-week long class. The course is one of dozens organized by Livingston’s Adult Community Education group. 

“We get everyone from those who have never touched a piece of clay to those who have a master’s and then just do it,” Stevenson said. 

The middle school has a kiln, so students are able to complete every step of the pottery process in-house. They use a low-fire clay to accommodate the working range of the kiln, which heats clay to almost 1,000 degrees. High-fire kilns generate a different look in the finished product and can reach about 2,700 degrees. 

However, Stevenson said lower temperature kilns are less expensive and last longer. 

Class participant Calista Singley hadn’t thrown pots before. She let her creativity loose by molding some patterned clay buttons after caking her hands with clay at the pottery wheel. 

“It’s dirty and I love it!” Singley said with a laugh.