Do you need a peaceful and artsy release from schoolwork? Located only a five-minute drive away from campus, Mud Hut Pottery Studio offers exactly that. Rated 5 stars on Yelp, CBU alumni Chase Lord and his family run the studio.
Only three months old, Mud Hut Pottery offers a homey atmosphere that makes you feel as though they’ve been there forever. The walls are decorated with inviting pastel designs, and a neon sign that says ‘Mud Hut Pottery’ hangs above shelves filled with pottery for purchase. Across from it, another shelf is filled with drying pottery from previous classes.
The $50 per person Pottery Wheel Lesson class is 90 minutes long and begins with choosing a pottery wheel. There are only eight wheels, so classes tend to fill up fast. Availability can be found through mudhutriverisde.com. Once seated at a chosen pottery wheel, newbies and pros have the choice of following along with the pottery teacher or taking things at their own pace. But for those who dare risk going it alone – students only receive two blocks of clay for the class, so if you mess up, you might walk out empty-handed.
The steps included learning how to wedge the clay, throw it, and mold it. The teacher walks around to help or fix students’ mistakes – and my patient teacher came around to assist me a lot. All pieces will inevitably look different – but there are no guidelines for what shape to try to make. It is all up to the individual to create something that they are content with. Once all the student’s pieces are complete, they are placed on a drying rack, and names and phone numbers are placed next to the pieces. In about 4-6 weeks, each piece will be ready for pickup. Depending on the day, the color of the finishing glaze differs. For the class I took, the glaze was a gold-green. However, the glaze is only applied if the pottery doesn’t break during the bisque firing process. The website warns, “Pottery is a rewarding craft; however, there are so many variables, we cannot guarantee that your pottery will make it back to you the way that you left it. We do our best to take care of your pieces after you leave; nonetheless, pottery is extremely fragile, it breaks, it explodes, it cracks, and the glaze can drip.”
Although there are many chances for the pottery to break throughout the journey, the teachers at the Mud Hut emphasize that pottery-making is about the beauty of the process, not the finished result. “The meditative action of molding the clay is what the experience is all about. If you get a cute piece of pottery to take home, that’s just a cherry on top. “You are signing up for an experience, an ability to learn, to be part of our studio, and to embrace everything this learning process brings,” the website also says.
For those who find one class isn’t enough, the Mud Hut Pottery Studio offers two monthly membership plans. For $185/month, potters gain unlimited access to the studio and to all equipment, as well as their own drying shelf, two kiln shelves, and unlimited bisque firing. For $325/month, potters also gain unlimited access to the studio and to all equipment, as well as the top drying shelves, four kiln shelves, and unlimited bisque firing. Both require members to have previous ceramics experience.
The classes vary as well. There are Date Nights ($100/couple), Kid Lessons ($35) and Monthly Lessons ($200/four classes). Private lessons and parties can be arranged.
Not ready yet to take it to the wheel? Not to worry, starting at just $15, pottery can be painted – no reservation needed. Or, hand and foot impressions can be made starting at $40.
The studio hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can follow them on Instagram @mudhutpotteryriverside.