Wednesday, March 3, 2010

On WaterWorks Art Center

Waterworks by Brigid

Are you ready for a beautiful guest post, lovely TDT readers? Thanks to Brigid Vance, the mind behind my favorite local jewelry company, Grey Eye Designs, and member of the Tulsa Craft Mafia, a post of her very own expert writing is about to get start right about...now.

At 5’3”, I’m almost too diminutive for the pottery wheel. My arms aren’t quite strong enough to overpower a large mound of clay, and my hands are a bit delicate to endure the scraping of the metal wheel as I attempt to transform a two-pound, wet mass of earth into a mug for my morning tea.

Luckily, I didn’t know any of this before I paid my $100 class fee.

Waterworks by Brigid

Pottery has always fascinated me. It seems impossible that a spinning disc, a lump of clay and two human hands could work together in harmony to create a bowl or a pitcher or a vase. It’s
like magic!, as the materials I received in the mail from Waterworks said. Yet, once you know what you’re doing, it’s a magic trick you can accomplish every time.

I first discovered WaterWorks Art Studio, the City of Tulsa’s very own haven for artists and wannabes, as a lowly newspaper reporter in need of some art to fill her now-defunct section of the paper. A brief photo assignment brought me in the door of the center on Charles Page Boulevard, not far from my alma mater but not an area I ever explored much. A year later, I took my first class there, Kyle Peaden’s metalsmithing class. There I learned from a dreamy eyed, handsome young man how to take sheets of sterling silver or copper and some solder to make rings, bracelets and pendants. Oh, and I got to use a torch. At what other time would any thinking person brandish little ol’ me with something that shoots fire?

It is now Week 7 of Joe Staskal’s pottery class.

Waterworks by Brigid

Joe is quite an accomplished potter and owner of Fat City Clay, which you’ve probably encountered at area craft shows and the Cherry Street Farmers Market (returning bigger and better April 10 – yay!). He’s also a fantastic, hilarious teacher who tells you how it should be done and then lets you screw up piece after piece in your own specific way. He is always on hand, though, to give you a lesson, encouragement and a heckle when needed, often all at the same time. Almost every class, we all leave with something in the pottery closet, however lumpy or misshapen it is, to finish off the next time.

Waterworks by Brigid

Waterworks by Brigid

At $100 for eight weeks (and another $25 for supplies), the class is a steal. That is pretty much the modus operandi at Waterworks. The variety of classes is staggering: drawing, oil painting, wheel and coil pottery, metalsmithing, making jewelry from precious metal clay, mosaics, fiber arts, and more. Many classes for the Winter/Spring session are currently in session, but many others begin this month (including a couple of one-day classes I’m taking: Soy Wax Batik and the Patchwork Doll of Oz).

For a brochure of WaterWorks classes, visit this page on the City of Tulsa Web site. For more information on WaterWorks, check them out on the Web or call (918) 596-2440.

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