Making pottery in the neighborhood: An exciting thing is happening in the Lincoln County world of pottery-making. Well-known local potter and ceramics teacher Liz Proffetty is on the verge of opening Neighborhood Clay in Damariscotta, a pottery studio that will offer lessons and open studio time as well as a retail space for the sale of artists’ work. Neighborhood Clay will open its doors on Friday, Sept. 1. One can already sign up for classes online.
I visited with Proffetty on a recent day in the expansive Neighborhood Clay space, right next door to Damariscotta Eyecare on Main Street. The interior of the clay studio was still in the process of getting its final touches, such as paint and a ventilation fan for the kiln room.
“Even without lights on, it’s so bright,” said a satisfied Proffetty of the space, which features a number of large windows. “It’s going to have plenty of lighting as well.” Proffetty is keeping the majority of the building’s space as an open area designated as the main room, where large tables and potter’s wheels will accommodate the needs of students and drop-in potters wanting to get creative.
Proffetty will also have a “glaze kitchen,” an area equipped with sinks, buckets of glaze, etc., where people can mix glaze and glaze their pieces before firing them in the kiln. Proffetty, who is accustomed to operating out of her small Newcastle home-studio, relishes the idea of having an area devoted to glazing. “It’s new for me to have a designated glazing area. Now we won’t have to take everything out and put everything away” every time someone wants to glaze a ceramic piece, she said.
Proffetty said she will also offer “commercial, already-fired clay pieces” that people can paint in a paint-your-own-pottery corner, perhaps while waiting for someone who is taking a pottery class and enjoying a cup of coffee, which Proffetty will always have on hand to help create a welcoming atmosphere. Plus, the money collected from donations for the coffee – brewed in “fully compostable Keurig cups,” she noted – will go toward scholarships for those needing assistance to take a pottery class.
“I want to create a community space where people can stay and work while, say, their kids are taking classes,” Proffetty said. Among the kids classes she will offer in the fall are a Tuesday after-school clay and art class from 3-4:30 p.m., Kids Wheel Night on Sept. 29, and a Halloween make-your-own-clay-mask workshop on Sept. 30.
For adults, Proffetty is offering an eight-week Monday-night introductory class on wheel-throwing starting Sept. 11, a Wednesday-night functional hand-building series for beginners and intermediate ceramicists, and “Try the Wheel Night” on Friday, Sept. 15 from 7-9 p.m. – plus a whole lot more.
In addition to Proffetty, Walpole’s Alexsondra Tomasulo will be teaching ceramics at Neighborhood Clay and watercolor painter Erica Qualey, who has conducted workshops at such places as the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland and the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, will teach classes in watercolor.
Neighborhood Clay is located at 590 Main St., Damariscotta. Find Neighborhood Clay online at neighborhoodclay.com.
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