A very busy group of people gather in downtown Mesquite to play with clay. Some are there for the fun of it, remembering how they enjoyed making clay objects as kids. Some feel the need to keep their hands and minds working to stave off personal “blahs” or the stiffness of arthritis.
Whatever reason a person wants to try pottery, the Virgin Valley Artists Association Pottery Studio 31 is the place to launch that new adventure. Located in the northeast wing of the Mesquite Campus, across from the ball field at Old Mill Park, Studio 31 welcomes adults of all ages who want the satisfaction and artistic skills learned in working with clay.
Studio 31 was established by Harlo and Kathleen Birkholz about 12 years ago, and they are still the driving force behind the operation. This is a full-service pottery studio where the public can learn and practice skills in wheel and hand-formed pottery construction and glazing. Here the beginner and accomplished potter can work side by side, all benefitting from the sharing of knowledge and camaraderie in the studio.
Kathleen teaches many of the classes, including a wheel class that is currently in session. Her class of three students, Janet Reynolds, Clint Mecham, and Karen Miskimins, work intently at their wheels learning the basic skills needed to form a bowl, mug, plate, handles, cylinders and lidded containers. During this series of eight classes, held twice weekly, they will also fire (bake) and glaze their creations, and will leave class with several finished pieces of useful and artful pottery. This particular course of instruction costs $120. Clay and tools are available for purchase at the student supply outlet adjacent to the studio.
Harlo holds review and refresher classes for those who have taken classes, but need to brush up on all they have learned. Other instructors, including Kelly Beeson, Gail Smith and Koko, also teach various workshops that go into detail on building complex pieces.
Scheduling pottery classes is an art in itself. At least two or three students are needed to form a class. Running lists of people interested in taking particular classes are kept, and classes form when a minimum number can be organized. The current wheel class meets Monday and Tuesday mornings. Evening classes may be scheduled when there is student demand. Kathleen expects to have enough student interest to begin her next wheel class around New Year, and a hand-building class is anticipated in January.
Any adult who wants to experience the fun of making pottery should stop by Studio 31, check out the inviting atmosphere of the facility, and chat with Kathleen or one of studio the skilled volunteers. The studio is open every day except Thursdays. For more information, call Kathleen at 702-443-4878, or go online to www.mesquitefineartscenter.com. Pottery Studio 31 hours are also posted at Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery, 15 W. Mesquite Blvd, Mesquite Nevada, 702-346-1338.