Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DAC Clay Studio at Northgate Mall

In early 2011 the Durham Arts Council moved their Clay Studio to Northgate Mall.  Primarily, this is a beautiful spot for adults to learn how to throw pottery and otherwise get creative with clay.  However, one Monday morning a month (and, as of the time of this publication, the next one is May 7th) the DAC offers a Parent/Child Workshop.  It was brave of me, I know, to venture out to this place full of breakables with a toddler.  But I have to say...TOTALLY worth it.
This was a lot of fun for C and me (I know nothing about clay).  The studio is located over near the movie theatre and Gamefrog at Northgate, with an outside storefront entrance that was easy to find and park next to.  It also means that a lot of natural light gets in.  The place was gorgeous and just oozes creativity (and clay).
The time for kids that they hold once a month is actually appropriate for kids of almost any age.  Each month there is a different theme but almost always projects geared towards different ages within that theme.  On the day we went the older kids were building 3-dimensional projects out of clay with various tools for cutting and shaping while the younger set was using items sort of like cookie cutters to create then paint small clay ornaments.
Since I know nothing about clay we were very dependent on the totally awesome teacher when we attended.  But when she wasn't available the kids who come to these sessions regularly (and there were quite a few!) were a big help.  C's favorite part was turning the huge wheel on the machine that flattens the clay.  They have pottery wheels available for "throwing" but they only open those up to children once every season at a special workshop class.

The cost is not cheap at $15 per child but it does include all supplies.  Registration in advance is suggested but not necessary (except for that class that involves the wheels I mentioned above since those are popular and limited).  Similar to Glazed Expectations and Paint Your Pot you need to leave your finished projects with the studio for awhile so they can fire them in the kiln for you.  Plan to head back to the Clay Studio to pick them up once you receive an email they are ready.  However, different from these studios, here you get to do the dirty work of making and creating the piece from the block of clay up.  Very fun. 

The DAC does offer sessions of classes for older kids, too, if that interests your brood.  I haven't seen a summer line up published yet, but stay tuned to the website (see below) as I am sure it will come out soon.  Parents, if you want to get creative and learn how to work with clay, they have plenty of options for you, too!

Durham Arts Council's Clay Studio
Parent/Child Workshops
Northgate Mall


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