Pottery studio offers kids and adults a chance to play with clay
Bright wall colours, a zany clock and a comfy couch greet new arrivals at the entrance of Happy Potter in Stratford.
First-time visitors feel comfortable almost immediately as the owner, Donna MacLeod, offers them a tour of the facility.
In one section of the room, there's a large table for hand building. In another there are pottery wheels for throwing cups and bowls.
"Some pieces are hand built. That's where you get a little bit creative with the sculpturing. Other pieces are thrown and altered. That's where you throw it on the wheel but then manipulate it, turning into something more original, said MacLeodshe ."
Take, for instance, the pretty green teapot MacLeod is holding. The body and spout are hand thrown while the handle is hand-built.
"The nice thing about pottery is that you can get really creative in every phase of the process. Whether you're building it or putting the final details on it or decorating it, you can make it your own," she says.
Next to the creation room is the decorating room where the kiln temperature is set to over 2000 degrees C.
"The pieces go from wet clay to leather-hard, but they need to become bone dry before the first firing."
Whether it's the Saturday afternoon class for teens or the Monday or Thursday classes for adults, everyone likes what happens in MacLeod's cheerful rooms.
"We're having a lot of fun," says Rachel Wareham, a retired teacher who is happy to return to the pottery wheel.
"We're learning a lot."
Her friend, Sally Stanford, agrees.
"I've learned how to prepare the clay, use the tools as well as hand building and glazing."
In the process she's realized the importance of centering clay on the wheel and not becoming too frustrated.
"Even when you destroy something, it comes up from the ashes when you try it again," says Stanford with a laugh.
Besides her enthusiastic students MacLeod likes the support she's received from the community.
"I have made some great connections with local artists."
Kate Sharpley is offering Paint the Night events at the studio and potter Robert McMillan assists with adult classes.
"Donna is a good teacher. Her students learn many things in her classes," says McMillan.
It's all part of MacLeod's vision for the studio.
"I want to provide an opportunity for people of all ages to come and learn new artistic skills, create, and have fun."
Five Facts about Happy Potter
1 - Happy Potter is a pottery studio located at 20 Myrtle Street, Stratford Business Park, Stratford.
2 - It is owned and operated by Donna MacLeod.
3 - The studio began from MacLeod's dream of sharing her passion for pottery with kids and adults in a flexible and relaxed environment.
4 - MacLeod has been a potter for over 10 years. She started teaching pottery lessons out of her home studio since 2012.