September 11, 2013 - By Meg Peters
Review Staff Writer
The Orion Art Center (OAC) is starting something the entire community can help build with their hands.
"The Studio," the OAC's newest addition, will be attached to the hip of Diamond Dave's Jewelers at 416 S. Broadway, with the opening reception for everyone interested in clay working on September 25, at 7:00 p.m.
The invitation includes hors d'oeuvres, a tour of the new clay studio, live entertainment, and a chance to make your own texturized tile for a $5 donation.
Call the OAC by September 21 to reserve your spot to make a tile at 248-693-4986.
Clay working classes will be offered on a weekly basis, in addition to other classes already being held there, to adults, teens and children.
The hand-building with clay classes for adults is a six week series beginning Monday from September 23 until November 4, from 6:30 until 9:00 p.m. The kids' series will be just before the adults, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. from September 23 to October 21. Teens will be Tuesdays from 5:30 to 8 p.m., September 24 to November 5.
'Diamond Dave' and the OAC have a longstanding business partnership that has grown from using half of his building for the OAC Holiday Market to now using the same half full-time for whatever their creative whim carries
For Brenda Pescia, it was straight to clay. .
Pescia sits on the board of directors for the OAC, has been a volunteer for about three years, but is an artist at heart.
After teaching art at Orion Oaks and Paint Creek elementary schools for a number of years—the last couple heavily influenced with pottery—she began going over to Firebrick gallery and pottery studio in Rochester to do her work.
"The (Orion) Art Center has always wanted to do a pottery class, but didn't have a kiln or the space to do it," Pescia recalled.
Then somebody donated a kiln.
That somebody was a mother Pescia met at Firebrick who was trying to get rid of a kiln in her garage to make space for her teenagers' vehicles.
Pescia said her team at OAC didn't have room for it at the art center and decided to store it at Diamond Dave's, and then got the idea to make the donated space into a new clay studio.
"It kind of epitomizes the thinking of the people involved in the art center," said Lauren Dinneweth, OAC director. "It's amazing thinking of the volunteers involved, like Brenda, to turn it into a pottery studio. It's creative, imaginative and big thinking," Dinneweth said.
Yet it is an ongoing process. Although The Studio houses the donated kiln, other supplies like electric pottery wheels will be needed.
In the meantime, Pescia will be fine because she prefers beginners to learn by "their number one tools" their hands.
"The very first thing a person should make is a pinch-pot. That's simply taking a ball of clay, putting your thumb in it, and then pinching your fingers all the way around the ball, starting at the bottom and working up," she said, eventually turning it into a mug or bowl.
She loves mixing multiple hand-building techniques together, "a little slab work, a little pinch work, a little coil," and then just "plastering it with texture."
Then comes the glaze.
After a pot, cup, vase, or bowl is shaped by hand and hardened in the kiln, the artist is given a paintbrush and a pallet. Then back in the kiln it goes.
Both classes and workshops will be offered to individuals or groups, such as birthday parties, girls (or boys)-night-out, or groups of friends. For more information on the clay classes, other kid/adult classes or painting classes contact the Orion Art Center at 248-693-4986.