Crafternoon & Crafterdark Pottery Workshops

Bring your creative friends and make a few new ones as you learn the secrets of throwing pottery on the wheel. This three-hour workshop is a fun and messy introduction to clay. The $40 fee includes instruction and materials for one adult. Students can expect to make 3 – 5 pots and decorate them using colorful slips or textures. Your pots will be ready to pick up after approximately two weeks.

Clay for Couples

Looking for a unique date night activity that is sure to impress your mate? Look no further than NCC’s original Clay for Couples. Sign up with your special friend and learn the secrets of throwing pottery on the wheel in a fun and relaxed environment. Already attended a session? Sign up again and take your skills to the next level. Pots will be ready to pick up about two weeks later.

*The $80 fee includes instruction and materials for two adults.

Land of Round Pots: Wheel Throwing 101

Come learn the basics of making with clay in one of these 5-week introductory classes focusing on construction and glazing techniques. These classes will have fewer students, ensuring plenty of student-to-teacher contact time, and they are shorter, making them ideal if you have little or no experience with clay and want to test your interest in clay. We recommend that you take this class two or more times (within one quarter, or over consecutive quarters) to build your skills and prepare for beginner-level classes. Wear old clothes, and bring an old towel, a bucket no larger than 1 gallon, and a beginner’s set of pottery tools to the first class. Lab fee includes one bag of clay (25 pounds), all glazing materials, firing, and open studio access.

Land of Round Pots: Wheel Throwing 101

Come learn the basics of making with clay in one of these 5-week introductory classes focusing on construction and glazing techniques. These classes will have fewer students, ensuring plenty of student-to-teacher contact time, and they are shorter, making them ideal if you have little or no experience with clay and want to test your interest in clay. We recommend that you take this class two or more times (within one quarter, or over consecutive quarters) to build your skills and prepare for beginner-level classes. Wear old clothes, and bring an old towel, a bucket no larger than 1 gallon, and a beginner’s set of pottery tools to the first class. Lab fee includes one bag of clay (25 pounds), all glazing materials, firing, and open studio access.

Land of Round Pots: Wheel Throwing 101

Come learn the basics of making with clay in one of these 5-week introductory classes focusing on construction and glazing techniques. These classes will have fewer students, ensuring plenty of student-to-teacher contact time, and they are shorter, making them ideal if you have little or no experience with clay and want to test your interest in clay. We recommend that you take this class two or more times (within one quarter, or over consecutive quarters) to build your skills and prepare for beginner-level classes. Wear old clothes, and bring an old towel, a bucket no larger than 1 gallon, and a beginner’s set of pottery tools to the first class. Lab fee includes one bag of clay (25 pounds), all glazing materials, firing, and open studio access.

Crafternoon & Crafterdark Pottery Workshops

Bring your creative friends and make a few new ones as you learn the secrets of throwing pottery on the wheel. This three-hour workshop is a fun and messy introduction to clay. The $40 fee includes instruction and materials for one adult. Students can expect to make 3 – 5 pots and decorate them using colorful slips or textures. Your pots will be ready to pick up after approximately two weeks.

Land of Round Pots: Wheel Throwing 101

Come learn the basics of making with clay in one of these 5-week introductory classes focusing on construction and glazing techniques. These classes will have fewer students, ensuring plenty of student-to-teacher contact time, and they are shorter, making them ideal if you have little or no experience with clay and want to test your interest in clay. We recommend that you take this class two or more times (within one quarter, or over consecutive quarters) to build your skills and prepare for beginner-level classes. Wear old clothes, and bring an old towel, a bucket no larger than 1 gallon, and a beginner’s set of pottery tools to the first class. Lab fee includes one bag of clay (25 pounds), all glazing materials, firing, and open studio access.

Clay for Couples

Looking for a unique date night activity that is sure to impress your mate? Look no further than NCC’s original Clay for Couples. Sign up with your special friend and learn the secrets of throwing pottery on the wheel in a fun and relaxed environment. Already attended a session? Sign up again and take your skills to the next level. Pots will be ready to pick up about two weeks later.

*The $80 fee includes instruction and materials for two adults.

Land of Round Pots: Wheel Throwing 101

Come learn the basics of making with clay in one of these 5-week introductory classes focusing on construction and glazing techniques. These classes will have fewer students, ensuring plenty of student-to-teacher contact time, and they are shorter, making them ideal if you have little or no experience with clay and want to test your interest in clay. We recommend that you take this class two or more times (within one quarter, or over consecutive quarters) to build your skills and prepare for beginner-level classes. Wear old clothes, and bring an old towel, a bucket no larger than 1 gallon, and a beginner’s set of pottery tools to the first class. Lab fee includes one bag of clay (25 pounds), all glazing materials, firing, and open studio access.

Craft Culture: Hand-thrown tableware from Ceramic Chinn

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Alex Chinn // Photo by Tj Turner

Two years ago, Alex Chinn propped open the lid of his electric kiln to inspect the 40 plates stacked inside. He noticed something he didn’t expect. Before firing the plates, Chinn had dipped each one in a white satin matte glaze. But instead of creating an even surface, the glaze had broken apart on the edge of the plates, creating a pop of contrast between the crisp white and warm gray of the clay peeking through.

Some artists might have become frustrated at the imperfection. Not Chinn. He viewed the uneven glaze as a bonus, an added level of depth and interaction for his plates. He applies that go-with-the-flow attitude to all his work: Instead of trying to control the unpredictability of the process, Chinn revels in it, turning unexpected moments into conscious design choices. He talks to his clay. And, often, it talks back.

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Photo by Tj Turner

“This interaction is like a conversation. We ask the clay to do something and it responds, sometimes in ways we don’t want,” says Chinn, who has worked in ceramics for more than 20 years. “I think the best pieces are made when both sides have a voice.”

For Chinn, that conversation with clay began in college. Growing up in Massachusetts, art was inescapable. His mom worked as a painter, and as a kid Chinn played around with an assortment of two-dimensional media. But when he arrived at Macalester College in St. Paul, he wanted to explore three-dimensional art.

Although he majored in geology, Chinn still found the time to take a variety of art classes. He experimented with metal and wood, but didn’t feel a connection with the either. Nothing stuck—until he took a ceramics sculpture class.

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Photo by Tj Turner

The medium spoke to him and, outside of assignments, Chinn began creating 70-pound sculptures comprised of organic, bulbous forms, formed using reclaimed clay. “There was this big slop bucket and you could take whatever clay out of it that you wanted,” Chinn says. “So I started reclaiming clay.”

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Alex Chinn // Photo by Tj Turner

Unlike new clay, the reclaimed clay was free. Over three semesters, Chinn recycled nearly 300 pounds of it to make massive sculptures, many of which still sit in his St. Paul yard today.

Chinn’s interest in clay fell to the wayside post-graduation. He took a job as an environmental field technician for a Twin Cities engineering company and, for three years, it was enough. Then he started getting restless.

“Field work is what I was always interested in. When it became apparent that the next step up was to manage projects and sit in the office, I opted to not move up,” Chinn says. “It became more of a job than a career.”

Related Post – Craft Culture: Faribault Woolen Mill

With creative energy to burn, Chinn stopped in at Northern Clay Center. The center was located just down the street from his office at the time, and he decided to sign up for a throwing class. Then another. After two classes, Chinn was hooked. He bought his own wheel and set up a studio in his basement.

For years, Chinn’s work with ceramics just served as his creative outlet. But when the engineering company he worked for was sold, everything changed. As his hours were cut to part-time, his ceramics practice ramped up. In 1998, six years after his first Northern Clay class, he launched his company, Ceramic Chinn.

“A lot of [my work] comes from my own needs,” Chinn says. “I had a baking stone [that] I put a pizza on and it broke. I thought, ‘That’s stupid. I could make something better than that.’”

He started making root barriers, house numbers, and tiles too—pieces for which he had no trouble finding buyers. Meanwhile, Chinn continued making sculptures. His first big professional break came when the Minnesota Craft Council accepted him into its fall show in 2001. Shortly thereafter, Chinn picked up a second studio space at Northern Clay Center’s new and current location on Franklin Avenue. But something was missing.

Next page: Filling the void

Arts MN: Saints & Sinners, a Victorian Carnival, and Making Your Own Beer Stein

Whether the current streak of summer-like weather has awakened your long-dormant night owl, or if it simply has you feeling at peace once again, this week’s edition of Arts MN presents a spectrum of events that are sure to fit any disposition. For those of you wishing to embrace your wild side, we’ve highlighted both an authentic Victorian carnival performance and an involved beer tasting. Looking for something a bit more innocent? Consider our featured family-friendly dance performance or an evening devoted to the totally harmless, but fascinating, art of basket weaving.


OutLoud! presents Saints and Sinners

The Ritz Theater, Minneapolis, MN

May 30–May 31 // 8:00pm

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Fitting for this week’s theme, and according to the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus’ website, the upcoming OutLoud! production of Saints and Sinners will “sway you into guilty musical pleasures…You won’t want to miss the good boys of OutLoud! misbehavin’. You’ll have a devilishly good time.” Come support the TCGMC through an evening of amazing musical talent, humor, and spectacle. Tickets can be purchased online, at the door, or by calling the Ritz Theater box office, and are $29 for general admission.

Beer bonus: Lucky for those of you who attend the show, The Ritz Theater is located smack dab in the middle of the Northeast Minneapolis brew disctrict. There are myriad excellent establishments to choose from, but make sure to peer in the soon-to-be-opened Bauhaus Brew Labs located near 612 Brewery.


L’Huere de Minuit

The Lab Theater, 700 North 1st Street, Minneapolis, MN

May 29­–June 1 // 7:00pm evening performances, 2:00pm Sunday matinée

L'Heure de Minuit

Although a theatrical, interactive Victorian Carnival performance may sound intruiging, several of you are also probably wondering, what the heck does it entail? For the most part, it’s exactly what you’d expect from any event featuring ‘carnival’ in the title: music, costumes, side-show acts, carnival games and prizes, albeit minus the cotton candy and elephant ear food stalls. However, the evening will also include surprising “twists” on the traditional carnival atmosphere, courtesy of both M-SHE and Rowby Productions. Finally, know that the best costume at each performance (yes, the audience is encouraged, if not required, to dress up) receives a prize, so make sure to spend some time this week researching “Victorian Carnival”  images. Tickets can be purchased online and are $30 for general admission, or $25 for seniors and children under 12.

Beer bonus: Not only is the Fulton taproom located minutes away from The Lab, it also has ideal hours for a post-show drink. In addition, if you’re someone who frequents Minneapolis’ North Loop, know that your beer options are soon going to expand: a third Red Cow location is officially set to open in the Warehouse District next February.


Northern Clay Center’s Beer Stein Workshop

Northern Clay Center and Dangerous Man Brewing Co.

May 30 (and June 13) // 7:00–9:00pm each Friday

Clay

Choosing the perfect beer-related vessels, either for yourself or to give as gifts, can be quite difficult. Thus, why not make your own at Northern Clay Center’s upcoming beer stein workshop and ensure your new drinkware’s status as a conversation piece? The workshop is a mere $25 per participant, no previous class experience needed, and will feature one session (led by longtime NCC instructor David Swenson) dedicated to handbuilding the bier stein, as well as a second tasting session hosted by Dangerous Man Brewing. Lastly, you may want to hurry and complete the online registration. While there is a waitlist for all NCC classes, this one seems to be filling up fast. Must be 21+ to enroll.

Beer bonus: If you haven’t already grasped that this event perfectly marries the art of ceramics with beer, hopefully this sentence has helped to reiterate the notion.


Out On a Limb Dance Company & School’s Annual Student Showcase

Roseville Area Middle School, 15 East County Road B2, Little Canada, MN

May 28–May 29 // 7:00pm

Training

Because art should be enjoyed by individuals of all ages, and because we realize that many of our devoted readers have little ones of their own, we wanted to highlight Out On a Limb Dance Company & School’s annual student showcase. The performances will take place this Wednesday and Thursday evening at the Roseville Area Middle School auditorium and will present pieces—original student and teacher choreographies featuring children ages 3–17—that are perfect for the entire family. As an added treat for any budding, school-aged artists, students from OOAL’s Performing Arts Ensemble will also perform Sidewalk, an original and imaginative set of vignettes set to the poetry of Shel Silverstein. Tickets are $12 at the door and know that profits go toward supporting OOAL’s scholarship fund and community outreach efforts. For more information on such efforts, and to view OOAL’s mission, visit the company’s website.

Beer bonus: Two words: Grumpy’s Roseville. That’s right, the familiar, bar & grill has a family-friendly, suburban location.


Baskets on the Bias

Textile Center, 3000 University Avenue SE, Minneapolis, MN

Artist lecture May 29 // 7:00pm (Exhibition runs through June 24)

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Perhaps the only thing more wholesome and innocent than a children’s dance recital is the art of basket weaving. Although, have you ever gotten a paper cut from basket reeds? They can be quite devilish. Regardless, this Thursday’s lecture with basket scholar and artist Jackie Abrams at the Textile Center is not to be missed. Fresh off her Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibition, A Measure of the Earth: The Cole-Ware Collection of American Baskets, the event will feature both a discussion, as well as images from the more than 40 years Abrams has spent traveling and researching her art around the United States, Australia, and Africa. The cost to attend is $5 and while space is limited, know that registration is easy and can be completed online, or by calling the Textile Center at 612-436-0464.

Beer bonus: After the lecture, consider stopping by Turf Club for a brew and some live music. Although you should most likely be prepared for a small cover fee, know that the Turf Club’s ample tap selection and classic Minneapolis music club atmosphere makes it well worth it.