A fun afternoon of pottery and beautiful river views!!
When Mayte and Chad, the charismatic owners of Mark of the Potter, invited Rhett and me over to take a pottery class, we jumped at the opportunity! I had heard about their classes and was so excited to bring Rhett so we could try our hand at making fun mug faces.
We got there early and Rhett announced to everyone as soon as we walked in that he had a VERY wiggle-y tooth. It wasn’t until he showed the clerk his sideways tooth that I realized he was going to possibly loose it in the store that day. I quickly bought some fish food so I could break a large bill to make things easier for the Tooth Fairy that night and also because Mark of the Potter has some giant fish in the River that jump out of the river when you feed them 😉 so it was a win-win
After feeding the fish we took a small tour of the place. It was such a cool building full of pottery from local and regional potters, they even had someone on a pottery wheel making cups as we were there.
Underneath the old Grist Mill you can see where the river flowed underneath the mill to grind grain years ago. It looks like a little secret cave and Rhett asked if this was like Batman’s Cave (to which I replied, probably)
After we toured the inner workings of the old Grist Mill, we still had plenty of time before the class so we decided to hang out on their porch, taking in the beautiful river views while Rhett still tried to pull his tooth out.
After a few minutes he happily declared VICTORY as he showed me his tiny tooth in the palm of his hand, his sweet smile changed in an instant.
He ran around showing everyone his little lost tooth and Rob, the artist running the class asked if he was going to put his lost tooth in his mug face. Much to my relief, Rhett told us he wanted the tooth fairy to have it instead.
The class was about to start so we headed over with the rest of the students and the cutest little dog ever: Biscuit.
The class was full of people and kids of all ages–all excited about making their face mugs. We were given tools and pre-made mugs to add clay to to create a face. And the artist running the class, Rob- a really fun and delightful soul, stood in the middle of the class explaining the tools and processes while showing all of us the steps for each particular part, all while sharing stories about pottery and his life. He was incredible.
Rhett chose to make his face a dog face where I chose to create a traditional face mug. We worked away on our mugs, all with Rob’s help, molding away our piles of clay until they kinda resembled the things we wanted them to.
There’s something about working with clay that is really cathartic. Rhett and I both were immersed in the experience. He sat for hours unwavering, completely focused on his art. He even jumped in to help me with my mug face and was so supportive and encouraging. We had an amazing time together.
I was so proud of his puppy and his dedication!! Initially I was worried he might have been too young for the experience but I know how focused he gets with his drawings so we took the chance. Rob helped him out with the hard parts and in the end he said it was the most beautiful puppy ever. Meanwhile Biscuit the dog slept under our feet in the studio looking up at us knowing he was the most beautiful sweet dog ever too.
I mean…. how cute is Biscuit?!
We finally finished our mugs and handed them over to Mark the Potter to be glazed, fired in the kiln, and finished. They told us they should be ready in a few weeks and I cannot wait to see the finished product, and come back to immerse myself in this lovely mountain pottery place all over again.
After the class was over Chad and Mayte brought us on a tour of the kilns and went over the process of how they fire the pottery and create the pieces in the end.
They even gave us a little dragon that shows when the temp gets hot enough to fire the clay.
This cool contraption is called a Pyrometric witness dragon. When the kiln gets hot enough, the cones on its back melt, and you can use this as an efficient way to measure the kiln temps. Plus it looks really cool. We named him Smog.
Although we might have left with one less tooth than what we had when we arrived, we gained so much more: new pottery skills we can now confidently expand on, new memories, and new friendships with Mayte, Chad, and Rob (oh and Biscuit too!) We cannot wait to visit them all again and deep dive into this local treasure all over again! Thank you Mark of the Potter for the wonderful experience and for your deep commitment and enthusiasm for this art form. ♥️
To see their upcoming classes and events, visit them here
Kate & Rhett