Pottery remains a fixture in art, culture and everyday life, especially for dining.
Besides the art of throwing and carving pottery, which can take years to master, painting it also represents another step in the process.
Various artists across the Grand Strand make and market pottery – and some places also provide instruction.
Harry the Potter, which opened in February in Myrtle Beach, lets people paint, or really, add an underglaze to finished pieces, whether dinnerware or a variety of designs, such as animals.
Brittany Uller, owner of Harry the Potter, for which her family also operates a store in Mississippi, said each color needs three coats, each drying in a few minutes, and to do the light hues first, the dark ones last.
As each child worked on her artwork using six colors and representing a range of choices – a princess, frog, cupcake, mug, heart case, teddy bear and mirror – Todd Harris called this kind of activity “a wonderful concept.”
Uller said besides a memory, the artists get to take home a memento from the occasion – three to five days later, after the works are glazed and fired up for seven hours in a kiln at 1,862 degrees.
Mugs and dinnerware, which work for serving edible foods, are cookable with foods on and in conventional – not microwave – ovens. They’re washable, preferably by hand, and are the most popular items among customers. Banks and boxes resonate the most with youngsters, Uller said.
Harry the Potter is in the Carolina Forest area, off U.S. 501 South of the S.C. 31 interchange.
Care, instead, to learn from potters?
Joe and Tonda Jeffcoat of Little River, S.C., have operated Jeffcoat Pottery in Calabash for eight years.
“We’ve gone from working in our spare bedroom to a 5,000-square-foot building,” Joe said.The Jeffcoats are always connecting with fellow potters, especially a group in the Seagrove area, south of Asheboro, and they set up for regional art shows and festivals.
Jeffcoat said some places teach classes, and that “hand building” provides the best way for a person to get oriented with clay. He advises anyone mulling weekly classes to seek instruction before getting on a pottery wheel, so the student can create “slabs of clay and build them into objects.”
Later, with more time at hand, perhaps two or three times a week, proceed to a wheel and learn how to throw clay on that spinning platter to make bowls and dishes.