Clay is being thrown left and right at The Burner Homeplace in Cass, but it’s not out of anger. It’s a form of artistic expression.
Alison Safrit, who operates the museum and art gallery with her mom, Louise Burner, is now teaching pottery classes at the gallery. A skilled pottery and ceramics artist, Safrit – who also has Alison Pottery in Marlinton and Little Mountain Yoga – is now sharing her knowledge with a series of pottery classes.
“I started in June,” she said. “I’ve had four classes, and I’m about to do my fifth. I’ve been doing about one a month, just to get started and see what the interest is for these classes.”
Safrit had two pottery wheels of her own and she received a professional development grant from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History to go toward four more wheels for the classes.
With six total, Safrit said she has opened the classes to six people at a time, but there is a possibility of adding more slots for private parties or events.
“There could be six to twelve people because people could do some hand building or just switch up on the wheel,” she said. “Private parties, different gatherings, I’m open to hosting those. I’m definitely open to how the program can grow.”
The classes will continue through November, and Safrit said, after taking a break during the wintertime, they will pick back up in the spring in March or April.
Classes are geared toward high school to adult age students, but Safrit said children have also participated with the help of a parent or guardian. All skill levels are welcome and students are welcome to take as many classes as they wish.
“I’ve had several students that did it in undergrad or high school, and I’ve had some that have worked with clay before,” she said. “We start with bowls – that’s the easiest thing to make on the wheel. If someone wants to make a cup or a vase, I’ll work with them on that. It depends on their skill level. I’ve had a lot who have said, this is my first time ever touching clay,’ or ‘this is my first time sitting down at the wheel.’”
Safrit said she has been really pleased with the outcome of the summer series of classes and that her students have created some very nice pieces of pottery.
“Some students have gotten really creative,” she said.
Safrit said she will continue to give updates on class schedules and openings on her Facebook page, her website at alisonpottery.com and in the newspaper. For more information on classes, Safrit may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Safrit’s pottery is also on display and available at The Burner Homeplace and Alison Pottery, which is in the process of moving from its current location on Ninth Street in Marlinton to the former CJ Richardson Hardware building on Main Street.
For now, the gallery will be on the first floor of Richardson’s, but by 2023, Safrit said the gallery will be relocated to the second floor, where she also plans to have a yoga studio.