A few weeks back I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to be a part of an exclusive pottery event with Tena Payne of Earthborn Pottery. I was excited to join an awesome group of mud-slingin’ Alabama bloggers for a day of pottery making at the Cahaba Clayworks studio in Leeds.
Tena’s pottery graces the tables of restaurants in a number of famous places you might recognize: Hot and Hot Fish Club, Beau Rivage, Treasure Island, Caesar’s Palace, and Bellagio, just to name a few. It’s a pretty impressive résumé, to say the least.
Along with her business partner Larry Allen, Tena has opened a place where the public is welcome to come and learn their addictive craft. The Cahaba Claywork’s studio is right here outside of Birmingham in Leeds. It’s just minutes from the new Bass Pro Shop, so for all you fellow fisherpeople out there just head toward the Mother Ship and turn right and it’ll be down there on the right.
The studio is brimming with incredible pieces of terra cotta that will make your heart go pitter patter. Ya’ll know I love me some rustic pottery, so getting a behind the scenes tour of this delicious den of earthenware was fascinating to me.
And seeing the finished pieces??
I would like to fill my cabinets with this stuff. LOVE.
But you know what was even better than that? Learning how to throw pottery on the wheel. This is something I have ALWAYS wanted to do.
Looky at how happy it made me!
In just four short hours, we all learned how to take this:
And sculpt it to THIS:
I’m not gonna lie.
It was a heckuva lot harder than it looks.
It took me four tries to get it right, but I finally was able to throw this teeny tiny bowl with what little mud I had left after multiple rotations around that wheel.
Maybe when I get old I can soak my false teeth in it or something. Just for comparison sake, check out my tiny bowl compared to the others. LOL
My other bowl was a wee bit bigger and sturdier.
I also hand sculpted a vase with a textured design on it. That part was a big fat FAIL, so we’ll just pretend like it never happened. Trust me, this picture makes it look much nicer than it actually was.
There is a definite learning curve to the clay-throwing process, but once I got started I realized that it could be a totally soothing and addictive hobby. I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!! Feeling that clay taking shape underneath my hands was really empowering and really got my creative juices flowing.
I’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to our incredible instructors for the day, Tena and Larry. These two folks exuded confidence, both in the clay and in each of us.
They were patient and kind and willing to walk us through every step of the way even though some of us (ahem: ME) needed more help than others.
The talent that flowed from their fingers was truly a site to behold. You should have heard the collective gasps around the room as Larry took that lump of clay and formed it into a beautiful vase in just minutes.
I’d also like to say thanks to Top Notch Catering in Leeds. They provided us with a delicious boxed lunch. Thank you so much for everything!
If you have ever wanted to learn to throw pottery on a wheel or if you are just looking for a great evening out with friends in the Birmingham area, schedule a class with Tena. There are two ways you can go:
1. Six Week Classes: Once a week, 2 hour long classes for six weeks – $150. This includes unlimited studio practice time.
2. Pottery Parties – 2 hours long; $35 per person with a minimum of 6 people in the party.
Talk about a great place to bring your girlfriends, your family or your church group! Tena shared an inspiring analogy from the bible about The Potter and the Clay as she was teaching us. It was really mesmerizing to watch her hands form a bowl as she talked about God shaping each of us in our lives. Pottery is not limited by age, gender, giftedness or ability. Pretty much anyone could sit down at that wheel and fall in love with this form of art.
Here is the great group of local bloggers that I had the pleasure of meeting that day. It was SO much fun to meet all of these ladies!
left to right standing: Cheri from Chez Cheri, Rachel from Grasping for Objectivity and Alabama Bloggers, Wendy (Mama Hen) from Long Days, Short Years, Jill from Jill’s Real Life, Jamie from Jamie’s Rabbits, Rhoda from Southern Hospitality, Leigh from Tales from Bloggeritaville, Tammy from Greek GRITS and Me! kneeling from left to right: Nanci from Birmingham Mom Online, Trina from XOXO, Trina, & Jessica from Thoughts of a Bama Belle
Another thank you to Rachel of Grasping for Objectivity for arranging this meetup. It was a blast!
Be on the lookout for a giveaway very soon… you just might win one of these incredible pieces for yourself!