As far back as I can remember growing up in North Woodmere, LI, my mom fostered my love of everything artistic and musical. For my three younger brothers and myself our house was filled with every musical instrument, oil paints, acrylics, charcoal sketch pencils, and pastels. I often thought my house was Sam Goody’s and an art studio combined. While I took piano lessons for 18 years anything artistic appealed to me more.
My mother was my inspiration! She was a millenary designer prior to marriage and she did everything from sewing, knitting, crocheting, and needlepoint. Because I showed an interest in learning to do the things she excelled in, my passion for art grew with her as my very first art teacher.
Once I got into Hewlett High School I had excellent art teachers who encouraged my love of art; from drawing and painting to clothes designing and interior designing. Classes were challenging and interesting. One of my classmates and fellow art students was Donna Karan from grade three to twelve.
The very first time I had the opportunity to play with clay was in college. I took an elective art class in hand building at CW Post College where I was studying to become an elementary school teacher. In this class we worked with slabs and coils.
It wasn’t until many years later that my sister in law and I decided to take a wheel class at the Potter’s Wheel on Queen’s Blvd in Forest Hills followed by hand building classes. When the studio moved to a larger location in Kew Gardens I continued going to the studio on Wednesday nights; the highlight of my week. I was hooked!
As a teacher I was often bogged down with papers to grade on a daily basis. I always tried to encourage my students to find something they love to do and to take time to do it. I had found a hobby I was passionate about. They felt my enthusiasm when I would share with them what I learned in class on Thursdays. They couldn’t wait to see some of my finished pieces; especially when I brought chocolate chip cookies and served them on a platter I made. No marked papers were ever returned the day after class.
What I love most about clay is that the learning process is ongoing. There is always a new technique to learn. We brainstorm a lot in class. For every project we do each one of us has our own take on it. The first step is is always deciding what type of clay to use. There’s a lot of versatility deciding how to embellish our creations and choosing one or more glazes for it. My favorite glaze is “floating blue.” My favorite projects are ones I can use and display in my home. I have made bowls, platters, sculptures, vases, and wall hangings, etc. over the years.
There is an enormous amount of community at the Potter’s Wheel. It has been 31 years that I’ve taken classes on Wednesday nights and now during the day on Wednesdays since I retired. It’s always been my “over the hump day” and my happy day of the week. My clay friends and teachers are friends for life.
The Potter’s Wheel is a marvelous place to be inspired. You can take beginner classes and work yourself up to advanced classes on the wheel, hand building, or jewelry making. You can also take individual one on one classes as I have done on the wheel with Grace. Whatever class you choose you will have the best time. And, you will amaze yourself with the artistic clay pieces you have created and everything you have learned.
Note from Grace:
Carol is a cat lady at heart and also a wonderful potter...
She loves combining the two in unexpected ways while still leaving room for other forms.
You can usually find Carol at the studio on Wednesday’s- during what she calls ‘her happy day’. Stop in to say hi and make sure to take a look at her wonderful handbuilt pieces.