Pottery painting enjoys popularity spike

The classes at the Carnegie building include a Face on a Plate class tonight.

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Josie Anhorn, 11, uses a dabbing tool to paint a design on her candy dish as part of a Girl Scouts activity at the Pottery Painting Studio at the Carnegie building.

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Sarah Gibb, 12, paints a candy dish on a recent visit to the Carnegie building with several fellow Girl Scouts.

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Destinee Bollinger, 12, carefully paints the body of a ceramic guitar.

WALLA WALLA -- "The most popular thing is the piggy banks; we cannot keep them in stock," Patrice Townsend said, as she scanned dozens of colorful ceramic knickknacks lining the stock shelves of the Pottery Painting Studio at the Carnegie building.

"The Converse are getting popular too," the pottery studio manager said, referring to a psychedelic looking ceramic high-top sneaker sitting on the same shelf near the green polka dotted piggy bank. Both were painted samples of what can be created at the studio, and behind them sat several flat white copies waiting to be decorated and fired by customers.

"We have been getting a steady line of people coming, along with a handful of repeat customer who come in almost every week or every other week," Townsend said, noting that since the city Parks and Recreation Department took over the studio, business has increased about 60 percent.

As if to prove her point, on Friday afternoon the studio was hit up with a pack of five Girl Scouts, one brother, one 5-year-old girl named Skylar and four parents. They were a group of returning clients, Townsend noted.

On this trip, Destinee Bollinger picked out a guitar to paint, while Alexis Nordman picked a pumpkin-shaped candy dish, and Sarah Gibbs, Josie Anhorn and Anna Ruthven all picked similar candy dishes with lids. As for the kid brother who got dragged along, Tanner Bollinger picked a skateboard and was done painting in less than 10 minutes.

As for the adults, the most noteworthy choice there was made by Ron Nordman, who picked out the largest manly platter to paint with his daughter Skylar.

"I love to see the guys in here. It is not very often you see guys in here," Townsend said.

In addition to more customers, the pottery studio is also seeing more inventory these days. Townsend said there are now more knickknacks to chose from and several oversized platters that can be decorated into pasta servers.

The studio has also increased the numbers of classes offered, and today (Monday) marks the first time pottery studio classes will be offered since the facility was taken over by the city.

"We are getting a lot busier now that the weather is turning and soccer season is ending," Townsend said.

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com or 526-8325.


About the classes

All pottery painting classes start at 6:30 p.m. and include all materials for the project.

The Face on a Plate class will take place this evening and again on Oct. 26, Nov. 10 and 17. A Mini Porcelain Chests class for those 8 and older will be offered Dec. 1 for $25. The Holiday Platter class for 16 and up is Nov. 9. Cost is $50 for a platter 16"-18" wide.

For more information or to register go to www.ci.walla-walla.wa.us or call 527-4527.

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