06/07/10 — Workin' It - Artists, ceramics and bubbles

View Archive

Workin' It - Artists, ceramics and bubbles

By Laura Collins
Published in News on June 7, 2010 1:46 PM

The Job: Pottery teacher

The Company: KeepSakes Pottery Playhouse

The Location: Goldsboro

If every day was like my day at KeepSakes Pottery Playhouse, I probably would never leave work.

It involved bubbles, popsicles and toddlers, basically my three favorite things. My job was to help teach the Mighty Tots Activity Hour at the pottery shop with owner Karen Kestler. I knew it was going to be a good day after I had a completely incoherent conversation with two of the kids in attendance.

"What are you building?" I asked 5-year-old Hayden Gunn who was playing with Legos.

"It's a lawyer with a trailer," he said.

"What does that mean?" I asked.

"It means it goes fast," he said.

"This is my airplane," said another child, Ian Honeycutt. "It carries over 30 pounds a day."

"Impressive," I said.

The class, which is offered each week, gives the children, ages 2-5, the chance to paint their own pottery. Mrs. Kestler said the class started out six months ago with only two kids, but has grown to more than 20. Miss Karen, as the children call her, started the class by explaining the art project for the day. This is where it got a little confusing.

"We're painting with bubbles and sponges today," Miss Karen said. "Have you ever painted with bubbles before?"

"No, I wash with them," said 3-year-old Bryson Turner. I have a feeling that nothing gets by him.

"Sponges are for cleaning, not painting," Hayden said.

The project consisted of painting a soap dish with a sponge, then mixing paint and soap together and blowing those bubbles onto the dish. When the bubbles pop and dry, they leave a unique texture and pattern on the pottery.

Once the pottery is dry, Karen and her staff dip it in glaze and let it dry for 24 hours. Then the other half is dipped in glaze and it dries for another 24 hours. Then the pottery is heated in an 1,835-degree kiln for 24 hours. The end product produces a nice, shiny piece of professional-looking pottery with a personal touch.

The Mighty Tots class also included reading "The Very Lonely Firefly" during storytime, doing the Tooti Tot dance, and eating popsicles and blowing bubbles outside.

It's easy to see the connection Miss Karen has not only with the children, but also the parents. When she announced that this week would be the last Mighty Tots class for the summer, no one seemed happy about it, including Miss Karen.

"I was really having a hard time thinking about not seeing them during the summer," she said.

In the end, it turned out that neither Miss Karen nor the parents were interested in the summer hiatus. She is currently working on a summer schedule that includes the weekly Mighty Tots class.

The shop isn't just for toddlers, though. People of all ages can come in and pick from a large variety of pottery and paint. Miss Karen said it's a good place for families to come and do something together than everyone can enjoy.