The possibilities are endless when it comes to pottery, and Solon resident Jolee Klugherz is bringing that reality to life for young and old alike.
As an instructor at the Solon Center for the Arts for the past three years, Ms. Klugherz, who holds a master’s degree in art education, is seeing a rising popularity in pottery for all ages.
“It’s an exciting kind of program to develop,” said Ms. Klugherz, 48.
She explained that pottery is less intimidating than other art forms, such as drawing, which she first taught when she began teaching at the art center.
“People are more willing to experiment with pottery,” she said.
For those who have interest, no matter their skill level, Ms. Klugherz encourages them to take part. In recent months, evening classes have been added as well as a day class for adults, among other workshops.
What appeals to her personally about pottery, Ms. Klugherz explained, is the ability to work with her hands.
“I like that it is a very different creative process than drawing,” she said. “There is something about creating a form from a piece of clay that is so rewarding and gratifying.”
Ms. Klugherz helps her students navigate through the countless possibilities when it comes to projects. Her class for children ages 6-13, is project based, she noted, with her providing direction every step of the way.
For the adults, she allows them to explore whatever project they may find of interest. Whether it’s a functional piece like a vase or bowl, or more ornamental, decorative objects.
Classes focus on hand building, while also exploring the pottery wheel.
“It’s really important to get a wide variety of experiences,” she said.
Participants also learn the art of glazing and seeing the end result after an item has been fired in the kiln and then painted.
“It’s incredibly gratifying,” Ms. Klugherz said, “and it’s fun.” Pieces enter the kiln sort of dull looking and come out beautiful.
“People don’t know what they are capable of doing,” she said.
There is also a therapeutic aspect of pottery, Ms. Klugherz continued.
“Smoothing the clay is therapeutic in and of itself,” she said. “You let your mind go into a space different from where it is in your daily life.”
As an instructor, the most gratifying part of the class is to see participants’ reaction when they set their eyes on a finished piece, Ms. Klugherz noted. “It’s this colorful, shining object they created, and you can see the pride.”
Ms. Klugherz said the overall goal of the class is for participants to leave with a sense of growth.
She aims at having each class rooted in creativity.
“Even when something doesn’t come out the way someone necessarily envisions, they can see growth and apply it to their next piece,” she said. “I want to provide a challenge and for each class to be enjoyable.”
Openings for both adult and youth classes are available and those interested can visit the city’s website.
Ms. Klugherz also said pottery camps will be presented this summer.
A native of Philadelphia, Ms. Klugherz said the art center in Solon was a draw when moving to the city about five years ago. She said the center continues to meet the needs of the community in the area of art education.
“As the demand has grown for pottery, the center has been very flexible in adding classes,” she said. “It’s an amazing testament to the city of Solon and the art center in general to have a comprehensive art program like this right here in town and one that caters to the needs of the community.”
For example, there used to be just one pottery class and now there are four. “The adaptability of the art center in terms of the offerings is special,” she said.