By LOIS KINDLE
Ever think of using your hands to shape something functional and beautiful? Want to relieve stress?
The Firehouse Cultural Center offers a variety of pottery classes to help you do both. They’re convenient, affordable and include all clays, tools, glazes, firings and instruction.
Participants can bring their own materials, if approved in advance.
“They’re some of our most popular classes, and they’re growing,” said Beth Stein, Firehouse Cultural Center operations manager. “They used to be held in the classroom, but now they have their own dedicated space in the Studio.”
Participants seem to enjoy every aspect of them.
“We’re free to create anything we want and use any of the materials here at the studio,” said Sharon Vasquez, of Ruskin. “The cost of the class is inclusive.”
Charlotte Brown and Sandy Levin, both of Valencia Lakes, agree.
“I love the feel of clay, enjoy getting messy and like being able to do anything we’re comfortable with,” Brown said. “I find it extremely fun and relaxing.”
“It’s given me a creative outlet, and I enjoy spending time with my peers while doing the same thing,” she said. It’s good for my mental health.”
All three women credit much of their satisfaction to Trish Veloso, the instructor.
Both said they “love her experience and calming energy.”
Veloso has taught pottery classes for the past seven years, five at Park Vista High School in Palm Beach County and two at the Firehouse Cultural Center. She majored in finance and minored in art at Palm Beach Atlantic University, where pottery was her favorite medium, she said.
After working for 11 years in banking, she decided it wasn’t for her, got certified in art education and found the position teaching in Palm Beach County.
Veloso teaches four pottery classes weekly: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and Thursday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The last Tuesday of every month, she also facilitates a Mom & Me Clay Day for up to 10 kids, ages 3 and older, from 1 to 2 p.m.
The cost for adult and mature teens is $135 for FCC members and $165 for nonmembers. The cost of Mom & Me Clay Day is a flat $20 per person. Like the other classes, everything’s included.
Tampa Museum of Art instructor Virginia Brennan teaches a four-week Pottery for Kids class for children in grades 4 through 8. The cost is $100 for members and $120 for nonmembers.
“You can take a lump of clay and create a 3-D form,” Veloso said. “I love the creative aspect of it.
“I enjoy helping people take what’s in their mind and make it happen,” she continued. “I love seeing their ‘aha!’ moment when they have success in making what they imagined. There’s no limit on which approach is taken. You can start at any skill level.”
So why not experience your own “aha!” moment? If interested, visit www.firehouseculturalcenetr.org/, call 813-645-7651 or stop by the Firehouse Cultural Center at 101 First Ave. NE, Ruskin. Scholarships are available to those in need.