Arts & Crafts

Indulge Your Inner Maker at Clay & Cabernet

If you suffer from FOMOOMT (Fear of Missing Out On Making Things), this is the class for you.

By Alese Pickering November 22, 2013

Students at McCheek's Academy can learn to make beautiful objects like this Snowflake.

McCheek's ceramics inspire students (and are for sale).

Just because I’m a graphic designer doesn’t mean I’m crafty. In a world of Etsy, DIY blogs, IKEA hacking, and arm knitting, not being a maker sometimes leaves me feeling like a slacker. I mean, I want to make beautiful, handcrafted objects—so much so, in fact, that I’ve developed FOMOOMT (Fear of Missing Out On Making Things).

Enter McCheek’s Academy’s Clay & Cabernet series. Every Thursday night, ceramics artist Carole Smith opens her Heights studio and hosts a class for up to 12 people. Students are encouraged to bring adult beverages—a brilliant move that brings out the creativity in shy novice crafters and keeps the vibe casual and easy-going.

Clay & Cabernet isn’t your Memaw’s ceramics class, circa 1982, where you picked out an already-fired stack of hamburger shaped coasters and glazed them to your liking. Don’t expect a scene from Ghost either—there’s no throwing of clay on a potting wheel here. Do expect to get your hands dirty pressing pretty patterns into sheets of wet clay, turning them into any object you can dream of (dishes, jars, or garden markers, to name a few).

Brittany's leaf pattern wall art and my ornaments.

At last night’s C & C, I got into the holiday spirit and made Christmas ornaments to give as gifts. My friends Brittany and Dana made candle holders, trays, and quirky wall hangings imprinted with leaves from Carole’s garden and glazed with colorful tints.

Each week after class is finished, Carole fires the finished pieces in her kiln, then gives them a clear, shiny glaze (all of McCheek’s glazes are food-friendly once fired, so go ahead and make that cheese tray). What was once gray, wet clay becomes white and shiny. Students collect finished pieces in 10 to 14 days.

Clay & Cabernet’s brand of crafting is a load of fun and totally addictive. Once student who declared “I’m not creative!” early on in the evening is already looking into taking another class. And, having scratched that maker itch, so am I.

Too much going on to make your own? Check out McCheek’s Mayhem, Carole’s retail arm, at Pop Shop Houston on November 29–30 and at Craftidote on December 7. Or buy her adorable pieces at Hello Lucky and Space Montrose.

Clay & Cabernet

Every Thursday from 7 PM to 10 PM
McCheek’s Academy
$40, BYOB and snacks


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