NO WORK, ALL CLAY

7 Houston Pottery Studios for Getting Your Hands Messy

Keep your weekend plans artsy at these Houston pottery spots.

By Claire Anderson

Keep your weekend plans artsy at these Houston pottery spots.

LOOKING FOR A DIY ART FIX IN HOUSTON? Though Space City’s huge art scene is always booming through our wide variety of museums, galleries, and renowned performing arts venues across town, sometimes admiring the art isn’t enough. Lucky for you eager artisans, hands-on art classes provided by local artists and educators are always available to support both up-and-coming artists, seasoned art veterans, and novices young and grown-up alike.

Most pottery studios follow the same basic structure for classes, whether they’re laid-back, one-time workshops, or weekly classes. While you’re at the studio, you’ll be given clay to work with on or off the wheel, and (hopefully) shape into something simple—a cup, vase, or plate—or more complex and sculptural pieces, depending on your skill level, class, and studio type. 

Once you’re happy with your beautiful new ceramic statement piece—or, that more-or-less symmetrical vase-shaped thing you made—the clay has to dry, then be fired in the studio’s kiln and glazed. You’ll usually get to pick up your finished piece within a few days or weeks, depending on the studio’s turn-around time.

If that all sounds too messy for your extracurricular activities this week (especially if you just got a manicure), you can attend a pottery painting studio instead. Sit back for a few hours with or without a glass of wine (or the rest of your family), and enjoy painting an already-made piece of pottery however you choose. 

Read on for a list of seven of the best pottery and pottery painting studios in Houston, and start planning your art career in advance.

Smashed Clay

 
MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

Adults, kids, couples, and families are all welcome to throw some clay (and not, actually, smash it) at Smashed Clay’s three locations across Memorial, Cypress, and Sugar Land. If you’re booking an individual session, girls’ night out, birthday party, or date night, you can choose a “functional” pottery project like a planter, vase, cup, or bowl for your hour at the wheel. Or, you can attend one of their signature Pairings workshops, where tobacco pipes, seasonal decor (even after Halloween is over, it’ll still be pumpkin season), and Seth Rogen-inspired pottery projects can be made. Some workshops even involve wellness rituals like New and Full Moon ceremonies and intention setting. As an extra bonus, if it’s your thing: almost every session is BYOB-friendly.

3rd Coast Clay Studio

 
INDEPENDENCE HEIGHTS

Although they offer classes for interested potters of any skill level, this local artist-run studio also has some great resources and opportunities for working artists interested in broadening their range of clay techniques and pursuing a serious career in the ceramic arts. You can try out a casual, two-hour wheel-throwing session if you’re new to it, or join an eight-week class program with one of the studio’s many instructors to get a foundation in the art. Most classes are for adults only, but parents can bring their children to learn the hand-building technique (which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like) at a holiday-themed workshop come Christmastime, or drop kids and teens off at a mini summer camp in July. 

McCheek's Studio

 
HEIGHTS

This boutiquey, whimsical studio in the Heights run by ceramic artist Carole Smith offers hand-building pottery classes for kids, teens, and adults. Five- or ten-week classes will teach students all they need to know while giving freedom to choose what kind of projects they want to make. Workshops are offered for adults throughout the year for a variety of unique projects, like a ceramic paint palette or Día de los Muertos altar, and kids can attend a “clay and craft” summer camp, or have their birthday party at the studio.

Potteryland Studio

 
THE WOODLANDS

This cozy, all-levels-friendly pottery painting studio offers one of the largest selection of pottery (some of which you can check out before you visit on their Instagram), underglaze colors (the proper term for the color you paint your pottery piece before it’s glazed in the firing process), and other materials, including stencils and stamps to help perfect the design of your choice. They also offer a number of take-home kits, so you can paint from the comfort of home, and then return the piece to the studio to be fired. Additionally, just next door is a newly-opened pottery studio, The Clay Bar Co., where you can level up to making your own wheel-thrown pieces whenever you’re ready.

Fire Gallery

 
HEIGHTS

Located at Sawyer Yards in the Arts District, Fire Gallery offers a wide variety of beginner and advanced pottery classes for small groups, including a number of laid-back date night classes. (Yes, they’re in on the Ghost reference, too.) Although studio membership can be pricey if you’re looking to use their space for more than the casual evening with friends and family, it can be a great place to rent as an artist’s space, or learn about more advanced techniques like Raku firing and ceramic sculpture.

The Mad Potter

 
MULTIPLE LOCATIONS 

With multiple locations in River Oaks, Bellaire, and Memorial, The Mad Potter offers all of the family-friendly pottery painting options of other studios, including parties at the studio and at-home party kits. They also offer holiday workshops (which are parties, too, and great opportunities for kids to make some new friends) throughout the months of November and December, and over 250 pottery options, from simple shapes, to “coloring book” pottery with pre-printed designs to paint in, Christmas ornaments, home decor, and even dragon and dinosaur statues.

Four Circle Studio Ceramics

 
WOODLAND HEIGHTS

Four Circle Studio Ceramics is a new studio to add to the growing number in the Heights. Located in Asch Building, an ethically-informed shopping center, the studio takes a more individual approach to the classes it offers. Whether you’re taking a private introductory lesson to get the fundamentals of wheel-throwing, having fun with your person (or kid, or someone else you like enough to take a pottery class with) on a night out, or looking to master a new vase, mug, or more complex piece, there’s no set curriculum for any of the classes. Instead, the studio wants to know what kind of objects you want to make, or what kind of skills you’re looking to get, and will cater your session to helping you achieve those goals.

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