The Clay Studio of Missoula

By LEAH LEWIS

I’m a big fan of plates. Cups too. Sometimes even silverware. Contrary to my childrens’ table manners, I do try to instill some common cultural manners in my family. And, as a born multi-tasker, I refuse to collect something that merely sits on a shelf without contributing anything to my household.

I thought I found the perfect match with Fiesta Ware. Colorful, durable, classic and usable! But those racketeers at the Homer-Laughlin company have discontinued one too many colors for me. I’m breaking up with them. This spring I decided it was time to find a new functional yet collectible hobby. Then I met and fell in love with The Clay Studio of Missoula. Hellloooo, dahling!

Did you know there is a very tight-knit, talented and motivated community of artists who make not only beautiful art, but art you can actuallyuse?

If you can find your way to a neat little shop tucked next to the train tracks in Missoula’s Westside neighborhood you can find charming teapots, striking ceramics, rustic mugs, plates and even the occasional non-functional piece of art. All created with Montana Clay from Helena and born from a family of diverse and interesting artisans. And wait, it gets better! You can take a class and join the ranks!

I haven’t been on a wheel since my high school days and I haven’t quite worked up to that yet. I did have a great chance to work with the awesome Jazmine Raymond and mold some clay myself with my daughters 2nd grade class at the Clay Studio. If you haven’t rolled, molded or coiled clay in a while let me tell you, it’s even better than Play-Doh! There is a class for everyone if you are inclined, from kids to moms to grandmas and grandpas. And this is a step above a strip mall paint your own ceramics studio. This is a working artists colony!

Two weeks after my misshapen ashtray looking platter was glazed and fired I picked it up, and had even more appreciation for the flawless hand crafted vessels on display in the studios shop. And I do find myself smiling every morning as I enjoy my coffee or tea in a hand thrown cup instead of an old BPA filled plastic travel mug. Stop by the Clay Studio for a First Friday exhibit or even better, take a class. Find out more at The Clay Studio ofMissoula.

Feel free to comment below and let her know what YOU make in Missoula!  Back to the Maiden Missoula main blog page.

Like reading about Maiden Missoula products?  You might also like reading Zootown Cutie Booties, or The Smell of Home in Missoula Candles.

 

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Leah Lewis is living the dream on Missoula’s Northside with her handsome and handy husband Mark, daughters Zoe and Mila, two dogs, and a cat.  She enjoys making things on her sewing machine, with her knitting needles, and in her kitchen. You can listen to her play today’s pop music every day on Fresh 104.5 FM, or listen to her podcast about hundred or more year old pop music on her classical music podcast at www.downbeatdownlow.com with Darko Butorac from the Missoula Symphony. You might catch Leah and her family relaxing in their backyard, cheering on the Missoula Osprey, or rooting for the Lady Griz on any givenweekend.