The Creative Bliss of Hands Too Dirty to Hold a Smartphone

Mudstone Studios encourages potters new and old to tune out and get creative in Warren and Pawtucket


On the first day of Pottery 101, the class was silent. The instructor, Adam Ferbert, asked what was going on and a student replied, “this is the most social interaction I’ve had in two years.” Nervous laughter erupted. It turns out that adults who take pottery classes for fun are all creative, quirky, and just as excited to learn something new as I was. I couldn’t think of a better way to “get back out into the world” than pottery. Muddy hands made it impossible for me to operate my iPhone, and after two long years of ever-increasing screen time, that was a welcome reprieve. 

This first foray into ceramic arts happened at Mudstone Studios in Warren. The space is large and colorful, with individual studio members’ spaces sectioned off so you can peek at the beautiful art they’re creating. There is a giant wall of glaze swatches layered over each other to create completely new colors and textures. The energy was high and positive, creativity was in the air, and everyone’s hands were dirty. 

The studio was founded by fine artist Ellen Blomgren in 2007. Since then, the growth of the lively collective of artists has allowed for a second location, which opened its doors in Pawtucket this past spring. Blomgren is a ceramic sculptor, who creates imaginative statues of animals that are somehow both realistic and mythical. Visit Mudstone and you’re sure to run into her enchanting renderings.

Mudstone offers a variety of classes for newbies and experienced potters alike. Students can begin with handbuilding classes, wheel throwing classes, or both. For more advanced potters, they have classes for special porcelain projects, handbuilding, sculpture, gradient glazed vessels, and more. 

Each week Ferbert provided an outline of a clearly defined skill while also leaving space for experimentation. I started the class having never touched a pottery wheel before and at the end of my six-week journey learning the pottery wheel, I amassed a collection of various pots, mugs, and vases, fully glazed and fired. The progression of my skills from week one to six was obvious; my pots became increasingly less lumpy and lopsided, and more into things I was proud to drink coffee from. I highly recommend getting your hands dirty at Mudstone.


Mudstone StudiosWarren, Pawtucket 


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