One of the best kept secrets in Highlands Ranch, the Cheyenne Studio at Southridge Recreation Center, has been quietly churning out potter after potter since the center’s opening in October 2005.
“It’s a secret little place that a lot of people don’t know about,” said retired school teacher Sandy Knafelc, who started coming a year ago and recently roped in enough friends to join her that the studio had to add another class to its already extensive schedule. “The wheel just draws you in. I can’t stay away.”
That ‘can’t stay away’ attitude seems to have resonated with a number of artisans at the studio including Lisa Hauselt, who had done a little bit of handheld work in the ’80s but spent 20 years away from the potter’s wheel before Southridge opened.
Nowadays Hauselt has her own wheel at home and spends on average three days a week at the studio taking classes and working in the lab.
“It gets in your blood,” Hauselt said. “It’s not always easy at first, but if you really want to do it you just have to stick with it. I think it took me maybe three to six months before I did something that I actually thought was good.”
The studio, which has two kilns and makes all of its own glazes on site, offers a plethora of classes geared toward all age groups from toddlers up to seniors, beginners to advanced potters.
“When you take a beginning class here you will learn how to throw a bowl, a plate, and a cup,” said Sally O’Brien Burns, who has been the lead instructor at the studio since its inception and teaching pottery since 2000.
“There are only six weeks in a beginning class, so that’s a lot to learn in six weeks,” O’Brien Burns added. “You have to be patient to be a potter though, one piece can take anywhere from three weeks to a month.”
Most of the classes are done in three-hour blocks, meeting once a week and lasting a month at a time. There are also specialized one-day workshops and camps happening frequently at the studio.
In addition to the classes, Cheyenne Studio students and teachers make bowls each year for the Douglas County Empty Bowl Dinner, most recently creating 500 bowls for this year’s March 2 dinner that helped benefit the county’s women’s crisis center.
Also part of the studio’s annual activities is the Mother’s Day Pottery Sale, which features work from O’Brien Burns, other instructors and students who are currently enrolled in classes. Most of those students, O’Brien Burns said, have been coming to the studio since it opened.
This year’s Mother Day Pottery Sale is from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. April 30 and 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. May 1 at the Grand Hall at Southridge. All of the proceeds and profits go to the artists with 15 percent going to the HRCA to help fund materials for the studio.
For more information in regard to classes, please contact arts coordinator Veronica Williamson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-471-8853.