A potter's wheel can be incredibly sexy: Think of Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in "Ghost." But making ceramics can also be a fun and relaxing diversion.
When Julia Sinisi, 73, wants to fuel her creative drive, she heads to Island Pottery Studio, not far from her Mineola home.
"I absolutely love it," says Sinisi, who often finds herself contemplating how she'll finish the bowl, dish, cup, or vase she's working on -- and what kind of piece she might make next. "It keeps your mind going."
Paul Merkelson, a student for the past four years at Haven Art Studio in Port Washington, loves being involved in an art form that's been around for thousands of years.
"I like the process of making things with my hands," the Port Washington resident says. He makes usable items -- vases, dishes, pitchers -- many of which he gives as gifts or donates to charity. "It's very hands-on, tactile. It's a good right-brain exercise," he says. "I find it challenging, but also very rewarding."
Merkelson, 67, also enjoys the camaraderie of his fellow potters and, in addition to his weekly class, drops in a few times a week for open studio time. "It's a very sharing type of activity," he says.
LEARNING THE CRAFT
Island Pottery Studio owner Linda Scarcella says ceramic-making is a democratic art form.
"Once you get the basics down, especially on the wheel, it gives you the opportunity to open up and do a million different things," Scarcella says. "And at the very least, when you're finished, you throw on some pretty glaze and you've got a usable pot."
Indeed, says LuAnn DelGiorno, 61, of Garden City, who loves how free she feels working with clay. "I'm really not creative, but now I feel like maybe I'm finding a little creative side in me."
So while you may not have a Moore and Swayze hands-dipped-in-clay cinematic moment, perhaps you can still come away from pottery classes feeling more fulfilled. And, you get to take home a handmade vase, pot, mug or other keepsake.
WHERE TO TAKE CLASSES
107 E. Deer Park Rd., Dix Hills
INFO 631-462-5400, artleagueli.net
COST From $230Offers several 6- to 9-session courses and open workshops (some begin this week) for students who want to learn how to work on the wheel or by hand.
5 N. Village Ave., Rockville Centre
INFO 516-255-5255, artrageousrvc.com
COST $60-$65 for 2-session hand building and glazing class.
83 E. Main Street, Ste. 5 Patchogue
INFO 631-654-1351, gatherstudio.blogspot.com
COST $40 per 2-hour class
HAVEN ART STUDIO
29 Haven Ave., Port Washington
INFO 516-883-8344, havenartstudiony.com
COST $425 (includes 25 pounds of clay and firing/glazing) for 8-week sessions beginning May 2
ISLAND POTTERY STUDIO
315 Willis Ave., Mineola
INFO 516-493-9490, islandpotterystudio.com
COST $195 for 4 weeks, $350 for 8 weeks
565 Route 25A, No. 103, Miller Place
INFO 631-744-4001, studioeartclass.com
COST $180 for 8-week sessions (or $30 drop-in)