If you're looking for an artsy date night with your significant other, go no farther than ART Station on Saturdays. With cheese squares, multiple wines, chips and salsa and clay creations, their Date Night Pottery events have attracted couples of all ages to sit down, work together on something fun and get creative.
"I'm ready to play," said Nina Washington, one of the participants for the evening.
Pottery night begins at 7 p.m. in ART Station's gallery with hors d'oeurves and wine, and couples can mingle with other couples. Jon Goldstein, the artistic manager of ART Station, then gives a small tour of the gallery and sends them to the studio next to the gallery. The studio, which Goldstein said used to be a silk-screening shop, is where the pottery takes place.
On this particular evening, two couples attended. Once they were settled at the studio's tables, Angela Williams, the instructor of the class, gave an introduction to the clay-making.
Williams has been in the clay business for more than 20 years. She has instructed classes at ART Station for the past 12 years, with instructive courses ranging from summer art camps for kids to adult painting classes. Williams also has her own studio, the Angelic Art Studio, in the SMart Incubator program, located in the heart of Stone Mountain Village at 977 Main Street.
To give inspiration to Date Night Pottery's couples for their own projects, Williams showed them many of the works attendees did at last week's pottery night, since it takes one to two weeks for the creations to finish the firing and glazing process.
Holding up a penguin-decorated pot, she said, "We went overtime that day and stayed until about 10:30. They were still playing!"
Williams also explained the basics for making pottery. She gave the pottery-goers tips on keeping the clay moist so that it doesn't dry out, how to properly mold clay around an object (you must place plastic around the object first so that the clay doesn't stick to the object) and how to knead out air bubbles that sometimes occurs when dealing with clay. She also showed them different texture rollers and carving pens so that they could design the clay using different instruments.
After the introduction, it was time to dig in. Because there were only two couples that evening (usually there are five couples, but a few canceled that day), Williams said they could make multiple creations. Washington and her partner, Thomas Scott, made four creations: Washington made a vase for her bamboo plant and two drink coasters (one had an "S" on it and the other had a baseball on it), and Scott made a piggy bank and two magnets (in the shapes of the letters "T" and "N" for their initials).
"I want you to show off my piggy bank, OK?" said Scott to Williams, refering to the introduction period Williams gives at the beginning of each pottery session.
When asked what inspired the Stone Mountain couple to give Date Night Pottery a try, Washington said that she and her boyfriend switch off "surprise dates" once a month, where one of them will have a date planned and doesn't tell the other what it is until the day of the date. This month, it was Scott's turn.
"He did good," said Washington with a smile.
The other couple, Chris and Maggie Nielsen from Lilburn, said they've always been heavy in the arts community, so they wanted to try Date Night Pottery for their fourth-year anniversary. For their clay creation, they decided to make wind chimes. Chris made the the base, while Maggie created a dozen or so chimes in various shapes.
"This reminds me of summer camp, totally," said Maggie Nielsen.
Having never been to ART Station before this evening, both couples purchased Date Night Pottery tickets from a February special on Groupon: $39 per couple instead of the original price of $79.
After the creations were complete, Williams put the pottery on the shelf, and the couples decided on what colors they wanted her to glaze it with later, the second step of the process after the clay is molded. The pottery is first bisque-fired in the kiln, then glazed (also known as colored), then fired for a second time until they're ready to be picked up by their owners.
All of the sculpting took more than an hour to do, but the evening was filled with wine and cheese, laughs and getting to know one another. Even though it was a smaller crowd that most nights, it appeared that the couples enjoyed themselves with their significant others and the other attendees.
Date Night Pottery is held on the second, third and fourth Saturday of every month through November and the first and third Saturday of December. For more information on pricing, dates and reservations, check out the ART Station page.