Hand Builder and affectionately known as the "Horse Lady"
“We have an assortment of classes from youth to adult, with a variety of students from the true beginner to the fine artist. There’s something for everyone, but be prepared to learn a lot, meet some really fun and interesting people, and of course, get your hands dirty!”
Hand Builder and Raku Enthusiast
Shortly after moving to town, she researched art facilities.“I was impressed by the number of classes as well as the quality of work at the Art Center West Holiday Show. I decided to take an atmospheric firing class this session, and even though I had two graduate level classes already, I was amazed to learn there are so many different firing techniques. “
Wheel thrower with a passion for Folk inspired vessels
Lynne Noethling has been taking classes at Art Center West for ten years and found her home working on the wheel. Like many of the students at Art Center West, she loves the community aspect. “I have especially enjoyed working with like- minded people, being inspired by other artists,” and she adds “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t fun!”
Former Member Anne Ginkel
Wheel thrower with a love of texture
Some years ago I took a wheel class at Art Center West, part of the Visual Arts division of Roswell’s Recreation and Parks Department. I took it on a lark. I had never done any work in clay, and, in fact, had never even seen a potter’s wheel. I enjoyed the class; I enjoyed the people even more. I took another class, and then another, and, well, twelve years later I am still taking classes. But, much more important than the joy this facility affords me, is the contribution it makes to the larger community.
People so often assume that facilities like Art Center West are mainly for retirees who are simply filling up free time with busy work. They couldn’t be more wrong. We certainly have our share of retirees, but they work hand in hand with highly successful men and women from an assortment of professions, with stay-at-home parents who squeeze clay time into busy days, and with young people who are committed to their art as a lifework. And, as for our retirees, they are vibrant, accomplished folk who have had successful careers in their younger days and are now forging new paths, not yet ready to give up their journey. Ceramics is a hobby to some and a career to others. And all these people – from enormously disparate life-paths – work side by side, each contributing to the other, to the center, and to the creative life of the larger community.
Under the guidance of Art Center West’s supervisor, who truly understands that working with clay requires both creativity and scientific knowledge, the studio has flourished into an exceptional facility which offers the very best in ceramic art instruction. We have a variety of kilns that can provide an assortment of atmospheric firings. Our glazes are constantly evaluated, the formulas examined, and their chemistry carefully analyzed. Most university art departments would come up short if measured against our standards.
Our teachers are as caring as they are instructive. They accommodate each student’s preferences. They simultaneously challenge and encourage. They offer as much assistance and respect to students who just want to relax by making a simple bowl as they do to those who aim for mastery and masterpieces.
Between classes and spurts of concentration on emerging forms and sculptures, students and teachers meet in the center’s kitchen, share a coffee and some sweets, exchange stories, ideas, and words of encouragement. We work together to become better neighbors to each other and to the surrounding community. Twice a year we share our creations openly with the public, inviting others to join and, at the same time, raising funds to help those in need. We contribute regularly to the maintenance and growth of our own facility through shows and sales which also allow students to develop into full time artists.
Although I always hesitate to describe myself as an “artist,” I have through the years become proficient enough at the kind of work I do that I have been invited to participate in various shows and galleries. Nobody could have been more surprised than I was when the first invitation came. What was most surprising to me is that something I enjoyed so much, something that gave me an outlet for self-expression and that enabled me to communicate my feelings, ideas and experiences in a very basic manner would be received with enthusiasm by others. I feel honored when other students who are interested in the kind of work I do ask me to demonstrate carving techniques or to share glaze recipes. I feel thrilled and humbled when people tell me they “collect” my work because it “speaks to them.” It makes me feel connected to life and to the human experience we all share.
This kind of communication is vital to everyone who participates in the arts, and Art Center West encourages this give and take. The more experienced participants are always ready to freely offer support and help to those new to the program. This seemingly small contribution to the inner community of artists is a benefit to both giver and receiver. It always results in subtle but important changes as both artists explore new avenues and hone new skills.
Art Center West performs an invaluable service to the larger community as well. It offers a refuge, a place of discovery for people in all walks of life. It makes us realize just how eclectic our community is and how much we can learn from each other as we give to each other. The center encourages camaraderie among students and listens with intense interest as students look to the future and dream about what is to come.
As I carve my pieces, I can see the kiln yard below my workplace. I often see our studio supervisor loading the outdoor kilns, gently picking up each piece as if it were his own, examining it carefully to find just the right place in the kiln for that particular shape and glaze. Beyond the yard I may catch a glimpse of people walking the trails of Leita Thompson Park or gardeners planting a row of vegetables in their organic patch behind the studio. But the view I enjoy most is that of the meadows between the yard and the trails. This is where I see the potential, the possibility of sculpture gardens, of a continuously developing art community always open, always inviting, reaching out to all the residents of Roswell and beyond.