Thirteen years ago Tim Preston founded the Clay Center of Northern Colorado, offering pottery classes, individualized instructions, and studio space for Greeley artists. With more than 40 years of experience with ceramics, Preston has created a friendly and approachable environment for people of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels to enjoy making art.
“This is both a refuge and a gathering place where people can help each other and interact in a meaningful way,” Preston said.
The Clay Center is embedded into the Greeley community through a variety of classes, demonstrations, and involvement in the arts and culture scene. Preston works with Envision, a nonprofit Community Center Board serving Weld County, providing creative support for people with developmental disabilities through weekly pottery classes. The Clay Center has also previously partnered with the Poudre Learning Center to assist with its science programming for students and helped District 6 teachers sculpt each bone of an entire tyrannosaurus rex skeleton out of clay to mimic a real archeological dig.
“The Clay Center is a place where people can come together and be creative without judgement,” Preston said.
With four different types of kilns, the Clay Center offers a well-rounded experience for those that want to delve into the world of ceramics. Wood, gas, electric, and soda kilns each create unique pottery products with distinct looks. The laid-back atmosphere allows for real learning to take place, combining the seriousness of a professional studio with a personalized approach to artistic methods and critique. Mike Lemke, Professor of Ceramics at UNC, is a visiting artist at the Clay Center and teaches classes there. He’s seen firsthand how Preston has helped artists who are starting out in their careers.
“My UNC students that have gone to the Clay Center for a summer or semester come back as even better artists,” said Lemke.
The Clay Center’s support for local artists is indicative of the strong arts and culture community in Greeley. A growth of opportunities allows artists to hone their craft and work professionally, while the City of Greeley encourages the community as it grows. From events, live music, theater performances, public art, and more, Greeley’s arts and culture scene is diverse and immersive, not to mention a fun place for artists to live, work and recreate.
“The quality of life in Greeley is great and the arts and culture community is a diamond in the rough,” Preston said.
Interested in taking a ceramics class? Check the Clay Center’s website for the class schedule and be sure to attend the Center’s annual pottery sale during the holiday season.