'It's like going to the therapist' - Chattanooga artist shares her love of pottery

Marian Heintz teaches others how to make pottery at her Chattanooga studio. (Image: WTVC)

Marian Heintz opened her own pottery studio seven years ago.

"A lot of people learn about themselves working in clay," Heintz said.

It takes a lot of concentration, dedication and passion to make your own pottery.

Marian walked us through the steps.

"The first step here is about centering the clay, and if our clay is centered in theory we will have a symmetrical form."

She uses water to keep her hands gliding smoothly on the clay as it spins.

The "throwing" of the clay on the potter's wheel is Marian's favorite part.

"It makes you focus on one thing," Heintz said. "You can't make pottery and be thinking about all these other things."

Making pottery is therapeutic for her.

"It's like going to the therapist, you have to work out all your issues, you have to get the insides looking just as well as your outside."

After the potter's wheel it goes to the trimming process to clean the edges and take off any extra thickness.

"Once they're completely dry then they go into the kiln."

The pieces bake in one of the kilns for about 13 hours.

After that it's on to the glazing.

Marian makes her own glazes with a combination of up to 12 chemicals.

It saves money, and she can create just the right amount and color for the piece she's working on.

After glazing, it goes back in the kiln.

"Things can go wrong at any point in all those steps."

Things like the clay cracking or just not turning out how you wanted it to.

It's not easy trying to make a living as an artist, but that's where the dedication comes in.

"It's just like you're almost compelled to do it that it stops being about the money and it's about who you are and what you wanna do."

Marian used to teach high school art, now she teaches people of all ages at her studio on Brainerd Road.

"It's an opportunity you can't miss out on to be able to learn from someone who has professionalism and experience," Emily Adkins said.

Emily is new to Tennessee. She's been coming to the studio for several weeks to learn from Marian and create her own pottery.

"The studio is like a safe haven for me, even if I don't come to throw just being here enough is peaceful to be here," Adkins said.

Introductory classes are offered about once a month.

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