Royal Oak – Have you ever just wanted to get your hands dirty, maybe grab a paintbrush, and create? Well, when that mood strikes you, head on over to the Creative Arts Studio in Royal Oak! That’s why the owners, Kristin Ashare and her husband David Fredenberg, started the place.
“Both Dave and I are coming from a business background, but just had (sic) a lifelong love of creative pursuits,” explained Ashare.
In 1999 Ashare and Fredenberg opened a paint-your-own-pottery studio in Novi called Ready Set Paint. There, customers could pick out unglazed pieces of pottery and let their artistic side run wild, and paint whatever they wanted on the piece, which would be glazed, fired, and returned ready to use.
As their customer base grew, so did their interests. In order to add more services, they moved to a bigger place. In 2003 they opened up The Creative Arts Studio in downtown Royal Oak. Besides the pottery painting, they added mosaic art, glass fusing, canvas, and pallet painting to their repertoire.
They also added 10 pottery wheels in the back and started teaching lessons to those who wanted to learn. That’s what caught my attention. So I sat down behind a wheel and took my first lesson.
As my instructor, Georgie Abbey explained, “Wheel throwing is the process of making vessels...So they’re really good for a lot of functional pieces like mugs, vases bowls, plates.”
Basically anything with a circular shape.
We went over proper positioning, how to use water while forming the piece, and then she walked me through, step -by-step, how to make the bowl. It was a lot of fun, and very different than other creative pursuits I have done. There is something fun and almost childish about getting your hands dirty and making something out of clay. Our Live In The D intern, Grace, got in on the action as well.
Once the bowls were to a shape we liked, we then used a technique called banding to paint them. A couple of weeks and a few kiln firings later, we had our finished pieces.
They have a 6-week wheel throwing course for adults, as well as a kids’ version. You can also schedule a one-time lesson with them to make your own bowl.
The creative art studio is located on 4th Street between Center and Main in Royal Oak.