Weyburn pottery studio doing well under the pandemic

Tanya Hulbert started up a pottery studio at the location of her husband’s contracting business to try and keep busy during the COVID-19 lockdown, and has found a strong positive response from the community in doing pottery.

Her studio, called “Mind over Mud”, is based in the office for John Hulbert Contracting, with the front area of the office remodeled for her use, and includes a kiln that she bought and had installed in the back shop.

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Her interest in pottery began before the pandemic, as she and John took a trip to Oregon in 2018, and took a pottery class while there at a community studio. Back at home, Tanya signed up for a pottery class at the Signal Hill Arts Centre, and joined the pottery club.

In January 2020, a flood caused major damages to Signal Hill, causing it to close for a while for repairs, and the pottery club lost its home as COVID hit, and then Signal Hill was sold to a private buyer last summer.

Hulbert decided to buy her own kiln in February, and continued making pottery projects on her own, as the new Credit Union Spark Centre would not be available until September of 2021.

“It was probably the best decision I’ve ever made, and it kept me busy during COVID, while the rest of the world was shutting down,” said Hulbert.

Keeping busy with pottery helped with her mental health as well, she added. “We spent a lot of time during COVID watching videos and trying a lot of different things.”

Hulbert took a class in September on using a pottery wheel at the Cathedral Arts Centre in Regina, and she bought a wheel for her studio, which expanded the types of pottery projects she was able to try.

Friends and family members became interested in learning about and doing pottery, so her “Mind over Mud” studio started to get busy as she put on small classes to start with. She also made her kiln available for members of the pottery club, as they no longer had access to one through the City.

The studio initially began in a small office area, but they soon outgrew that space, so she had the front office area remodeled to give them more space to work in.

The classes have grown to where she now has two to three classes a week, including for children and adults, and her schedule is now booked through to June.

“We do all hand-building. It’s very versatile, as you can make absolutely anything by hand. There’s a lot more options,” said Hulbert, noting she has popular classes in how to build a mug or a bowl.

For Easter, she created a simple take-and-make project for making a bunny bowl, and it’s proven to be very popular for children and adults alike. The package is self-contained, with clay, instructions, three glaze colours and a small paint brush all included, and Hulbert will kiln-fire it once it’s completed.

“Some of my students have started doing pottery on their own. I sell clay to them and they’re interested in keeping busy with their projects,” she said.

Even though the public cannot come in to the display area at the Hulbert office on Railway Avenue, Hulbert has a wide array of pottery items for sale online, and she offers curbside pickup for anyone who wants to buy something.

For more information about the studio or her classes, check out her Facebook page, go on Instagram or email her at tanyahulbert@sasktel.net.