Ben Clark believes that humans have an innate impulse to create, and Clark wants to help foster that impulse with his clay studio Queen City Clay.
“By nurturing the growth of a unique, diverse, encouraging community we make the creative process accessible to all,” explains Retail Director Kirsti Burton. “We believe that the shared experience of creating ideas and objects can and does improve a person’s overall wellbeing.”
The studio, which was originally founded in 1996, is the region’s largest and oldest existing clay studio, gallery, and supply center that focuses on education and promotion of the ceramic arts.
Although the studio’s history stretches back 20 years, Clark’s history with it only goes back to 2016, when he and Denise Chase purchased the studio and renamed it Queen City Clay.
When Chase and Clark purchased the studio, they wanted to bring more offerings and collaborations with Cincinnati’s growing creative community, says Burton.
“We serve a range of skill levels, from clay beginners to professional potters and sculptors, while offering activities for families, schools, corporations, and various groups,” says Burton. “And we play an important role in arts education in the community, supply schools throughout the region with materials and training, offering internships, and an artist-in-residence program.”
Because education is so important to the team at Queen City Clay, they also put a significant interest in providing art classes to the area’s children and adults.
“The Art Workshop is Queen City Clay’s kid connection and is located right here in our building,” says Burton. “Offering Art Classes and Summer Camps for ages 4 and up, the Art Workshop has been in Cincinnati for over 25 years.”
Classes cover different art mediums such as drawing, painting, pottery wheel, sculpting clay, cartooning, and other imaginative subjects. They even host Night at the Museum and Christmas in July camps during the summer.
“We want to provide kids with the fun and creative experiences that parents are looking for in a day camp and classes,” adds Burton.
They don’t forget about the adults at Queen City Clay, either. The studio offers eight and twelve week classes in handbuilding, wheel throwing, sculpture, and class for adults 18 and up.
Aside from its studio, Queen City Clay is also there for the teachers, offering a variety of services and products including a discount on retail purchases, field trip options, a class for graduate credits, CEU opportunities, free workshops, free kiln training, clay delivery to schools, and YouTube videos to help supplement classroom projects.
The studio’s retail space, which Burton manages, has become a local one-stop shop for ceramic needs.
“We stock clay, glazes, raw materials, tools, equipment, and accessories,” she says. “We also have a gallery space where handmade pottery and sculpture are available for sale.”