Twenty-five years ago, someone made less than flattering comments about Jackie Wright’s painted portraits of her grandmother. As a result, she decided to focus on ceramics, which eventually gave life to her business, Out Back Ceramics and Art Studio, in Roy.
She originally started the studio to provide kids with a spark of imagination.
Neighbors Jim McLean and Diana Greer work with Wright to make the studio a welcoming and creative environment that hosts regular customers and parties for Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and school groups. Since then, it has become a place for art classes and a general studio for artisans to enjoy.
“It started for the kids, and the parents got involved, and that’s just great,” Wright said.
Wright did ceramics when she lived in Rockford, Illinois, which played a part in her getting into it as a business. McLean and Greer have been with Out Back Ceramics and Art Studio for the past year and a half.
While ceramics is in the name, it’s an all-around studio offering a variety of classes, which include pottery, painting, and more. The studio has collected an expansive collection of ceramic molds during its more than two decades in business and McLean stays busy pouring ceramics on almost a daily basis.
“Jackie probably has 30,000 different mold styles,” McLean said. “What I do is mix up liquid clay and fill the mold up, let it sit overnight, and then clean it off the day afterward.”
McLean said there are a lot of legacy molds, as ceramics were popular in the 1970s and 1980s.
“It kind of died out for a while, but it’s making a resurgence,” McLean said.
Customers can walk in from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. They can pick out a piece and use the studio as a workplace. The studio also offers glazing services at the shop. They can also customize the piece to the customer’s liking.
“There is just a lot,” McLean said. “There are probably four different rooms and two different outbuildings. There are ceramics of all sorts everywhere.”
Fairies, gnomes, and sunflower bees tend to be the most popular. Perhaps even more popular than those is the “Stan the Sunflower Gnome,” who can probably be seen in yards around Southwest Washington.
McLean said many residents are shocked to learn there is a ceramic shop in Roy.
“We’re kind of hidden back here and it surprises even people from Roy,” McLean said.
Wright said she loves running the shop, all the people, and the activities involved. She is happy that McLean and Greer have joined the studio.
“Jackie is pretty modest. She is talented and has a gift for doing this,” McLean said.
The studio has small, medium and large kilns, which can be used for pottery, ceramic and bisque. People who do pottery at home but don’t have a kiln can also bring their work into the studio to get it fired up.
Out Back Ceramics and Art Studio is located at 32015 Tisch Road S. in Roy.
For more information on the business, go to its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OutBackCeramicStudio.
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