Slinging mud for fun

Staff ~ The Amherst Daily News
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NAPPAN - Mud-slinging is usually a bad thing, but one exception is if you're making pottery.

Eric Sparling knows a thing or two about making pots and he's gambling Cumberland County has a few would-be mudslingers interested in starting this timeless craft.

Sparling is the proprietor of Hayseed Pottery, a small, home-based studio that just opened in the Amherst area. While the artist hopes to have a retail space at his Nappan home in the near future, the initial focus is going to be on instructing.

"I'm looking at taking on a handful of students, teaching basic throwing and hand-building skills on a semi-private basis," said the married father.

This may be the first opportunity residents of Amherst and the surrounding area have had to learn this skill so close to home.

"I'm not aware of any potters offering lessons in Amherst, or even close by," Sparling said.

When it comes to pottery, the artist - he's also a published author and dabbles in oil painting - describes himself as a serious hobbyist on the cusp of making the next step.

His skills have been acquired from a number of sources.

"I began taking classes in Japan. Pottery has a huge profile in that country. I followed that with courses in Hamilton and Guelph, and volunteering with a professional potter."

Hayseed Pottery is equipped with an electric wheel and kiln, and all the tools necessary for building and glaze-firing pottery.

"My ambition is for students to walk away from the introductory course with a love for pots and a few pieces they can be proud of."

Initially, Sparling will be offering an eight-week introduction to pottery class to three groups of two students, at a cost of $180 per person (students are required to register in pairs). There will be a material fee for clay and glazes (one bag of clay is included with registration).

"Teaching semi-privately means a lot of individual attention, and an opportunity to maximize learning in each one-hour class," says Sparling.

Geographic location: Amherst, NAPPAN, Cumberland County Japan Hamilton Guelph

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