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Snoodle your way into ceramics by attending a class or free event

In its second summer of existence, Snoodle Ceramic Studio is making strides toward its purpose of involving the community in art.

Snoodle continues to offer classes, private lessons, community outreach, open studio time and free events.

The studio's community-related goals come from its owner and founder Tonya Borgeson, who developed the goals while a graduate student in Illinois and Indiana.

Borgeson teaches art at Lake Superior College, Itasca Community College and community classes at Lake Superior Zoo, Ordean Middle School, Central High School and Snoodle.

"I feel it's important to bring arts into the community," Borgeson said.

The studio has begun working with some non-profit organizations this year in pursuit of that mission. It fires pieces made by Art Junction members and offers free studio use to Mentor Duluth children who go to the studio for a private lesson with their mentor.

YMCA Mentor Duluth Coordinator Peggy Ostman brought her mentee, Jackiy, to Snoodle for a session.

"It was a lot of fun," Ostman said. "(Borgeson) gave us one-on-one instruction on how to use the wheel and how to make a piece of pottery."

Jackiy enjoyed the session, and plans to give the piece she made at the studio to her best friend, Ostman said.

"I just think it's really wonderful -- her philosophy of including the community in her art and her studio," Ostman said.

Snoodle offers open studio nights from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Tuesday through summer. The studio is open to anyone for a cost of $10. The open studio is available to people of all skill levels -- or no skill levels. Borgeson has one requirement: Anyone who hasn't used a potter's wheel before must sign up for a private lesson beforehand.

It's easier to teach someone the wheel if one can focus on that person without interruption, she said. {IMG2}

"Everyone really enjoys getting involved," Borgeson said. "You don't need to have any experience to work with ceramics. "

Artists who come to the studio for open studio night can also rent space to store their work and clay. The studio now has five renters.

Snoodle gives Duluth mom Tanya Ripley a time and place to sit down and work on her art away from the distractions that keep her busy at home, Ripley said.

Another renter, Anna Cook, has traded the use of her personal ceramics equipment to the studio for time and space at the studio.

Cook tried selling her equipment to Borgeson, but the two worked out a trade instead. A stay-at-home mom, Cook plans to sell ceramics to help support her family. Cook, whose arrangement with Snoodle began six weeks ago, is building up her stock to sell at the Green Man Festival later this summer.

"I didn't think I'd ever go back into ceramics. If it weren't for Tonya and this studio, I wouldn't have done ceramics again," Cook said. "I couldn't plan for something more perfect than what this has become for me."

Cook had been working out of her home but couldn't find inspiration in working alone.

The atmosphere at Snoodle is a big draw. At the studio artists offer constructive criticism and appraisal of each other's work, Cook said.

Offering a positive atmosphere for artists and community members to work is Snoodle's purpose, Borgeson said.

Another way Snoodle brings art to the community is though its free events. The free events are held once a month throughout the spring and summer. The next free event, raku fire, will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 8, and Sunday, July 9. Artists will bring their pieces, and Borgeson will demonstrate how raku firing is done. The event also will feature sales by area artists.

Snoodle is making strides, but Borgeson has more goals in mind for the future.

Snoodle's next step, a coffee shop and art gallery, is already in the works with plans to open next summer. Borgeson said she wants the gallery to sell local handmade artwork. Eventually she wants to include an artists' retreat in Wrenshall.

News to Use

A raku fire free event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 8, and Sunday, July 9, at Snoodle Ceramic Studio, 7107 Grand Ave.

A salt fire free event will be held Aug. 12-13. The events include hands-on participation, demonstrations and an artist's market.

Tuesday open studio nights are held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The cost is $10. Private lessons are available at various times. The cost is $10 per lesson. To set up a private lesson, call the studio at 310-8903.