Crafternoon & Crafterdark Pottery Workshops

Bring your creative friends and make a few new ones as you learn the secrets of throwing pottery on the wheel. This three-hour workshop is a fun and messy introduction to clay. The $40 fee includes instruction and materials for one adult. Students can expect to make 3 – 5 pots and decorate them using colorful slips or textures. Your pots will be ready to pick up after approximately two weeks.

Clay for Couples

Looking for a unique date night activity that is sure to impress your mate? Look no further than NCC’s original Clay for Couples. Sign up with your special friend and learn the secrets of throwing pottery on the wheel in a fun and relaxed environment. Already attended a session? Sign up again and take your skills to the next level. Pots will be ready to pick up about two weeks later.

*The $80 fee includes instruction and materials for two adults.

Land of Round Pots: Wheel Throwing 101

Come learn the basics of making with clay in one of these 5-week introductory classes focusing on construction and glazing techniques. These classes will have fewer students, ensuring plenty of student-to-teacher contact time, and they are shorter, making them ideal if you have little or no experience with clay and want to test your interest in clay. We recommend that you take this class two or more times (within one quarter, or over consecutive quarters) to build your skills and prepare for beginner-level classes. Wear old clothes, and bring an old towel, a bucket no larger than 1 gallon, and a beginner’s set of pottery tools to the first class. Lab fee includes one bag of clay (25 pounds), all glazing materials, firing, and open studio access.

Land of Round Pots: Wheel Throwing 101

Come learn the basics of making with clay in one of these 5-week introductory classes focusing on construction and glazing techniques. These classes will have fewer students, ensuring plenty of student-to-teacher contact time, and they are shorter, making them ideal if you have little or no experience with clay and want to test your interest in clay. We recommend that you take this class two or more times (within one quarter, or over consecutive quarters) to build your skills and prepare for beginner-level classes. Wear old clothes, and bring an old towel, a bucket no larger than 1 gallon, and a beginner’s set of pottery tools to the first class. Lab fee includes one bag of clay (25 pounds), all glazing materials, firing, and open studio access.

Land of Round Pots: Wheel Throwing 101

Come learn the basics of making with clay in one of these 5-week introductory classes focusing on construction and glazing techniques. These classes will have fewer students, ensuring plenty of student-to-teacher contact time, and they are shorter, making them ideal if you have little or no experience with clay and want to test your interest in clay. We recommend that you take this class two or more times (within one quarter, or over consecutive quarters) to build your skills and prepare for beginner-level classes. Wear old clothes, and bring an old towel, a bucket no larger than 1 gallon, and a beginner’s set of pottery tools to the first class. Lab fee includes one bag of clay (25 pounds), all glazing materials, firing, and open studio access.

Crafternoon & Crafterdark Pottery Workshops

Bring your creative friends and make a few new ones as you learn the secrets of throwing pottery on the wheel. This three-hour workshop is a fun and messy introduction to clay. The $40 fee includes instruction and materials for one adult. Students can expect to make 3 – 5 pots and decorate them using colorful slips or textures. Your pots will be ready to pick up after approximately two weeks.

Land of Round Pots: Wheel Throwing 101

Come learn the basics of making with clay in one of these 5-week introductory classes focusing on construction and glazing techniques. These classes will have fewer students, ensuring plenty of student-to-teacher contact time, and they are shorter, making them ideal if you have little or no experience with clay and want to test your interest in clay. We recommend that you take this class two or more times (within one quarter, or over consecutive quarters) to build your skills and prepare for beginner-level classes. Wear old clothes, and bring an old towel, a bucket no larger than 1 gallon, and a beginner’s set of pottery tools to the first class. Lab fee includes one bag of clay (25 pounds), all glazing materials, firing, and open studio access.

Clay for Couples

Looking for a unique date night activity that is sure to impress your mate? Look no further than NCC’s original Clay for Couples. Sign up with your special friend and learn the secrets of throwing pottery on the wheel in a fun and relaxed environment. Already attended a session? Sign up again and take your skills to the next level. Pots will be ready to pick up about two weeks later.

*The $80 fee includes instruction and materials for two adults.

Land of Round Pots: Wheel Throwing 101

Come learn the basics of making with clay in one of these 5-week introductory classes focusing on construction and glazing techniques. These classes will have fewer students, ensuring plenty of student-to-teacher contact time, and they are shorter, making them ideal if you have little or no experience with clay and want to test your interest in clay. We recommend that you take this class two or more times (within one quarter, or over consecutive quarters) to build your skills and prepare for beginner-level classes. Wear old clothes, and bring an old towel, a bucket no larger than 1 gallon, and a beginner’s set of pottery tools to the first class. Lab fee includes one bag of clay (25 pounds), all glazing materials, firing, and open studio access.

Do It Yourself, Together: How maker spaces & tool libraries are building community

MPLS Make is a community woodworking shop in Northeast Minneapolis // Photo by Daniel Murphy

A squat, unassuming building of beige-painted brick and exposed cinder block sits tucked behind some of the great restaurants of Northeast Minneapolis’ Central Avenue. A red, hexagonal sign reads “MPLS Make” in white letters. It’s 4pm on a Thursday. A sign on the back door reads: “KNOCK LOUD! We’re rocking music and power tools  in here.” I knock loud—or so I think—and knock again, the second time clubbing the door with the bottom of my fist.

Theo Knaeble, founder of MPLS Make, offers a hand and a great, beaming grin. His jeans are flecked with sawdust, faded, streaked with dark patches, and his orange nylon vest is equally marked with work. Knaeble introduces Jake Hemstad, his “unofficial assistant” perched at a table saw. Hemstad is in the middle of building a new table for the drill press.

Theo Knaeble, founder of MPLS Make // Photo by Daniel Murphy

Sounds—from the intermittent shriek of a table saw to the hum of a planer to the flutter of someone’s tape measure—echo throughout the 2,800-square-foot space. Cage The Elephant’s “Too Late To Say Goodbye” reverberates from a stereo set high in one corner. The air carries, as you can imagine, a heavy whiff of sawdust, a little metallic tang, and smoke, and fresh-cut wood, and the faint pungency of varnish floating out from the much smaller finishing room, which has its own heating and air filtration system.

It’s a busy night for the shop. “Five members at a time is typical,” Hemstad says. Over the course of the hour, seven members becomes 10. At one end, Sam Miller, a coffee importer by day, is building a booth to bring to trade shows. “I wouldn’t have been able to do this project without this space,” he says. “Everybody here—I’ve asked them for something and they’ve all been super knowledgeable. And I remember their names, which I’m normally really bad at.”

At another end of the shop, Chad Anderson, cabinet-maker and resident “grill master,” is tinkering with a new project. He uses the drill press to bore a hole through the top of a wooden vase made from cherry.

MPLS Make is only 18 months young, but they’ve reached capacity with 35 members // Photo by Daniel Murphy

A few members, like Andy Mosca, work in the shop full time. “I need this space,” he says, chewing on a matchstick. “I’m here seven days a week, 30 days a month.” Mosca has been woodworking since the early ‘80s, but still considers himself an amateur. “I don’t think anyone here is afraid to ask a question and I don’t think anyone here is afraid to stop their project and go help somebody.”

In the far corner, small stacks of lumber lean against the wall and on individual shelves. This is the storage area, where projects-in-limbo wait for their makers to complete them. A great variety of projects are produced under this roof. One member makes guitars. Another is in the middle of making a clock. Hemstad designs and builds furniture. Recently, he built a shelf out of bookmatched black walnut. He tells me about a newer member who had no experience, but a lot of ideas. “He’d never woodworked before, and he came in and wanted to make a bed frame from black walnut—a really ambitious project.” Knaeble interjects, “Which is crazy if you ask me.” He shrugs, “But he did it! He just used the other members as resources, asked questions, poked around on the internet and used SketchUp to do it all. It’s pretty amazing.”

Members at MPLS Make are given 24-hour access to professional-quality woodworking tools and machinery, a heated space, and an atmosphere of other like-minded makers // Photo by Daniel Murphy

MPLS Make began with loneliness—or rather, with Knaeble combating loneliness. He’d been woodworking with a friend in a small shop in the Northrup King Building half a mile up the road. When that friend quit to pursue chiropractic medicine, Knaeble was left yearning for connection, so he put out an ad on Craigslist. That was 18 months ago. Knaeble mimics a typing gesture, “Like, who wants to come make stuff with me?” he says, recalling the day he made the ad.

Hemstad was among the first to reply. They hit it off, but quickly realized the 400-square-foot space wouldn’t do. They started a membership program, moved into this current space—which was a poorly maintained, vacant rental property replete with graffiti skulls and black paint over the windows—and transformed it into the impeccable workshop it is now. MPLS Make is still only 18 months young, but they’ve reached capacity with 35 members (garnered without a lick of advertising) and have eight people on the waiting list.

MPLS Make isn’t the only maker space in the Twin Cities. Just six minutes away is Nordeast Makers, which has similar philosophic goal as MPLS Make: to provide members a (heated) space, regularly-maintained machinery and tools, 24-hour access, and a community of other like-minded makers with a wide range of skills. Nordeast Makers, though, isn’t solely a woodworking shop; their equipment catalogue also includes CNC routers, liquid-cooled laser cutters, and high-resolution 3D printers.

In South Minneapolis, the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center (CAFAC), housed inside the historic Nokomis movie theater, focuses on “fine and industrial art forms that are produced using heat, spark, or flame—collectively known as ‘fire arts,’” according to its website. CAFAC members have an array of interests from welding to jewelry-making, but focus remains on fostering a sense of community, through classes open to the public and its youth program, SPEAK.

The newly opened Saint Paul Tool Library, while not a makerspace per se, empowers DIY-ers to tackle home projects by renting out a wide array of tools and equipment. They also have workshop space and access to some larger, in-house-only equipment, like table saws and belt sanders. A colorful mural of a handsaw by local artist Erin Sayer (who collaborated on the massive Bob Dylan mural at 5th and Hennepin) dominates one wall.

John Bailey, chair of the library’s local advisory board, says, “Frugal Midwesterners, DIY-ers, and the environmentally minded—those three kinds of people work together here.” Bailey and a team of seven others collaborated for a year before the tool library opened with a bang on March 4. They were expecting 100 people to attend to the reception; they got over 300. “The place was jammed,” he says. “But the enthusiasm is wonderful.” The Saint Paul Tool Library is the second chapter of the Minnesota Tool Library (Northeast Tool Library was the first), and although there aren’t any others officially in the works, Bailey says there’s a lot of chatter.

Here’s how Minnesota Tool Library chapters work: $55 a year gives you access to all the tools in the library—garden tools, staple guns, levels, and drills, as well as larger mechanical tools during open shop—and offers reciprocity with the other location. Tool checkout lasts seven days, but like a book library, you can renew if no one’s on the waiting list. Currently, the St. Paul space has 800 tools, while Northeast has 3,000. Like the makerspaces, the libraries host workshops but with more of a home improvement angle—from patching your drywall to building a raised bed for your backyard garden.

Projects range from wooden spoons to guitars to complex cabinetry // Photo by Daniel Murphy

Back at MPLS Make, Theo Knaeble does a beer run every Thursday to keep the workshop fridge stocked. To celebrate their first year in the current space, they threw a party, complete with a pinewood derby competition and goodies from Chad “The Grill Master” Anderson. They expect to grow out of this space soon and are currently hunting for another that would accommodate upwards of 85 members. Indeed, you can picture it. Their enthusiasm for learning and for craft, their kindness, their willingness to share knowledge (and beer with yours truly)—all of it brings to mind an aphorism for a writer who tries his damndest to steer clear of them: community is contagious.

Community Workshop & Tool Library Directory

American Workshop–Burnsville

Type: Woodshop
About: At American Workshop–Burnsville, you’re in for a 4,000-square-foot heated and air-conditioned facility, with more than 50 hand and power tools and on-site instruction to complete your woodworking needs. Don’t want to buy a membership? No problem. It’s an open-to-the-public woodshop, so all you have to do is pay an hourly fee.
Membership required? No, open to the public for an hourly fee
Address: 12040 Riverwood Drive, Burnsville
Website: www.americanworkshop.com/burnsville

Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center (CAFAC)

Type: Metalworking studio
About: A “regional center for learning, promotion, exploration, and creation of artist forms fueled by heat, spark, or flame,” the CAFAC has all the tools and equipment for welding, metal fabrication, and blacksmithing. Alongside the fully-equipped metalworking facility, they offer classes, instruction, resources, networking, as well as an atmosphere of community and creativity. Since CAFAC is a volunteer-run organization, it doesn’t have regular open hours, so call or email to set up an appointment or to visit.
Membership required? No, offers studio rentals
Address: 3749 Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis
Website: www.cafac.org

Duluth MakerSpace

Type: Multi-purpose workshop
About: “For companies or individuals who want assistance in bringing their ideas to life,” Duluth MakerSpace allows members shared access to tech tools and spaces galore. This community workshop has a tech shop, CNC room, metal shop, PC classroom, and so much more. Not only that, but they’re planning on incorporating a space for pottery and a fermentery.
Membership required? Yes, for full shop access
Address: 3001 West Superior Street, Duluth
Website: www.duluthmakerspace.com

Minnesota Tool Library (Two Chapters):

Northeast Minneapolis Tool Library

Type: Tool library
About: With a small annual fee, the Northeast Minneapolis Tool Library provides members access to around 3,000 tools in its inventory for a seven-day period (with up to two renewals, upon availability), in addition to access to basic tool and project advice, access to a workshop, monthly educational classes in woodworking, home maintenance, crafts, seasonal events, and other relevant topics, and a connection to a DIY community of builders.
Membership required? Yes
Address: 1620 Central Avenue Northeast, Suite #126, Minneapolis
Website: www.nemtl.org

Saint Paul Tool Library

Type: Tool library
About: The second chapter of the Minnesota Tool Library is in St. Paul, with a collection of around 800 tools. The Saint Paul Tool Library has the same basic premise and qualities as the Northeast branch: borrowing time, classes, and a workshop space with access to some larger, in-house-only equipment.
Membership required? Yes
Address: 755 Prior Avenue North, St. Paul
Website: www.facebook.com/saintpaultoollibrary

The Mill

Type: Multi-purpose workshop
About: An industrial grade fabrication workshop and maker space in Minneapolis, The Mill is a full woodworking shop, metal shop, and classroom. There’s also the opportunity for laser cutting and 3D printing, in addition to a space for members to show their work.
Membership required? Yes
Address: 2300 Kennedy Street Northeast, Minneapolis, MN 55413
Website: www.mnmill.org

MPLS Make

Type: Woodshop
About: A community woodworking shop in Northeast Minneapolis where members pay monthly fees, which grants them 24-hour access to professional-quality woodworking tools and machinery, a heated space, and an atmosphere of other like-minded makers.
Membership required? Yes
Address: 1858 Central Avenue Northeast, Minneapolis
Website: www.mplsmake.com

Nordeast Makers

Type: Woodshop and digital fabrication
About: A “makerspace,” makers pay a membership fee for access to manufacturing equipment. This heated, 24-hour accessibly available space is a full woodshop, but has a speciality focus on digital fabrication—CNC router, liquid-cooled laser cutters, high-resolution 3D printers, a vinyl cutter, electronics lab, and more.
Membership required? Yes
Address: 451 Taft Street, Unit 14, Minneapolis
Website: www.nordeastmakers.com

Northern Clay Center

Type: Ceramic arts studio (NCC’s Studio Artists Program)
About: Northern Clay Center’s Studio Artists Program helps provide artists facilities designed to allow them to work in a place that stimulates their artistic expression and growth. While the person needs to complete an application for either the private studio or common shared space, the Studio Artists Program helps give 24-hour access and use of equipment, including a broad range of kilns, wheels, and classrooms. There are also classes and workshops available for children and adults at all skill levels.
Membership required? No, access through approved application and monthly rent
Address: 2424 Franklin Avenue East, Minneapolis
Website: www.northernclaycenter.org

Twin Cities Maker at The Hack Factory

Type of Workshop: Multi-purpose workshop
About: Calling themselves a makerspace or “hackerspace,” members can build projects using various media and technologies, including wood, metal, electronics, fabrics, and beyond.
Membership required? Yes
Address: 3119 East 26th Street, Minneapolis
Website: www.tcmaker.org/blog/

Arts MN: Nora Ephron’s new play, Throwing Clay, and Lowertown First Fridays

By Naomi Crocker

Arts MN - 4-28

Here’s to “firsts,” all things fresh, and new beginnings in honor of spring! Meet artists in their creative environments at First Fridays at the Lowertown Artist Lofts, learn a new craft for the first time through engaging introductory classes, witness “fashion firsts” by attending your first ever fashion-related event, support overseas artisans exhibiting for the first time in the United States, and start fresh with a friend you’re currently at odds with by inviting them to Theatre in the Round’s Love, Loss, and What I Wore.


First Fridays at Lowertown Artist Lofts

Lowertown Lofts, St. Paul, MN

May 2 // 6:00pm

Lowertown First Fridays // Photo by Tom Dunn

Lowertown First Fridays // Photo by Tom Dunn

Lowertown First Fridays (LFF) is an association of artists from the Lowertown Lofts who open their studios on the first Friday of every month. LFF is a great place to meet artists of various media and to see said artists at work. Additionally, it’s also possible to purchase the art on display (Do you have your gift(s) yet for Mothers’ Day?), and  to sign up for classes with participating artists. The event is free and open to the public and begins at 6:00pm.

Beer bonus: Go peek in the window at Tin Whiskers Brewing Company located in St. Paul at 125 E 9th St. As the brewery name suggests, Tin Whiskers is the brainchild of three former students of electrical engineering and plans to open sometime in May, 2014.


Learn to Throw Pots: Wheel Throwing 101

Northern Clay Center, 2424 Franklin Avenue East, Minneapolis, MN

Saturdays, May 10–June 7 // 1–4pm

Wheel Throwing 101

Interested in taking up a new hobby? If so, consider Northern Clay Center—a fantastic art space on East Franklin that offers education programs for all ages and proficiencies, as well as gallery exhibits, a pottery shop, and access to both state-of-the-art facilities and a diverse and talented mix of teaching artists. Wheel Throwing 101 (which has new sessions beginning this May) runs for five weeks and is $150 ($140 for NCC members), not including the $20 studio fee. As an added bang for your buck, adult students will enjoy open access to NCC studios from 9:00am–9:00 pm, five days a week, as well as for additional hours on weekends. Visit the website for more information and note that for classes and workshops marked “sold”, you will need to call to be added to the waiting list. This is the last week to sign up before the new May sessions. Don’t miss out!

Beer bonus: Northern Clay Center is literally a stone’s throw from Zipps Liquors. If you’ve never been, know that it’s one of the best liquor stores in the Twin Cities and that it offers many special events and tastings throughout the week for those who are 21+.


Fashion and Communication Symposium

University of Minnesota, 33 McNeal Hall, Minneapolis, MN

May 2 // 6:00pm  (opening lecture)

Fashion Symposium

This week’s Fashion and Communication symposium is the third in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel’s  Fashion and Communication Symposium, which aims to connect fashion with other themes of importance to the modern world. Although registration is closed to members for the majority of symposium events, the opening lecture on May 2 is free and open to the public. The lecture will feature two keynote speakers: Annette Lynch (professor of textiles and apparel at the University of Northern Iowa), who will discuss the cultural construction of sexual agency in fashion, as well as Frenchy Lunning (MCAD), whose presentation is titled “Fantasies of Authenticity.” For more information, visit the website, or email Kim Johnson, department contact, at [email protected]

Beer bonus: If it’s been a while since you’ve been near campus or stepped foot in Dinkytown, relive your college days by enjoying a pint at the Kitty Kat Klub. The venue features live music most nights and more often than not, the shows have no cover.


Ceremony: American Association of Woodturners’ Professional Outreach Program

American Association of Woodturners Gallery of Wood Art, 222 Landmark Center, St. Paul, MN

Runs through May 30 // Tuesdays–Fridays 11am–4pm & Sundays 12–3pm

Ceremony - American Association of Woodturners

2014 marks the eighth anniversary of the American Association of Woodturners’ Professional Outreach Program’s invitational exhibition. Excitingly, this year’s show brings together an impressive line-up of studio woodturners from seven countries: Canada, United States, England, Australia, Japan, France, and New Zealand.  In addition, the featured artists were not only required to adhere their work to this year’s theme of Ceremony, they were also limited to produce pieces within an 8”x8”x8” maximum format. Finally, the works from this year’s exhibition will be auctioned both online and live at the AAW Symposium the weekend of June 13. The Gallery of Wood Art is open to the public Tuesdays–Fridays from 11:00am–4:00pm and Sundays from 12:00–3:00pm. Admission is free although donations are suggested.

Beer bonus: The gallery is only a block away from Great Waters Brewing, located in the historic Hamm’s Building in downtown St. Paul. Established in 1997, Great Waters has made a name for themselves by serving a host of house-brewed, cask conditioned ales. Also, as a head’s up, remember to mark your calendars for next week’s Minnesota Brewery Showcase taking place on May 8 at The Muddy Pig and featuring 48 tap lines of Summit, Bent Paddle, Fulton, Indeed, Steel Toe, and Surly.


Love, Loss, and What I Wore

Theatre in the Round, 245 Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis, MN

May 2–4 // 8pm (2pm Sunday matinée)

Theater in the Round - Love, Loss, and What I Wore

Although American playwright Nora Ephron is best known for creating the classics When Harry Met Sally… and Sleepless in Seattle, Love, Loss, and What I Wore is equally as delightful, humorous, and endearing. Co-written with her sister Delia Ephron, the play presents a series of anecdotes about the memories that our clothing and accessories are capable of conjuring. Make an evening of it by treating you and your friends to what has been called “a great chick flick for the stage because of its relatable characters, quotable comedy, and just the right mix of sentimental moments.” Tickets are $22 for adults, $15 for students, and $18 for seniors. Click here to find out more about purchasing tickets over the phone or online.

Beer bonus: Town Hall Brewing is open (finally!) and is located less than two blocks from the theater.

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