Pottery: An Antidote to Life’s Stresses
James Herring’s downtown pop-up studio was originally part of a project sponsored by Terranova Corporation called Studios on the Mile, where artists could showcase their work in empty storefronts turned into working studios, from October to the end of 2020. Herring, who doubles as a University of Miami professor when he’s not creating ceramics, made a deal with Terranova to keep the space a while longer. Now he teaches pottery there four times a week.
Students pay $200 for a series of four, two-hour socially distanced classes. They make cups, plates, bowls and vases, learning how to “throw” clay onto a wheel, trim it, fire it and apply glazes. Everything is provided except for an apron. “The students are almost all beginners, very few with any experience,” Herring says. “There are different age ranges and different kinds of people. A lot of them have stressful jobs, and this is an outlet for them.” Kat Llerena runs her own boutique in South Miami and is currently on her second round of classes. “There’s been so much stress lately with the pandemic,” she says with a smile. “It really calms me down.”
For Herring himself, ceramics was an escape he discovered in high school that kept him out of trouble and led to a career in the arts. “Ceramics gave me an identity,” he says, though it didn’t always pay the bills. Among other day jobs, he worked for 18 years as the director of exhibition fabrication at the Miami (then Frost) Museum of Science.
While Herring’s students return to their day jobs, Herring fires their creations in a kiln outside the studio. Each student leaves with four or five pieces and a sense of accomplishment and mental peace. Classes: Tues., Wed., and Thurs. 6-8 p.m. & Sun. 2-5 p.m. Open studio nights Fri. & Sat.
Red Herring Pottery
216 Miracle Mile