For an ancient industry, ceramics have slowly made their way into the mainstream over the last decade, and for good reason. Making pottery is unique in that it is a captivating outlet for creative expression while providing a very gratifying therapeutic experience.
As a highly versatile medium, individuals can learn a multitude of techniques enabling them to make artistic sculptures, as well as functional pieces like hand-sculpted pots, vases, bowls, mugs, and pretty much any form of crockery. In the same breath, the messiness of working with the clay and the need to follow a process to achieve the desired results requires potters to dedicate time while being present, patient, and mindful, making for an incredibly meditative experience.
Living in a fast-paced city like Miami can become overwhelming at times, and I yearned for a hobby that encouraged me to slow down and focus on a single absorbing activity. As I began to research my options, I came across OCISLY Ceramics, an oasis in the heart of Wynwood. OCISLY Ceramics was born during the height of the pandemic when founders Cristina and Adam became passionate about the craft after needing to fix a handmade family heirloom. The couple decided to open Casa Mida, a gorgeous backyard pottery studio where experienced wheel throwers, creatives, and pretty much anyone curious about pottery could vibe out to music while making one-of-a-kind pieces together.
OCISLY offers a variety of two-hour beginner’s classes, a subsequent glazing class, and four and six-class workshops for those looking to develop their skills. I had the pleasure of attending one of OCISLY’s beginner wheel-throwing classes, Pottery and Jazz, and below is my experience!
Walking into Casa Mida was truly like stepping into an oasis. The backyard is a large tranquil space boasting beautiful fruit trees, bohemian hanging planters, romantic patio lights, and shelves filled with gorgeous hand-made ceramics. As I entered the space, I was greeted by the rest of my classmates, some of whom were relaxing on the patio enjoying a bottle of wine (BYOB is highly encouraged at OCISLY), and our instructor Deb who has over 9 years of experience with ceramics.
After a few minutes of casual chit-chat and an opportunity to meet new friends, it was time to get started. Each of us took a seat at a wheel, and Deb began the class with an introduction to OCISLY and a detailed breakdown of the process we would need to follow. After selecting our first out of the three pieces of clay we could use, we got to work, following Deb as she guided us through each step.
As someone who rarely partakes in any form of arts and crafts, I had no idea what to expect. It started a bit rocky as I got used to the level of pressure I needed to apply to the wheel and balancing my grip while constantly adding water to the clay, however, to my pleasant surprise, within about 20-minutes, and with Deb’s help, I had found my groove and became immersed in the experience.
We spent the next two hours of class complimenting each other’s work, laughing when someone’s clay flew right off the wheel and sitting silently as we honed in on the craft with the subtle relaxing notes of jazz music playing in the background. Your first class will definitely be a learning experience, as I quickly realized after adding too much water, overworking the clay, and ending up with a sloppy mess. Instead of letting this deter me, I maintained my newfound zen as I cleaned up my station and started again with a fresh piece. This time I worked slower and more mindfully as I allowed myself to get the hang of the process, which resulted in a beautiful little vase that I’m excited to showcase in my kitchen.
Overall, my experience at OCISLY was amazing. The space is serene, and the staff are extremely welcoming. I can safely say that this was the first time in my life that I have been able to let go of all thoughts and enter a deeply meditative state. I even walked away with three new friends, we’re calling ourselves ‘Pottery People’ and will be attending the glazing class together to finish our pieces!
So, if you’re looking for a new hobby or simply a fun and creative experience where you can unwind and meet like-minded individuals, a class at OCISLY Ceramics is the perfect place for you!