FARMINGTON – A new community-minded pottery studio recently opened on Broadway; the space is intended to be used by anybody looking to try their hand at the craft as well as those who are already advanced. Owner Julie Libby considers herself somewhere in between the parallels.
Located above the new 3D Games shop, Upper Room Studio encompasses everything that drew Libby to the hobby to begin with.
“I used to watch these pottery videos and they were so relaxing,” Libby said. “I’m just one of those people who goes for it. You can learn anything if you’re willing to watch a lot of YouTube videos.”
Libby’s career as a counselor can be stressful, she said. The clay offered a sense of relief. After setting up a wheel and kiln in her kitchen, throwing pottery became Libby’s preferred method of self care.
“I just started doing it, the same way people do here [at Upper Room Studio]. I’m not a perfectionist. I usually just dive into things and if I love it I’ll stick with it. And I loved it,” she said.
Libby’s husband owns 3D Games which was previously located around the corner on Main Street. When the building at 174 Broadway went up for sale, the Libbys jumped at the chance to buy it. They had been renting two different spaces in town for their businesses, so the new location relieved those payments, Libby said. The upstairs studio space was a surprise.
“When we walked in and saw it we just said ‘what do we do to get this?'” Libby said.
She hadn’t been planning on opening a studio to the public, but the idea felt right as they started to move into the space. Now she has a handful of potters coming and going as they please, using the materials and Libby’s knowledge to learn how to throw bowls and mugs and their own unique pieces.
“It’s a process of learning how to let things go. It’s therapeutic. You have to make yourself be mindful, quiet and sit down…some people are naturals. There’s a correlation there. You have to have the ability to calm down and focus. if there’s negative self talk, people struggle,” she said.
Libby has plans to start a paint night, and to fill the large, sunny room with art and quilt hangings. Upper Room memberships are $35 per week, and can be accessed 24/7 by members. The first week of membership includes a free 25 pound bag of clay. Find Upper Room on Facebook for up to date information.