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New teachers at NewArt School

September 15, 2010

Pottery instructors Michael Ball, left, demonstrates to his students
how to throw a pot on a pottery wheel. The students include,
from left, Jack Finegan, Johnnita St. Clair and Julie Jones.
Ball is one of several new teachers
at the NewArt School in Newton.

There are a lot of new things going on this fall at the NewArt School in Newton.

The school welcomed several new teachers and is set to open a dance studio in October. Michael Ball, who has been a potter for 12 years, started teaching adult and children pottery classes at the NewArt School at the end of August.

“I thought (the NewArt School) might be a good place to make pots,” Ball said. “It’s a real nice facility.”

The school is located in the Newton-Conover Auditorium and provides art and music lessons for students of all ages. Ball, who lives in Lincoln County, learned the art of pottery from Kim Ellington, a student of well-known Catawba Valley potter Burlon Craig.

“I’m really surprised at how fast (students) learn,” Ball said.

Ball creates face jugs and other utilitarian vessels. He teaches an eight-week basic wheel-throwing course for adults on Tuesdays from 1-3 p.m. and from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The class costs $190, which includes materials.

“At my wife’s urging, she thought this would be a good way to occupy my time,” said Jack Finegan, a retiree and one of Ball’s adult students. “I like to draw, and I have some artistic talent … So far, so good.”

Pottery class participants learn to measure clay and form the clay into cylindrical bowls on the pottery wheel. The pottery is then fired in the studio’s kiln.

“It’s a craft you’re always learning,” Ball said. “There’s always something new.”

Ball also teaches two youth pottery classes. There is a class Tuesdays from 3:15-4:15 p.m. for children ages 6-9 and another class Tuesdays from 4:15-5:15 p.m. for ages 10-13. Ball will hold a Halloween luminary workshop Oct. 16 starting at 9 a.m. for participants to create their own luminaries from clay. To pre-register for the event, call (828) 464-8100 by Oct. 8.

Violinist Francois Henkins also joined the NewArt School recently as a violin instructor. Henkins started playing the violin at 6 years old and made his love of music into a career. He is a member of the Kontras Quartet and plays with the Western Piedmont Symphony Orchestra in Hickory.

“It’s been wonderful so far,” Henkins said. “The people here are fantastic. I’ve always had a violin studio.”

William Early, Henkins’ 13-year-old violin student, plays several different instruments, but the violin is one of the most challenging instruments he’s ever learned to play.

“I play a lot of musical instruments, but this one has been difficult,” Early said. “The violin is so mystical.”

Other new art opportunities at the NewArt School include a dance studio set to open in October. For more information about the NewArt School and classes offered for students, call (828) 464-8100.

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