• The class works intently on their designs.
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  • Students' ornaments laid out before class, ready to be painted.
  • Jessica Chadwick puts the finishing touches on one of her ornaments.
  • Evie and Kent McDaniels paint one of their ornaments.
  • A student paints small blue snowflakes onto her ornament.

The kiln at The Nature Link in Conifer was all fired up to help people get into the seasonal spirit with the Holiday Ceramic Ornament Workshop on Nov. 19. 

Raina Palmatier, an artist at the studio, has been making and selling ceramic ornaments every year. This year, she thought she would include the community.

“I figured it would be really good for people to make their own,” she said.

She teaches the ceramic ornament workshop, a class that meets twice to create ornaments out of clay and then glaze them. The first workshop series was such a hit that she decided to schedule another.

Palmatier showed students how to manipulate clay into ornaments, create designs in the clay, use colored glaze to bring their ornament designs to life, as well as other techniques for making their art pop. She thinks classes like this are always needed in the community.

“Art is so good. It just takes your mind off everything,” she said.

Palmatier owns MountainDog Pottery, through which she sells custom ornaments, pots and other ceramics. 

Pottery newcomer Jessica Chadwick, of Bailey, was excited to try out this new class.

“It just sounded like a fun activity,” she said.

Chadwick was grateful for the instructor guidance and enjoyed the creativity the new medium had to offer.

“They gave us lots of great options to work with and helpful suggestions,” she said. “I’ve never tried pottery before. I love different art forms.”

Flexing her art skills, Chadwick carefully painted tiny blue snowflakes on one of her ornaments. She chatted with other students and the instructor while she worked.

Class attendees were all ages and skill levels. Two-year-old Evie came to the class with her dad, Kent McDaniels. These two had experience with crafts of this nature as they are neighbors of the instructor in Bailey.

Evie’s favorite part of the workshop was getting to paint her ornaments. Her favorite ornament she made was the dog bone. As an experienced artist, Evie had a paint-splattered apron from past crafts, but she made sure to let her dad know that, “You need an apron.”

Dina Baker is the owner of The Nature Link, which opened in June. She said a studio and event like this are unique to have for local mountain communities.  Baker enjoyed getting to take a step back and observe the class dynamic, since she wasn’t teaching.

“It’s cool to watch everyone get in their zone,” she said.