Calling all potheads: Come out and clay at new Downtown pottery studio - Albuquerque Journal

Calling all potheads: Come out and clay at new Downtown pottery studio

Students shape pots at a practice class at Burque Throwdown. (Courtesy of Burque Throwdown)

Potter Tamara Righettini is in the market for a cardboard cutout of Patrick Swayze.

Righettini is planning to host date night classes at her new Downtown Albuquerque studio, Burque Throwdown, and is hoping to reenact the iconic Ghost pottery scene, which has haunted claymakers since the ’90s.

“The whole point of this school is to have fun,” Righettini said.

Righettini has been selling her colorful pottery for three years at farmers markets and at Kei + Molly Textiles under the name Cloudhead Ceramics. Two years ago, she made art her full-time career after 20 years working in health care as a registered nurse and family nurse practitioner.

Now, she’s opening her own pottery school at 400 Coal SW. Pottery wheels and buckets full of sponges sit at the ready for student use.

Righettini first tried pottery around 30 years ago at a class at University of New Mexico. Five years ago, she started throwing again at Coyote Clay in the North Valley. She was feeling burned out in health care and decided to pursue art instead.

Tamara Righettini throws a pot at her Downtown Albuquerque pottery school, Burque Throwdown. (Courtesy of Burque Throwdown)

 

“I was, like, obsessed when I first started doing it again,” Righettini said. “I was having a hard time getting myself to go to work because all I wanted to do was pottery.”

A chalk sign in the studio reads “the funnest part of your week.” Righettini said that there’s no centralized pottery school in Downtown, so she’s hoping to add another space for people to flex their artistic muscles.

“They can, like, relax and get their ya-yas out and, you know, hopefully the creativity around them will fuel their creative juices,” Righettini said.

Her own pottery is influenced by mid-century modern design and often features intricate carving.

“I’m never really just satisfied with making a bowl and then putting glaze on it,” Righettini said. “I can’t stand doing the same thing over and over again.”

Hints of that style appear around the studio, from the plants in vibrant pots – some of them thrown by Righettini, others from other local potters – to a yellow clock reminiscent of a lemon slice hanging on a teal wall.

A student throws a pot a Burque Throwdown, which has its grand opening on Oct. 7. (Courtesy of Burque Throwdown)

“I wanted to make a place that was bright and beautiful and inviting – a place where somebody could walk in and go, ‘Oh my god, I so want to be here. This looks like fun.'”

Shifting from studio work to teaching is nerve wracking, Righettini said – but she’s excited about the social interaction with her students after working solo in her home studio.

“I have a little bit of imposter syndrome,” Righettini said. “I mean, I’m not like a formally trained potter. It’s not like I went to art school or anything – I’ve been in medicine for 20 years. But I feel like I’m an accomplished enough potter that I can teach people.”

And, she added, she’s joined by a team of three other potters at the studio.

At first, Burque Throwdown will offer five classes per week: two handbuilding classes and three wheel throwing classes. Sessions are once a week and continue for six weeks. Date night classes, paint-your-own pottery sessions , and ornament-making classes are in the works.

There will be a grand opening at the studio from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, including “shenanigans” like a “Great Pottery Throwdown”-style pottery competition and food catered by Hotel Andaluz chef Marc Quiñones.

“I’m pretty proud of myself,” Righettini said. “You know, I envisioned this space and made it happen.”

 

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