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Pottery studio's new space takes shape

Jennifer King moved her Kinni Clayworks pottery-studio business to 124 N. Riverwalk. <i>Debbie Griffin photo</i>

Kinni Clayworks opened two years ago as a potter's studio that hosts parties, demonstrates pottery making at community events, works with kids and opens its doors to artists inclined to "throw some clay."

Studio owner Jennifer King said the business still offers those services but is now located a few doors away from its original location.

Formerly in the lower level 127 N. Main St., she moved the business to 124 N. Riverwalk, starting the relocation in March and finishing recently.

She's thrilled to be downtown and with such an "awesome" view of the river. King has about the same square footage, but it is one long rectangle that allows for a much better studio flow.

The owner said the space has ample room for all the different stages of making pottery -- mold, shape, store, dry, bake, glaze and store again.

She says another plus of the new space is its perfectly flat concrete floor, which makes it easier to roll the pottery to its various stations on a specially made expensive cart.

She said the building was used for storage before, but one day on a walk she saw it in a different light. She started asking questions and learned that the building owner was also ready for a change.

King said the dedicated space allows her to offer 24-hour access to the studio and equipment. Many people wanted to experiment or work with clay but can't make it during "normal" business hours.

"And now people can do that here," she said.

Since starting the studio two years ago, King said, "The pottery community has been very good to me."

She mentions the invaluable support of local potter and professor emeritus Doug Johnson. King said UW-River Falls students have helped her with many parts of the studio, such as making shelves for storage.

She said since opening, she has learned a lot more about the art.

Kinni Clayworks offers studio time for making pottery and a gallery of displayed pottery for sale, made by her and several studio patrons.

The "studio pottery" includes platters, vases, cups mugs, a teapot and other pieces. The proceeds from sales are invested back into the studio.

King is thrilled to have a loaned clay mixer in the studio, "We now mix our own clay," she said, "and everything is reclaimed."

That enables huge savings over buying clay -- $80 versus $800 -- and allows the potters to salvage every little bit of clay, even what they wash off their hands or what falls to the floor.

She explained that the recycled clay creates a highly desirable product because the 'bio-matter' that gets mixed into it each time it handled or used actually adds character to the resulting pottery.

King said the studio makes its own glazes, now, too. Much of what she's learned involves the chemistry of clay and all that's possible during the different stages of creating pottery.

King said kids' programs begin again in June. She holds children's pottery-making parties and has hosted groups as large as 12 kids.

The studio-business owner said she loves the new location. It is not only good for the studio to be in the community but also good for the community to have an active pottery studio downtown.

She agrees that the former-alley Riverwalk continues to gain activity and development -- with businesses at either end and just about all points in between.

King said the biggest move-in chore was probably scrubbing and scraping the concrete floor vigorously. Anything on the floor has the potential to get into the clay, so it had to be free of all grease, dirt and foreign objects.

King said she also painted, had some electrical and plumbing work done and spent a lot of time setting up the shop.

She maintains eight pottery wheels, kick wheel, clay extruder, multiple dies, hand tools, an electric kiln, throwing tools, mid-fire-range clay, glazes and more.

Adults 16 and older can buy a $60 punch card good for 10 studio-work visits. An unlimited pass is available for experienced potters; a one-time $10 pass is also available.

Learn more about the business by contacting Kinni Clayworks at 715-222-4035 or online at