Anais Ziedins of Yarmouth and Tanya Turker of Falmouth watch Portland Pottery instructor Jules Fernandes demonstrate how to make a candlestick. Photo by Amy Paradysz

Many of Portland Pottery’s 370 students already know how to make bowls, mugs and even teapots and have the equipment at home. And they keep showing up – in some cases, day after day, year after year.

“I have a lot of students who may not be learning as much as they did at the beginning, but they don’t come anymore for that,” said wheel-throwing instructor Guenola Lefeuvre. “They come to share creativity, for the openness to talk, or because it can be grounding to just be working alongside the same people on a weekly basis. I have one class in particular that is super social, and you can see that they love each other. And they all met through class.”

Students enroll in eight-week sessions for three-hour classes one day a week. And, even though there are five studios in the building running classes daily (and most evenings), returning students often choose to stick with the same day and time – and the people they know.

“I love being in the same session because we get to see each other grow,” said Maia Carlson of Harpswell. “We were just talking about this last class, how we don’t necessarily need to care or pay attention to what one another is going through, but we do. We have so many different identities and interests, and we’re at different point in our lives, and we can seek guidance from one another. And it creates, almost, a chosen family in an art community.”

Love to Knit instructor Donna Lester laughs while chatting with longtime knitters Mary Etta Ross-Targett of Scarborough and Karen Gallagher of Hollis. Photo by Amy Paradysz

The same is true at Love to Knit in Scarborough. Shop owner and knitting instructor Donna Lester offers two-hour group lessons three mornings, one afternoon and two evenings a week. For a $50 monthly membership, students choose a group time and stick to it, building relationships as they build their skills.

“A lot of my customers come here even though they know how to knit,” Lester said. “It’s two hours of socialization.”


Longtime participant Karen Gallagher of Hollis said, “If you have a rough day at work, you can say, well, I least I have knitting tonight.”

Each student works on their own project, calling Lester over when they need help. And while there are always new students learning the basics of knitting and purling, some have been coming for 17 years (including, before Love to Knit, at the now-closed Central Yarn in Portland).

“Because of that length of time, we all know each other as friends,” Lester said.

Metals students are invited to bring in what they have at home and turn mismatched, broken or unloved pieces into something new. Photo courtesy of Laura Jamison

Laura Jamison, who teaches metalsmithing at Artascope Studios in Yarmouth, says that many young moms tell their partners they need one night a week for themselves – for creative community.

“This is my fun time – my creative stress relief,” Jamison said. “I want to burn stuff with fire and hit it with tiny hammers. It’s cathartic and playful.”

And part of the joy is in being together. Before the pandemic, Jamison was part of a makerspace called Assemble in Berlin, New Hampshire. She loved being where metalworkers, potters, woodworkers – creative makers of any kind – came together. Then, during the pandemic, Jamison built a home studio to try to fill that void.


“I was alone and it was deeply unsatisfying,” she said.

And so she teaches.

“It’s fun to have women giving each other advice, being loud and taking up space,” Jamison said. “The metalsmithing genre attracts a certain personal style – an attention to detail needed to work on projects that require magnifying glasses. I put that into my day job and try to be loose and fun in my creative pursuits. And, as I tell my students, if it doesn’t go right, you can melt it down and turn it into something else.”

Portland Pottery
118 Washington Ave., Portland;
Full-service pottery shop and ceramics studio with classes from introductory to advanced, with hand-building, wheel-throwing or a bit of both. An eight-week session, including 25 pounds of clay, is $325, with unlimited access to open studio time. One-time wheel-throwing workshops are offered on First Fridays for $60 for two hours. To snag a spot in class when one opens up, get on the email list.

Love to Knit
10 Oak Hill Terrace, Scarborough;
Knitting shop with weekly two-hour mixed-level classes on a monthly membership basis ($50/month) plus all-you-can-knit drop-in opportunities when the store is open and another class is not in session.

Artascope Studios
48 Railroad Square, Yarmouth;
The six-week metalsmithing class is three hours a week and $200 for members/$250 for non-members plus $50 for a materials kit that includes silver and brass components. Classes and one-day workshops are also offered in other arts, such as drawing, painting and ceramics.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer from Scarborough. She can be reached at

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.