Clay Creativity at Play
Usher yourself into an exciting, new world where creativity and playful inventiveness take you on a journey of artistic discovery. Join our workshops at Sarasota Clay Company. We also feature pottery making demonstrations at our clay studio in Sarasota, FL.
About Carla O’Brien
By Diana Colson
From the September 1, 2014 Issue of Siesta Sand Magazine
Carla O’Brien is a gifted clay artist. She creates lovely utilitarian pottery – bowls, casseroles, goblets, and the like. She also creates whimsical, sculptural forms – pieces that bring a smile to one’s face.
Besides throwing, firing, and glazing her own beautiful work, she is a master teacher, conducting classes for all ages at her Sarasota shop, a busy place called Carla’s Clay.
Born and raised on a dairy farm in Lowville, New York, Carla grew up in a Mennonite family, one of seven children. Lowville was a dairy community, a town that had more cows than people.
“The clay studio is like a farm, almost. During the season, kilns have to run practically every day. We are always busy loading or unloading the kilns. There are supplies to be ordered, inventoried and shipped, glazes to be mixed, and clay to be recycled.”
Tim and Carla
“Carla’s Clay sounds like a little hobby shop. But when people walk in, they go ‘Whoa!’ This is a big operation. We run classes for all ages 5 days a week. Clay is a commitment, you know. It’s a process.”
Each year, more than 100 adult students come to work with Carla. In addition, she holds summer camp for the kids and various outreach programs for both children and adults.
In October of 2002, Carla and her husband, Tim, bought a warehouse in Northgate. In true barn-raising style, family and friends rallied to help renovate the building and turn it into the 5,000 square foot pottery studio that exists today.
Says Carla: “I love the business part – my dad instilled great business ethic in us all. My siblings are all successful business people; we learned early that working hard pays off. That part of me, I don’t want to give up, but the creative still has got to come out. If it doesn’t, it’s simply not good for your soul.”
While Carla draws her inspiration and support from many areas that include friends and family, her main line of support comes from her long-time friend and husband, Tim O’Brien (pictured above with Carla).
Carla and Tim moved to FL from northern New York. That is where Carla began thinking of her lifetime dream, that of owning her own pottery studio. Finally, in 2002 Carla and Tim founded Carla’s Clay – and today this wonderful creative space is called Sarasota Clay Company.”