New pottery studio molds its way into the Eau Claire community

Half Moon Clay Pottery Studio has recently opened up in Eau Claire and is offering classes and studio time



Banbury Place, where Half Moon Clay Pottery is located.

Delaney Reed, Staff Writer

In a community with an art scene like Eau Claire has, Whitney Stuart was surprised there were no pottery studios available, so she took matters into her own hands. 

Stuart, owner of Half Moon Clay Pottery Studio, opened her business amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Stuart moved to Eau Claire from Atlanta, Ga. 

When Stuart arrived in Eau Claire she was looking for somewhere to do pottery at first, but to no avail. She said she found a spot at Claymore Pottery at Banbury Place where she was eventually able to practice pottery. 

“Dick Milheiser, he used to be the art teacher at Altoona High School, he is retired and he really encouraged me to start doing classes, even though I have no idea what I am doing,” Stuart said. “He heard what I had been looking for and folks kept coming into our studio asking for classes and it would drive me crazy.” 

According to Stuart, when she started asking around for pottery supplies, everything seemed to fall into her lap, which led her to open Half Moon Clay Pottery Studio. 

Stuart said she felt like she had no idea what she was doing since she had never taught a pottery class or run a business before.

“But I am in marketing and I do have a background with web design and building websites. I was able to throw myself together a website and gauge interest. In January I released my first classes and they sold out in like 4 hours.”

Stuart said there are a few different classes offered at the studio, including a sip and spin night, which is where you can bring your own wine and snacks and learn the basics of pottery. The studio also offers a few 6-week classes that go into more depth about pottery. 

Anna Smith and her roommate Annika Wolfgram, both students at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, heard about Half Moon Pottery Studio through a friend. 

“I did a sip and spin night with my friend Annika. It was basically just an intro to pottery, but it was a fun girls night and nice way to unwind,” Smith said. 

Both Smith and Wolfgram said they really enjoyed their night at Half Moon Pottery and said they would go back again. 

Stuart said she enjoys pottery because it is not something that everyone is good at the first time, but everyone who comes into the studio for a class always comes in with a positive attitude. 

According to Stuart the best turn out of pottery is those that take the longest. Stuart thinks that all adults should try to get out of their comfort zone and try something new.

“As grown-ups we get so accustomed to just doing the things that we know we are good at and get kind of into a safe space there that trying something new and just embracing that it is not going to be cute it’s going to be wonky,” Stuart said. 

Wolfgram went out of her comfort zone to try pottery at the studio, “It was a daunting thing to start up, but I really enjoyed it,” Wolfgram said. 

Stuart said that without the help of the Eau Claire community she was not sure that her business would have opened, but she hopped out of her comfort zone and has opened a business that the Eau Claire community has really enjoyed. 

“One side is bigger than the other, a lop-sided bowl, and that’s fine it looks like a 3-year-old made it, but it was you, you made it, you tried a new thing and that’s really rewarding,” Stuart said. 

Reed can be reached at [email protected]