Besides a pottery wheel, the easiest way to manipulate clay is to threaten to rebury it in the dark, sandy hole where you found it. Make sure clay turns to putty in your hands with today's Groupon: for $62, you get a six-week pottery class at the YMCA at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, valid for Thrown Pottery – All Levels and Intermediate Pottery courses (a $125 value).
A quintet of experienced pottery instructors leads an educational assault on malleable clay, providing all materials during each interactive session. Over the course of six weeks, each intrepid sculptor can get their hands messy in one of civilization's oldest mediums as they learn the fundamentals of throwing pots using 1 of 12 new electric wheels or a vintage phonograph. The Thrown Pottery course caters to beginning or continuing students, who learn to center, throw, and trim usable mugs, bowls, or lids before varnishing finished pieces with 1 of more than 15 glazes. More advanced students come together in the intermediate course and decide what topics the class will cover via demonstrations and one-on-one interactions. Class fees include access to the studios six days a week for additional practice, as well as a bag of 25 pounds of clay, with additional bags available for purchase ($20) for ambitiously large projects, such as satellite dishes that only pick up C-SPAN2.
YMCA at Virginia Tech
The YMCA at Virginia Tech’s mission is to bring health, wellness, and personal growth to its surrounding community. Adults can leap into continuing-education classes ranging from pottery to Turkish grilling, with complimentary childcare eliminating excuses to stay at home. Ballroom dancing, Shakespearean studies, and tai chi also shake up adult routines. On weekends, guides lead groups out into the wild during scenic hides that vary in difficulty; although YMCA-goers can get a dose of nature any day of the week by visiting the onsite community gardens, which enable people to grow their own plants or just stop and eat the roses.