In your high school ceramics class, the teacher was always watching to make sure that students weren't crafting pipes or ashtrays, but this workshop encouraged it. The first-ever Puff, Pass & Pottery class was an experiment in art and cannabis consumption, with the goal of creating an an ashtray comparable to one you'd see in a boutique, with beautiful textures, tools and as much clay as you could wrap your fingers around during the two-hour event. Oh, and you also got to wrap your fingers around some quality cannabis.
Each table came equipped with cannabis from organic mom-and-pop dispensary L'Eagle and smoking utensils likes pipes and papers, as well as handmade clay tools, some canvas to work on, and a wide variety of inspirational ashtrays to get the creative juices flowing. The focus was definitely on the process, not the pot. There's something very calming about playing with clay; it's perhaps the most zen of all the crafts, one you can fall into with childlike enjoyment. Just watch out for getting clay on your lips when you grab that pipe.
Instructor Jessa Decker-Smith, who earned her masters' degree in ceramics from East Tennessee State and also studied in India, made the experience as fluid and enjoyable as possible. She kept reminding her students that there is no right or wrong way to create; just go wherever the clay takes you. She lives that theory: Decker-Smith has the chemical formula for clay tattooed on her foot in a henna-style.
Any time in the Puff, Pass & Paint studio is always an enjoyable experience. The space tucked away in a nondescript, three-story house in the University of Denver area exemplifies marijuana normalization in the state. In these classes you will find the poster children for high-functioning cannabis use.
During this class, joints were passed around and the room was warm, filled with smoke and laughter. Some of the students did not partake; they came along for the adventure and camaraderie. There was white wine flowing, and '80s music set up the class for perfect karaoke moments.
I was blown away by the creativity of our class. Puff, Pass & Paint instructor/founder Heidi Keyes joined in the fun and created two of the most creative ceramic pieces: an anatomically correct heart and a frying pan with bacon and eggs, My efforts were definitely more amateur sticking with the elementary technique of a coil pot and forming what's best described as a piece of pizza ashtray — although that wasn't my intention.
This is definitely a worthwhile activity for anyone who doesn't mind picking clay out of their fingers for a few days. There are two upcoming Puff, Pass & Pottery classes on January 29 and February 26; don't be afraid to sign up and get your hands dirty.
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