Mud Spun Arts Center, Belchertown, MA

The studio at the Mud Spun Arts Center, settled with pink dust, decorated with works in progress, is a wonderful place to spend time with your children. It is a well- appointed workspace, with several wheels, open shelving for projects, canvas covered tables, and bright windows that open up the room. A blue kiln stands in the corner, a generous sink stands at the rear. It is a space that is prepared, a space where creativity has room to grow.

The space put me in mind of Reggio Emilia, a theme that seems to crop up continually in my exploration of truly great places for my children. This educational philosophy values playing with clay very highly and posits that clay itself, not play dough or silly putty, is an important aspect of kids' art experiences.

The proprietor and resident artist at Mud Spun is Becky Laliberte. Her gallery and studio here are labors of love that have expanded gradually over the past few years. With experience in both art and education, Becky is well suited to the task she's set for herself. From her website: Mud Spun strives to offer experiences in art that encourage exploration, discovery, and creativity.

On our visit there my children were offered clay, a wide variety of tools, and introductions to techniques like creating patterns, rolling out, and wetting the clay. On the potter's wheel the kids watched Becky center the clay and begin to form a vessel. They were able to touch the clay as the wheel spun, poke it with a tool, splash water on it. It was a thorough and much appreciated introduction to the medium.
Becky is an open teacher who interacted so well and so calmly with my guys, who can be revved up easily. She offers courses at the studio ranging from adult classes to summer camps, as well as birthday parties/get togethers. In the fall, look for a Mommy & Me class also - I will be!
Mud Spun

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