The Potter's Wheel

Driftwood Ceramics offers a way to get your hands dirty—and like it

"What are you going to do with a degree in ceramics?" 

It's a question that McKenzie Stanley has heard many times over the years.  A degree in the arts can be tough to put to use. Still, she and husband, Ken, are proving the naysayers wrong as they celebrate their first year in business as owner/operators of Driftwood Ceramics, located in North Kansas City. 

McKenzie fell in love with ceramics in high school. 

"I was always the only one that wanted to deal with slip (scrap clay and water) for other students. I loved getting messy. I loved all the steps that it took to create something. And I love how many different things you could create," says McKenzie. 

After earning her degree in ceramics from Truman State, McKenzie started making her way as an artist, moving to Kansas City, where she met her future husband, Ken, who is also a painter. The couple moved to Los Angeles for a bit, working in studios and picking up graphic design work for U.S. Soccer. 

Now, they've come home to the Northland, where Ken is the creative director for the KC Comets, and McKenzie devotes her time to Driftwood Ceramics. The studio is an incubator of sorts, offering classes and experiences at many levels. 

For those that have never touched clay before, Driftwood has month-long classes that teach the basics of pottery. For more intensive learning, private sessions are available. They also offer date nights and pot and pint nights, which invites would-be potters to grab a drink and let their creativity flow. 

During classes, students are taught how to work with clay, how to use the wheel, and how to glaze. McKenzie fires the pieces for the students in the kiln, which she has nicknamed Georgia. 

For the more seasoned potter, Driftwood also offers memberships where members have 24/7 access to the studio to work on personal projects.  Sculptures and greenware (clay that hasn't been fired yet) sit on shelves awaiting their turn in the kiln. Far from dozens of identical mugs, there's a wide range of styles and forms on display. 

McKenzie and Ken have been happy with the warm reception in North Kansas City and are excited to see how the studio progresses. They've just hired their first employee to teach classes. 

"Hopefully, in the next few years, we can continue to expand, either in space for the studio or into another location. We love the Northland. It's been really nice bringing something fun and creative to people here, so they don't have to drive south," says McKenzie. 

Driftwood Ceramics is located at 2106 Swift St. North Kansas City, Missouri, 64116. For more information, visit DriftwoodCeramics.com

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