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Free spirit finds joy in clay

Denise Liu dripped muddy water from her fingers onto a lump of clay she was trying to center on the spinning wheel.

“It’s something I always wanted to do,” she said.

Liu is learning to make ceramic pots, something on her to-do list for years. She took one of several classes offered at The Studio, a Grass Valley business located at 135 A Joerschke Drive behind the old BriarPatch. The space was formerly occupied by Sgraffito, a paint-your-own pottery shop.



The Studio offers clay and wheel classes, pottery parties, open studio sessions and children’s classes.

“I really want people to know what this place can do for them and the community,” said owner Monica Filimonov. She envisions the studio as a gathering place for artists of many mediums.




“There’s so many possibilities with this place,” Filimonov said. In the future, she hopes to bring activities to schools and nursing homes.

Filimonov could be described as a free spirit. The dancer and mother of three grew up the daughter of an artist. She cleaned houses for years and is used to being her own boss.

Becoming the owner of a pottery studio when she had no past experience with clay is almost by accident.

Jo Ann Stone, the owner of Sgraffito, gave her the business and all the equipment when she was ready to move on.

Filimonov added her own signature with a front deck, painted vertical stripes on the store front and brought in ceramic wheels, instructors and another kiln.

“My kids were excited they could be with me here,” Filimonov said.

Her lease is up by year’s-end and at that time she will make the decision to remain open, partner with someone, sell the business or close it permanently, depending on the input she gets from the public.

“If people want this place I hope they come in and let me know. I would love to see it flourish,” Filimonov said.

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To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail laurab @theunion.com

The Studio

• The Studio is open Saturday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

• This Wednesday, parents can drop off their children from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for a minimum of $10. Children’s classes will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays after this week. Saturday classes are also offered.

• Paint pottery parties can be made by appointment any day. Call for details at 274-9003 or visit Filimonov’s my space page at: http://www.myspace.com/the studiogv to get a schedule.


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