Updated: Jul 5, 2020
Last month, I to talk with some great people yesterday Ken and McKenzie Stanley @driftwood_ceramics they are on Swift Street in North Kansas City, the newly named #Rivernorthdistrictkc. I met them a year ago the week they opened when I rushed in and announced I'd been waiting for a ceramics studio to open for 10 years. I promptly took three private lessons with my son. MKenzie took us through building pots so well that our work turned out perfectly. She trimmed and fired them, but we proudly learned (relearned) to use the wheel and came back to pick our favorite glaze (they use non toxic glazes).
This local ceramics studio with 8+ pottery wheels and tables for hand building is already a favorite in the Northland. They fire the art on site. Boasting both classes, sip and art parties, and memberships. They have great memberships too for artists or those wanting to learn ceramics.
This couples has a great story. Art brought them together As kids growing up in Gladstone (Ken) and Florissant (McKenzie) both went on to get Fine Art degrees: Ken at Mizzou with a focus on painting and McKenzie at Truman State. Their epic adventure began when they met in Kansas City. First, they worked in CA then took a year-long trek across Australia. Like other millennials, they dreamt of creating an experiential business model. And like other Millenials, they traveled the globe in search of adventure. It was on the way back from Australia that they decided they wanted to come home and open a ceramics studio in Kansas City.
While checking out several locations, they attended an NKC business council talk at an iWerx Coffee Connect (Wednesdays 7 am). Ken says they felt really welcomed to North Kansas City and chose it over other locations. “We just really love this North Town area,” says McKenzie. “I love the fact that everything is walkable. Friendly. We live down the street. Just being close to everything.” “Bonus that the business community is really supportive….welcoming," adds Ken. "Seems like there is a lot of positive energy to get NKC to become event a more destination for families with the NKC Art Walk…Art In the Park. It’s been fun to be a part of that.”
The studio boasts a variety of opportunities: two-hour workshops on throwing pots, a four-week class to learn the basics of making and trimming and glazing; Pots ‘n Pints classes where guests BYOB; Private Parties for groups and families; and memberships. Members get a half or full (shelf) membership to get 24 access to the studio as well as perks on glazing supplies and use of the space. The low cost is excellent for artists on a budget and for professionals who want to keep their own schedule. So even if you are low on time or money you can get a membership that works for your needs. Patrons enjoy this studio and are invited to an biannual sale of members’ unique wares.
Outside of the Studio, the Stanley’s show at many local makers events. Ken serves as Creative Director for KC Comets working with video, graphics, and sometimes bartends. McKenzie runs the office and business side of Driftwood as well as the shop and teaching.
What a full year it's been. As they posted on their website when they opened they wanted their shop to be a “studio for art lovers and admirers.” They have done just that. In the future they want to keep doing what they are doing, maybe some day get more wheels, even a second location. Visit them at www.driftwoodceramics.com and you'll not only have great bowls and plates, but good friends too.