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Mudlark Pottery Studio expanding on Florence’s Main Street, more space for gallery and classes

Monalisa Miller is expanding her Mudlark Pottery to accommodate more classes. (Photo by Mike Rutledge)

Monalisa Miller is expanding her Mudlark Pottery to accommodate more classes. (Photo by Mike Rutledge)

By Mike Rutledge
NKyTribune Contributor

Even with the closure of Yesterday’s Café and Tea Room, the news is not all bad for Main Street in Florence: The Mudlark Pottery Studio and Gallery is moving to a different address on the street, to a space that’s nearly three times larger.

“I haven’t been able to do what I wanted to do,” in the 900-square-foot storefront at 225 Main St., said Monalisa Miller, owner of the Mudlark pottery business.

“I’m moving to 2,500 square feet,” she said, at 256 Main St., in the same building occupied by the Allstate Cottongim Agency.

“I’ll have a large gallery, a large retail area, a large classroom area, plus two individual studios if I want to create individual studios for other people.

“There, I’ll be able to do much more with classes,” Miller said. “I want to bring in other artists to teach painting classes, teach glass classes, things like that.”

The Union native and Verona resident plans to host monthly shows of local artists.

She has occupied the space at 225 Main a year and a half, after a year in Warsaw, where she also hosted monthly shows, “and I missed doing that here,” she said, while standing in her current studio. The new one is expected to open Aug. 1, with a gallery exhibition. She won’t merely have visual-arts exhibitions, but also poetry readings and works by storytellers.

Miller teaches wheel-throwing and hand-building pottery classes for adults and children, has her own studio in the current space, and that will move as well. With the name Monalisa on her birth certificate, the arts seem to have been inevitable for her.

After her girls grew up, she graduated with a bachelor’s in fine arts degree from Northern Kentucky University. She started as a sculptor but evolved into creating pottery and teaching it.

“I just love clay. Even when I did sculpture with metal and wood, some part of that had clay in it,” she said. Clay “is very tactile, and soothing. I have seen, when students sit down at the wheel, or with clay in their hands, they can take a breath. It’s very therapeutic.”

“I was so sad to hear about the Tea Room closing,” Miller said. That closure was prompted by differences between the restaurant and landlord.

Miller says she knows the move will be good for her personally, and, “I’m hoping to get the community involved so it will be a place for the community to meet.”

“I really love teaching clay,” she says. “I can’t imagine my life without doing it.”

Mudlark is a nickname for people who dig through mud along rivers, seeking treasures, or things to sell, there.

There’s only been one downside of the transition to the new location, she says: She and husband Kevin recently celebrated their 25th anniversary on June 22.

“I always said I wanted to go to Italy on my 25th wedding anniversary, but this has kind of taken over my life,” she said. “So we ended up going to Home Depot on my 25th wedding anniversary.”

“I bought paint for my anniversary,” she said. “Maybe next year, or maybe the 30th….”

Miller also teaches pottery at Verona Vineyards and local libraries. She can be contacted at 859-630-0701 or through her website or mudlarkpotterystudio@yahoo.com

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