Photos: Connor McCourtney
As students get back into the swing of crazy schedules, stress will be inevitable between a full course load, activities, jobs and social lives. While things like yoga, going for a run or having a good laugh with friends are great remedial exercises for stress, why not try throwing clay?
“They (clay projects) take a physical and mental focus, it gets your mind off of where you may have been that day,” RDG Partner Don Scandrett said about classes.
The RDG Dahlquist Art Studio in downtown Des Moines offers a stress-free environment with nothing but the ability to shape and create with clay. The studio has been available to the greater Des Moines community for 15 years.
The studio underwent a major renovation over the summer and now offers more availability to artists.
Dahlquist typically offers about five classes, and then based on interest it teaches the most popular two or three classes. Classes taught per term range from beginner to advanced experience, with class topics changing each term. Past classes the studio has taught include Families in Clay, What a Relief, Tile and Mold Making and Give It a Whirl!
The art studio also does public art projects for the Des Moines area. The Dahlquist Art Studio is responsible for larger, public art projects in the community. Recently Dahlquist was hired to redesign the Department of Transportation rest areas.
Studio artist Annick Ibsen has been with Dahlquist for three years and recently became full time with the studio.
“What I like about Dahlquist is the studio’s flexibility,” Ibsen said.
Ibsen also explained why Dahlquist is a much more unique facility compared to other studios. Dahlquist is a great way for artists to express themselves and create, without the costs of buying a kiln, storing clay, maintaining the work place and cleaning up after projects.
Ibsen is currently working on a series called “Bisous,” meaning kisses in French. She has concentrated on lover’s kisses, children’s kisses and is currently working on the princess and the toad kiss.
Dahlquist also has studio artist positions. Artists can sign up for three months, six months or a year contract for a monthly fee to work on their own. With their workspace, artists will also receive 25 pounds of clay, receive two four-feet shelves and one storage locker, have use of all studio equipment, kiln use, daily access and the opportunity to take classes at a discounted price.
“People who were experienced were just taking classes to get access to the facility,” Scandrett said.
In the past, Dahlquist has had programs with DMACC, Grandview, Iowa State and Drake for the art program. Many of the schools’ arrangements were terminated after budget cuts.
Dahlquist students come from all types of backgrounds of experience. Any skill is welcomed.
“Have fun, get dirty,” Scandrett said. “It is a lot of fun to get messy when you normally don’t, with or without skills, you can do anything.”