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Jess Portas: Creativity with a twist

By Vicki Hillhouse

A lot of people don’t consider themselves artists when they visit The Refinery for the first time. Put some clay in their hands, though, and you can witness a shift, says potter, artist and founder Jess Portas.

Located at 205 S. Second Ave., The Refinery is a community pottery and art studio open to guests of every skill level, including no experience at all. Sessions range from two-hour beginning classes to weeks-long programs. Some workshops are paired with a featured winery. Others are geared projects for families. (Check the events calendar to learn of upcoming Wine+Clay and quarterly Makers Markets at The Refinery!)

For Portas, long an artist before she fell deeply for pottery as an adult, the space’s most important purpose is the access it offers to simply try.

“I have so many people coming in here that say, ‘I’m not artistic. I’m not creative,’” she says. “Being creative is just stringing together a series of decisions — whether consciously or subconsciously. I think that everyone is an artist in anything that they are doing.”

Watch a video to learn more about Jess Portas and The Refinery – click here!