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Some pottery studios welcome back customers, others push back reopening date

Posted at 7:56 PM, May 20, 2020

CLARK COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — With restrictions lifted, Kentuckians can now shop in-person at retail stores, including art studios.

Broadway Clay in Frankfort is ready for the day, welcoming patrons back a few at a time. Two people are allowed in the gallery at a time, and students won’t return for in-studio pottery lessons until at least next week. Masks are required for anyone inside and owners ask that customers use the hand sanitizer located near the front door.

“We are opening because we feel very safe with our safety protocols,” said Jody Jaques, one of Broadway Clay’s owners.

When the studio first shut its doors because of COVID-19 directives from the government, Jaques said they immediately worked to reinvent the wheel. Broadway Clay continues to offer take-home pottery projects and virtual classes.

“We reinvented what a pottery studio would look like,” she said.

Starting May 25, students who paid membership for March can make-up dates. On May 30, the studio will allow students back for a weekend workshop. Finally, on June 1, the studio will fully reopen to those with memberships. However, there will be restrictions. Only five people are allowed in the pottery studio at a time, and they must follow hygiene protocols listed around the shop, including recording their temperatures.

“We're making sure that we are safe and that everyone else is safe,” said Jaques. “And just like everything else we're flexible. We just want to make sure the safety of our customers, and ourselves comes first.”

Meanwhile, in Clark County, a different decision was made at Dirty South Pottery. The artisan shop won’t reopen to in-person shopping until further notice.

“It was because we did not feel like we had everything that we needed in place to make sure that everyone stayed safe,” said Carvel Norman, the shop’s owner.

Plexiglass and masks are in the store’s future, according to Norman. However, the family-owned business faces a different challenge because the store is an extension of the Normans’ home.

“We live upstairs. And so if we can limit the amount of contact that's within the building itself, it makes it a little bit safer for us,” said Norman. “The boundaries between what is our home and what is our workplace tends to get blurred quite a bit and so we want to make sure we're being observant and mindful.”

One of the challenges Dirty South Pottery is facing is how they will monitor everything a customer might touch. Norman said ideally they want to sanitize every piece of pottery after a person has touched it, but they are worried they may miss something if they are in the back working on a new commission.

“Prior to this, we would tell people, ‘Pick it up. Handle it. Make sure that [pottery piece is] what you want,’ and right now that's a little bit difficult,” said Norman. “If someone touches something and we miss it and they’re asymptomatic, that’s something that went out of our store.”

For the time being, Dirty South Pottery will continue offering online orders, deliveries, and curbside pick-up.

You can shop for items from Dirty South Pottery here and from Broadway Clay here.