OUR STORY AND PHILOSOPHY
Potter, Instructor, Owner
Photo by Shay Purcell
Welcome to White Lotus Pottery. I'm Amanda Bartel, the artist behind each piece of stoneware made by hand in College Station, Texas. I began my pottery career in Ithaca, New York when I asked a local artist for lessons and immediately fell in love with working at the wheel. A few months later, my housemates and I built our own basement studio where we dove headfirst into the craft. When I met my husband, we moved out of town and started bouncing around the world (Germany, Russia, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Virginia, and now Texas), and I was committed to finding a wheel wherever we went.
I started stamping my pieces with a lotus flower while working at a ceramic studio in Berlin, Germany. I am inspired by the flower’s beauty and symbolic meaning - from out of the muck, the lotus grows, just as a ball of clay is transformed into a beautiful piece of functional art with the help of an artist’s gentle hands and a little love. It means so much knowing my work is out in the world and my hope is that the good energy that goes into making my pieces will fuel the homes and the hands of those who use them.
Before becoming a full-time potter, I spent over a decade as an occupational therapist - a profession founded on the idea that meaningful activity is the best way to support health and wellbeing. It has been so fulfilling to apply my background as a therapist to the incredibly therapeutic experience of working with clay. Sitting at the potter’s wheel is a daily invitation to center myself as I center the clay. It requires complete harmony of mind, body, and spirit. Through my functional artwork, I hope to share that harmony with others by teaching the craft and producing pieces that can be integrated into everyday life.
All Are Welcome Here
One of the things I love most about pottery is how easily it can be shared with others. Both the finished product and the making process lend themselves to inviting others in.
At White Lotus, we strive to provide a space for people to connect with their creativity, mindfulness, and community through pottery. We believe that clay can be a powerful tool for improving mental health and well-being, and we are committed to creating a welcoming and supportive environment for all makers. Our classes and studio membership offer a variety of opportunities for people to learn, grow, and connect with others. We believe that everyone has the potential to be creative, and we are here to help you tap into your inner maker.
We have 4 wheels for small groups to come experiment and learn with skilled instructor and owner, Amanda Bartel. We also have a work space for learning handbuilding technique and our glaze collection is always growing as we experiment with new exciting cone 5/6 glazes that we make ourselves from raw chemicals here in the studio.
We value having a clean, safe space for our visitors and studio members so we work as a team to keep the space dust-free. We know how important it is to have a creative outlet and we have seen how restorative working with clay can be for mental health, physical health, and overall well-being. We welcome all people to our studio and strive to serve our studio members with powerful and transformative experiences as we grow our clay community.
Potter & Instructor
Carla started her pottery adventure as a studio member of White Lotus Pottery and student of Amanda's back in 2019. When the opportunity arose, Carla purchased a wheel from Amanda and started her own pottery business, Salamander Hands Pottery. Carla grew up around the arts, and has early memories of her mother’s beautiful black clay pottery collection from her home-country of Mexico. She loves how a vessel designed for everyday use can also be a piece of art. For Carla, working with clay has become a source of endless learning and creativity. She embraces the many lessons that clay offers, like patience and slowing down - a challenge for a mom of 2 children always on the go! Carla grew up in College Station and graduated from Texas A&M. She is looking forward to become a more active member of the art community here and is excited to share her pottery skills as an instructor at White Lotus!