Former Phillips University Ceramic Art Professor Paul Denny loved helping people and making pottery. He recently passed away, but his memory will live on at Leonardo’s Children’s Museum with a new pottery class. On Thursday, October 4, Paul’s Beginning Pottery class will start at Leonardo’s and the teacher has a special connection to the art professor because she is his granddaughter. “I have knowledge of pottery because I grew up around it,” says Jamie Castle, Leonardo’s Art Education Coordinator.
Castle, an Oklahoma state certified teacher, will instruct students age 13 and up, on beginning skills needed in pottery. “I’m going to teach the class like my grandpa did,” says Castle. She says students will start with the basics and be able to make a pinch, slap and coil pot by the end of the eight week class. Castle’s mother and aunt who learned a lot from their father will lend a hand with the class.
“His passion was pottery and he had his own studio in his house so when he retired he could still work,” says Castle. Denny was one of the original teachers involved with Leonardo’s beginnings and helped get the “pottery lab” started. Originally the pottery lab was in the North East corner of the first floor of Leonardo’s and was a great space to make things that Denny would later fire in the kiln. It is believed that the special kiln was produced in the space because during renovation it had to be disassembled to remove it. This area is now a workshop for exhibit repair and the Education Annex has a kiln room.
Grandpa loved making vases Castle said.
His work was popular and also sold in art galleries. As many artists have done he exchanged art with fellow artists he met worldwide in his travels. His own personal collection had several famous art pieces. In turn his art is spread throughout the country and abroad.
Denny was very generous donating pottery to many local charities and he also made mugs that were sold in the Leonardo’s gift shop. Longtime residents may have some of his work in their collections
It is fitting that Leonardo’s founder Helen Garriott will also be a part of this new legacy because Paul’s Beginning Pottery Class will be taught in the Helen Garriott Classroom. The eight week class is $72 for members and $80 for non-members. It is open for teens age 13 to adult.