INDIAN LAND — For artist Debbie Whitsett, the move to Fort Mill was a chance to join a new community.
“I have been trying to break into the art community in Fort Mill,” she said.
Whitsett was recently a finalist for the Strawberry Festival poster competition.
Whitsett moved from Charlotte, where she taught clay classes in her home studio, to Fort Mill nearly 18 months ago. She opened her new studio and business, Olive’s Mud Puddle, in Indian Land in August.
Whitsett’s studio is named after her favorite – and smartest – pet duck, Olive.
“I like whimsy, fun stuff,” Whitsett said.
Her uncle and grandfather also are artists.
Whitsett is self-taught and said she has been painting and drawing since childhood.
When her son was younger, Whitsett took a clay class in Charlotte and found her new calling.
“I’ve been working with (clay) ever since,” she said.
Whitsett teaches clay classes, holds birthday parties and works on commission pieces at her studio.
Whitsett likes to paint, but mainly focuses on clay work. Recently, she fulfilled her dream of making statues when she was commissioned to work on an “Alice in Wonderland”-themed garden statue.
“I like 3-D work,” she said.
Whitsett’s classes offer students a chance to make any piece they want.
“I enjoy introducing people to working with clay and keeping (the art) alive,” she said.
“There aren’t many places where people can go and make what they want out of clay.”
While her students are mainly adults, Whitsett holds birthday parties where children can make and paint their own clay pieces.
“It seems to be a big hit,” she said.
“Everyone always enjoys it and wants to come back.”
Want to go?
Olive’s Mud Puddle, 10152 Barberville Road, Indian Land, offers classes 2-4 p.m. Tuesdays, 1-3 p.m. Wednesdays and 6-8 p.m. on a month-to-month basis. Individual appointments are available. For more information, call 704-301-2619 or visit www.olivesmudpuddle.com.