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Terracotta hopes to shape more than just clay

Aug. 5, 2022 Updated Fri., Aug. 5, 2022 at 10:20 p.m.

By Emily Pearce Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Windows from floor to ceiling flood the space with natural light, so much so that lemon trees could grow in the new space. Candace Baltz should know – she grew them when she lived in the apartments above years ago, before recently returning to Pullman.

Terracotta, a pottery studio, will open soon in Pullman and will give adults a space to play and create. Baltz, owner of Terracotta, is excited to see people converging and communicating while making pottery in the studio.

Baltz is a third-time resident in Pullman, and she said the town is a “Goldilocks zone” for her and her family. She and her husband met at Washington State University in the late 1990s. He was the editor-in-chief at WSU’s student newspaper, The Daily Evergreen, and Baltz yearned for the job. She took on the role later in her college career.

In Baltz’s hometown of Bremerton, Wash., he was a new education reporter and did a story on her parents his first week on the job. Baltz said she believes it was fate, and they started dating. The pair were married in the WSU Cub during finals week when she graduated.

A decade ago, The Daily Evergreen was looking for a general manager and Baltz moved back to Pullman with her family in 2012. She then chased a dream of working in student media in Oregon for a couple of years, but during the pandemic her family decided to return to Pullman in 2020.

“Pullman is our chosen home,” Baltz said.

Baltz grew up with a pottery studio at the parks and recreation department in Bremerton. She started working with clay when she was 10 years old and used it as an outlet when dealing with school and life as a kid. She shared a love for pottery with her instructor, and grew her confidence by taking pride in what she created.

Being a journalist and working in student media, Baltz said she thought pottery was something she would do when she retired. In her last house in Oregon, there was a pottery studio in her backyard garden shed.

She spent her time making gnomes, ornaments and anything she could think of. Baltz said she thought to herself, “I really want to do just pottery forever, I want to make this accessible for other people.” She set her heart on opening a studio.

“I think energy on time is really precious, and this is how I want to spend mine,” Baltz said.

Terracotta is a woman-owned business, and Baltz said access and representation matters for all identities and people.

“I think it’s more than little kids seeing what’s possible or normalizing (what) women can do,” Baltz said. “It’s about advocating in these spaces that promote and support businesses for how to better support more types of people.”

Community engagement is important to Baltz – during the renovation process for Terracotta, she chose to keep the windows open so people could see the studio being built. She enjoyed people stopping on the sidewalk to look inside, catching glimpses from groups of people curious about what’s happening.

Baltz is most excited to see the relationships and connections people will create while making pottery.

“It’s an opportunity for people to organically meet and get to know each other.”

She wants to educate and support people’s creative process, like her instructor did when she was little. Baltz said a pottery studio brings everyone together and provides an easy way to form connections. She’s seen strangers at separate workstations share ideas, ask for help and talk to one another like they were already friends.

“I think of this as a kindness studio, a community studio,” Baltz said.

Baltz has talked about possibly having a grand opening. She said the studio is currently operating on a soft-open structure; she is prescheduling community events, classes, workshops and camps. As the studio gets on its feet, the community will see more from Terracotta.

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