She's a land surveyor by profession. But, these days, the closest Bonnie Karet comes to applying her education is using geometry to determine angles on works of arts.
She said she decided to change her career after visiting a make-your-own-pottery studio.
"One day I went into a pottery studio in Wilmington, N.C., and I was hooked," said Karet. "I loved it so much. I knew this is what I want to do."
After staying home to raise her two daughters, Karet opened her own pottery studio in Oran Beach seven years ago. She just recently closed the Oran Beach studio to concentrate on her newest venture -- the Art Monkey in Park Square in FishHawk Ranch.
The Art Monkey offers beginning pottery classes for all ages, including adults. In addition, students learn to work with other materials such as fused art glass, tie-dye, mosaics and ceramics.
"We're a complete art studio," said Karet.
Last Saturday, during the FishHawk Ranch Farmer's Market, Karet offered a Story Art class for young children. The children read Leo Lionni's "A Color of His Own," and then created their own clay animal magnets, painting each a color of its own.
The cost of the class was $5 for Art Monkey members and $10 for nonmembers.
"That's just one of many classes we have to offer here," said Karet.
Karet said she's relishing her new career.
"I love teaching pottery to children. They have no fear. They just dive right in," she said.
Children aren't her only students, however. She said there are quite a few adults interested in learning how to create pottery. She offers a Coffee Club adult class each Wednesday at 10 a.m. and adult workshops on the second Friday of each month to allow adults to explore their hidden creative talents.
In addition, she hosts a Ladies Night the last Friday of the month during which ladies may bring their own drinks and snacks and spend the evening creating pottery or fused-glass jewelry.
There are a wide choice of classes for children including a four-week clay class; the Story Art class, which meets Tuesdays at 11 a.m., Wednesdays at 1 p.m., Fridays at 3 p.m. and during the farmer's market; Mix It Up, which meets Thursdays at 3 p.m. or Fridays at 5 p.m.; and the Funky Monkey Kids Club, which meets the first Friday of the month for an art project and pizza.
There's an art class specifically for middle school students, which meets Thursdays at 5 p.m. In addition to enjoying pizza, the students in grades five through seven do more complicated projects, such as creating free-form stoneware bowls, and are introduced to the pottery wheel.
Children can have birthday parties at the Art Monkey during which party guests create child-friendly glass art bugs and pendants, tie-dyed shirts, clay pieces, wearable art made from a child's painting, mosaic self-portraits or ceramic pieces.
The cost for parties ranges from $14 per person for club members; $16 per guest for nonmembers.
Art enthusiasts also can throw a pottery wheel party for $20 a guest for members, $25 for nonmembers; or a glass sushi plate party for $16 a guest for members, $20 for nonmembers. Parties generally take 1 1/2 to two hours although wheel parties can take 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Memberships range from $20 a month to $40 a month and include firing discounts, unlimited studio access during business hours, discounts on products and discounts on classes. A $60 a month Keyholder membership includes access to the studio around the clock, personal shelf space and use of wheels, the slabroller and extruder as well.
For sisters Cadence and Aurora Benjamin, it was an ideal way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
"It's fun," said Aurora, proudly displaying her painted puppy magnet.
The Funky Monkey is located at 16144 Churchview Drive, Lithia.
For information, call 813-315-9803, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.artmonkeystudio.com.