The Artist Within was founded in 2004 by Bob and Vicki Hartley. However, Toren Scott will is the new owner and will be changing the name to Made In Muncie on Feb. 10. Under new ownership, Scott plans to eventually only have locally made pottery in the shop for customers to paint. DN PHOTO EMMA ROGERS
Muncie Origins: Pottery shop encourages creativity, local art
A bright, colorful space greets those who enter The Artist Within, located on Walnut street in downtown Muncie.
Shelves are lined with various white ceramic figures ready to be glazed at the line of tables that are complete with samples of how glazes will ultimately turn out once the figure has been in the kiln.
Their focus is on pottery; customers are able to walk in, select a piece, glaze it and pick it up a week later.
Founded in 2004 by Bob and Vicki Hartley, the shop provides an opportunity for people to express their creative side.
Ali Kline, an employee at The Artist Within, says that working with pottery can be therapeutic.
When the shop opened, Toren Scott was the throwing instructor, teaching people how to make their own figures with clay and a wheel. But in 2007, he joined the U.S. Navy where he was stationed in San Diego. Scott said he enjoyed his service but was injured in a hit and run incident in 2010 and returned to Muncie in 2012.
Scott is the new owner of the shop and is transitioning it to a focus on locally-made goods, which is why by Feb. 10 The Artist Within will be renamed Made in Muncie. Scott hopes to eventually stock only locally-made pottery.
Their website will also change to madeinmuncie.com where customers will be able purchase items and make reservations.
Scott said he is also hoping to become more connected with the community.
“We’ve been called Muncie’s best kept secret. But we don’t want to be a secret anymore,” Scott said.
Debbie Johnson has worked at The Artist Within for three years and enjoys watching customers invested in their creations.
"I think the best part of working here is watching people become so absorbed in what they’re doing that they block out everything and that it becomes their escape for a moment. Whatever is going on in their world is put aside as they focus on just this one thing," Johnson said.
A wide variety of ceramic pieces are available, from figures to kitchenware. Specific ideas can be made in-house or ordered in, hence the Yoda, R2D2 figures and Gizmo Gremlin currently on the shelves.
Pieces range from five to 25 dollars with no additional painting or firing fees.
While the focus of The Artist Within is pottery, they also work with beads and offer a variety of classes on disciplines such as oil painting and how to create pottery on the wheel.
By the end of February, they will also be offering a new fused glass workshop. Participants will get to create a picture frame that will fit a printed Instagram photo.
The space also hosts a gallery of local art and the featured artist hosts a reception the first Thursday of the month. This month The Artist Within is featuring Don Carter’s photography.
They are also planning to host artwork from younger artists from Ball State University and local high schools.