Joshua Margolis, artist, teacher and author of the popular children’s book “Melvin the Sad…(ish) Robot,” is opening a brand new ceramics studio for classes and retail called Out of Step Clay in Wheat Ridge this April.
After years of working and teaching in and out of different studios across Florida and California, including a residency with the de Young Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco, it became time for Margolis to open a studio and business under his ownership for the first time.
And Denver was just the spot. During the pandemic, the Bay area became a hard place to live. So Margolis and his wife Michele made the move to North Denver in January 2021 and fell in love within two months.
Prepping for business, while rewarding, has been stressful. Margolis said he’s had ideas for a studio mapped out for years, but ordering materials like the kilns and building out the space has been quite difficult with everything at elevated prices, on backorder, or just unavailable.
Nevertheless, Out of Step Clay Studio will open with a gallery show on April 2, showing the works of Margolis’ most recent project: “Urban Barn Owls.”
The show will include sculptures, photographs and videos of a growing family of barn owls that nested across the street from Margolis’ home in California at the start of the pandemic. He became obsessed with them, and as he watched the family develop, he knew it would lend itself to telling the story through clay. He went from watching the owls hunt for food, to seeing their chicks explore, to even rescuing one.
“It was like a saving grace during this chaotic, crazy moment in time,” Margolis said.
In addition to being a gallery space, Out of Step Clay will have ceramics classes, both throwing and handbuilding, for children and adults. All classes are beginner friendly, run six to eight weeks long, and include clay, glazes, and in-studio materials.
Teaching is something Margolis has really missed over the pandemic. In February 2022, he had his first school visit in over two years to promote the studio and the Melvin the Robot book series.
“It was just so wonderful and warming to walk through the school and see the teachers interacting with the kids and the kids so excited to meet someone new,” Margolis said. “And I really missed that kind of excitement of engaging with students of all ages.”
Margolis has taught over 7,000 students from four years old all the way to 99.
“In San Francisco I watched people grow up to become adults. I’ve seen people get married. I’ve been invited to weddings. I’ve seen people have children,” Margolis said. “I’ve really seen people go through these amazing life journeys and milestones, and I’m really excited to have that be a part of this space as well.”
The name of the studio is inspired by that sense of community. It comes from a 1983 album and song by Minor Threat called “Out of Step.” The punk rock and hardcore scene has always been important to Margolis as one that’s welcomed folks who felt like they were on the “outside of the norm.”
“I’m really, really focused on community building,” Margolis said. “That’s like my number one goal. Ceramic education is one thing, but it’s really about creating a good, creative space for a larger community.”
Out of Step Clay Studio’s first gallery show will take place on April 2, 2022 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 7045 W. 38th Ave. Wheat Ridge, CO 80033. Class registration is now open at outofstepclay.com and you can follow along on Instagram at @outofstepclay.