Mel's Pot Shop is a local pottery business that combines classes and a gallery with pottery pieces for sale.

Most of the business is focused on the classes with eager students coming from all around the tri-state area.

Owner Mel El-Farouki loves to teach.

She is passionate about pottery.

But she wants to be sure her students are enjoying themselves as they learn.

She said, "The most important thing for me is that people have fun here. It is a place where you can be yourself. No one is judging anybody. I think I like to keep it laid back because I don't want anyone to be stressed here."

The friendly, easy going atmosphere is a key reason Vicki Johnson has been attending classes since Mel's Pot Shop opened two years ago.

She said, "I just think it is a really meditative program. I love getting my hands in the mud and making things."

But Catherine Fox says while Mel is laid back, she is also hands on.

She said, "She teaches as you go. So you are learning what you need to know, when you need to know it, instead of learning everything up front."

Students learn a couple different methods of making pottery. The easier way, hand  building clay. the more complex method, using the potters wheel.

In addition to teaching classes, Mel is also busy herself making pottery.

Many of her finished pieces are sold in the gallery at the front of the building.

Others are sold on-line