Sit back, relax and throw some clay at Barro BK


If you are like me, you decided a long time ago that there is a lot of fine art that is not your forte. Sure I’m creative, but somewhere along the way I decided that I wasn’t good at drawing or painting… which meant I took a first year of art class at high school and decided to pack it up.

When the adult coloring books arrived, I wasn’t even sure I could color the lines, and I certainly never tried to sit at a pottery wheel. I know that I am not the only one with creative aspirations and questionable skills. But it’s not about me. These are all people like me. And above all, it is Ernesto Gonzalez, a professor of ceramics and potter who makes art accessible in our neighborhood, thanks to his work at Barro BK.

Ernesto Gonzalez / photo courtesy of Gonzalez

Originally from California, Gonzalez moved to Brooklyn in 2013 and most recently to Greenpoint in November 2020. Gonzalez began making pottery at the age of fifteen thanks to a very influential art teacher, and although he bought his own wheel after school, he continued to make just as a hobby.

While working elsewhere as an experiential host, Gonzalez also began giving one-off pottery lessons to share his skills with people who expressed an interest. As the demand for these unique courses grew, Gonzalez realized he could better help his students by opening a studio.

Barro BK / photo courtesy of Gonzalez

Barro BK got his start in Bushwick and now occupies a charming, intimate studio in Greenpoint on West Street, with a beautiful view of the water. Here, Gonzalez sells his artwork and teaches in-depth courses such as The Fundamentals of Throwing and Intro to the Pottery Wheel.

The basics of throwing

This six-week course is in-depth training for anyone looking to improve their casting skills. It covers introductory knowledge, implements different tools, and reviews the process of cutting, decorating and glazing. It is designed to help multiple levels and is aimed at all skill sets. He even assured me that having no knowledge of pottery is do not a non-runner.

“They [beginners] are perfect candidates to follow my class. It is something that you will leave when you realize that you are more creative than you realize. “

Barro BK / photo courtesy of Gonzalez

At the end of the 6 weeks, Gonzalez’s goal is for you to be able to rent a wheel and cast without further instruction. It also offers cooking services for those who have their own wheel and just need a place to rent an oven. You can register for the 6 week course in June every Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Check the website for more specific dates.

Greenpoint Terminal Market

Gonzalez plans to be at the Greenpoint Terminal Market on Sunday May 23 and Saturday June 26 where he will sell his work and discuss his classes. In addition, he also intends to do demos with his wheels and potentially provide small outdoor lessons!

Gonzalez thinks art needs to be debunked. It is too subjective to be considered “difficult”. Even he does not set out to make “art” every time he sets out to create. Besides just enjoying the cathartic activity, Gonzalez just enjoys taking a piece of clay and seeing where it takes him. Instagram: barrobk

My first year art class surely doesn’t stand a chance against Gonzalez’s instruction. I hope to take a seat at the wheel soon.


About Bernard Kraft

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