How about learning something new? Maybe you’ve wanted to learn to golf and graduate from par-3 play, or take dance lessons so you could cut the rug while out for a night, or get in shape with Zumba sessions. Places for golf and dance instruction are plentiful on the Grand Strand, and so are some other outlets, such as for making pottery, painting, kayaking, Segwaying and pole dancing.
Producing some pottery
Shirley Batten teaches clay art at Mud Bucket Pottery in Little River, a gallery and studio that moved into the former Bluewaters clay studio that closed in earlier this winter. After retiring from 20 years in the Air Force, she earned her teaching degree at Coastal Carolina University and has branched out into art.
She said local residents and vacationers will walk in without any experience in clay but with a curiosity to soothe. Some people want to sit down at a pottery wheel to learn to mold art and others want to hand build it.
Either way, after glazing and firing up works in a kiln, Batten said, “you’re going to get something, and probably fall in love with it.”
For one’s first time, making a coffee mug might quench a thirst.
“It just might be enough to help you decide, ‘I really like that,’ ” Batten said.
She has worked with guests as young as 6, but no age limit exists.
“They’re realizing that ‘I can do this and create something that is not pleasing to me,’ ” Batten said, “’but that I can make something that is pleasing to somebody else.’ ”
Batten said “something as simple as a coffee cup” with its custom handle “can get very personal, because ‘I like the way it feels in my hand.’ ”
“A coffee cup is a very intimate piece of pottery,” she said. “Everybody likes it to fit a certain way in your hand. My mother likes a tall, skinny cup; I like a short, round one. ... People don’t consider a coffee mug a work of art, but it is.”
Mastering a comfort in making pottery is “a gradual thing,” Batten said, citing many housewares possibilities, from teapots to platters.
“You can make anything from really, really small to huge,” she said, welcoming the chance to teach anybody whether through single-day or four weekly lessons, programs for home-schooled students, birthday parties and even groups on a ladies’ night out.
Batten said clay can heat up a new hobby, “all with consistency and practice, like anything else you do.”
Art classes abound
Various sites let people start or pursue a passion for painting or drawing, such as:
Hop on two wheels
Want to ride a two-wheeler, but not pedal? Stand up and lean on a Segway, with a half-hour or less of training before a self-guided tour from The Market Common across the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, or a guided tour at Huntington Beach State Park.
Glide on saltwater marsh
Another season of “Coastal Kayaking” is under way, 10 a.m.-noon Mondays through October, with guided tours on a salt marsh just north of Huntington Beach State Park, near Murrells Inlet. Beginners are welcome.
Kayakers – in groups of one or two per vessel – meet at the nature center on the north side of the park, then caravan to Oyster Landing, one mile north on U.S. 17. Once paddling on the water, get eye level with wading birds and other fowl on their turf amid patches of grasses and little islands.
The rides are designed for ages 9 and older, but anyone younger than 16 needs adult accompaniment. Everyone is asked to bring rinking water, sunscreen and lace-up shoes that can get wet and muddy.
Fitness on a pole
Pole dancing can provide another means for working out the body.
Tor’keese Moss opened Teazers Pole Fitness & Dance Studio last month in the X Gym Sports Mall, just west of Myrtle Beach. She said the closest such studios of which she knew are in Charleston and Charlotte, N.C., and she’s had access to the activity in other former residences in bigger cities such as Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Moss said her first month in business has been promising. She said women who work out in clubs or walk in places such as malls might like another option through pole dancing, which is “becoming like a sport.” Also, she has fielded inquiries from gymnasts and former cheerleaders.
“You use a lot of your upper body strength,” Moss said. “I would rather pull my own weight instead of lifting weights. ... It’s a lot of arms, legs and core work.”
The beginning class really accents the arms, she said, and two other graduating levels also are available, all in weekly classes Mondays-Saturdays, in addition to hip-hop cardio dance classes given two days weekly.
The clientele – women – have ranged in age from 18 to early to mid-fifties, said Moss, who also has taken calls from parents of gymnastics and dance students, and mulled adding a session for ages 10-17.
“It’s for good upper body strength,” she said, considering youth for classes, “and with nothing provocative.”