The Roundhouse teaches locals and visitors new skills in their fully equipped makerspace located at Truckee Tahoe Airport |

The Roundhouse teaches locals and visitors new skills in their fully equipped makerspace located at Truckee Tahoe Airport

Cassandra Walker
The Roundhouse ceramics class teaches students to make their first pottery pieces.
Cassandra Walker / Sierra Sun |

Learn More

The Roundhouse is a non-profit makerspace that supports the teaching, learning and practicing of a wide variety of crafts, skills, technologies and arts in the Truckee-Tahoe community. To view the class schedule and learn more visit" target="_blank">class="Hyperlink"> .

Tucked inside a container at the Truckee Tahoe Airport is what seems like another world of creativity that welcomes newcomers to make their ideas reality by learning to build using various mediums.

“The space operates like a gym with our membership,” said Karyn Stanley, general manager of the Rounbhouse, a nonprofit makerspace that offers classes in ceramics, textiles, wood shop, basic welding and fabrication, and more.

Stanley explained that with the purchase of a membership and after having taken a safety course, locals and visitors can help themselves to the makerspace to work on their creations during various scheduled and free-work times throughout the week.

“You can use all of the equipment and tools in the space with a safety checkout, I just had my first welding experience last weekend,” she said.

“It is so empowering to play with metal and fire — we decided women are wonderful welders; something about our finesse and patience,” she laughed.

Last week David VanderJagt, ceramics artist and creator of “ArtElements” pottery designs and fine clay work, taught an introductory class to throwing pottery.

As five students looked on, he began the session explaining the clay that the class would be using.

“We provide recycled clay, we work hard to recycle everything we can because really it’s just a mixture of particles from the earth, so we save the scraps and reuse them rather than throwing the earth’s resource into the trash,” he said.

Each student was provided a station with a pottery wheel, needle and trimming tools, sponges and ribs used to shape and smooth pottery pieces, in addition to a hand-building station for those who didn’t want to work on a wheel.

VanderJagt showed students how to work air out of their clay and prepare it for throwing.

He demonstrated how to center the clay on the pottery wheel to best ensure a finished piece that was even on all sides and provided encouragement and tips to students as they took to their own wheels to craft their first pottery creations.

“What we’re doing here is not rocket science, it is clay, it is mud,” VanderJagt said.

People in the class were laughing, expressing how fun and challenging the class was and what an opportunity it is to have the tools and experts available to share their craft with others.

By the end of the two and a half hour class students learned to evenly build up and smooth out a bowl, making deliberate movements to work the clay, and learning the correct technique for a foundation in future pottery endeavors.

The Roundhouse offers regular classes at one-time fees as well as membership packages. Makers can opt for $50 monthly membership on an auto-renew plan or a $500 annual membership to save a few bucks. Monthly memberships with no auto-renew commitment are also available for $60 each month and the space is open from Thursday through Sunday from 8a.m. to 8p.m.

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.