A new pottery studio where you can drink wine as you make is preparing to open in the heart of Wollongong at the end of June. Artist and founder of Clay Sydney, Hannah Barclay has been itching to expand to her hometown and excited to bring a unique and creative social activity to Keira Street. Read more: Haven't got a ticket refunded yet? You're not alone "There's been a massive resurgence in pottery," the owner of Clay Wollongong said. "Through COVID people just wanted to do something that was really tactile that wasn't staring at a screen and they could do something with their hands." The 32-year-old entrepreneur discovered a love for the pottery wheel whilst studying government at university 12 years ago, but the hobby soon changed to a career path with Barclay opening the St Peters studio in 2019 - now employing 20 staff and teaching about 500 students a week. "It's a quality production in what you make," Barclay said. "You learn more of a skill as well ... we show you basics and then you can go on your own journey." Read more: What concerts, events are on in and around the Illawarra this June Barclay chose a central location in Wollongong so people could continue their night out wandering to various bars within walking distance of their pottery class. But the studio isn't just for hens nights or corporate team building activities, it's set-up to host multiple classes in the space for casual one-off visits, or four-week courses as well as memberships as a maker-space. This is "stage one" so far, Barclay said, with "stage two" to open a section of the space as a gallery in the future to "showcase artists of the Illawarra and South Coast". Ironically Barclay doesn't have a pottery wheel at home in Coledale, which was yet another factor pushing her to open Clay Wollongong. Read more: Wanderer Festival a world-class music and arts event for Far South Coast "It's so nice to do something that's very calming and relaxing, it's also being in the moment in something where people can switch off completely," she said. "Anxieties of the week can go away and you can be present - which is rare for some people who don't have creativity in their lives everyday; it brings a lot of happiness." To read more stories, download the Illawarra Mercury news app in the Apple Store or Google Play.