When Denair resident Wendy Makin first took a wheel-thrown ceramic class at Columbia College four years ago, she had no idea the newly-learned hobby would eventually turn into a full-fledged business.

“I loved it immediately,” Makin said of her first spin on the wheel. “I had kind of like, a natural gift with it right away…It started out as an outlet for my creative energy, and because it’s such a calming and centering hobby it became almost like a zen-out thing to destress.”

After fine-tuning her wheel skills during more classes at Turlock Adult School, Makin began to purchase her own pottery-making equipment and soon had completed her very own home studio in her garage. She began making gifts for friends, who told her she could make a living off selling the custom, ceramic pieces.

Soon, her own business was born. It’s undergone some changes since 2016, like a new name and shift to a more pottery-focused inventory, but remains a place that serves as a creative outlet for Makin — and money maker. Today, Wolf and Monarch recently celebrated the soft launch of its new website and Makin is hard at work creating Christmas gifts for the community.

Currently, Wolf and Monarch is offering its Winter Solstice Holiday Gift Boxes with varying tiers which include items like candles with custom glazes and scents, soaps and customized ceramic dishes. In the new year, Makin plans on fully launching her new site with a variety of inventory like cups, mugs, planters and more — all made with love.

Her brand celebrates all things earth and nature, she said, from the business name down to its products themselves. One of her favorite things about creating pottery is that making ceramic items utilizes all four elements of the earth, from the clay, or sifted mud, being molded with water to the pieces being fired in the kiln and dried with air.

“I think that one of the most beautiful parts of ceramic art is that it takes all four elements into play to make it…It takes those elements and becomes this beautiful, functional piece of pottery that lasts centuries,” Makin said.

Her favorite part of the process is opening the kiln after she’s glazed her pieces and seeing what she’s created. Pottery is a long process and never produces the same results twice, she said. This holiday season, she hopes that the community supports locally-owned businesses, whether it be her own or someone else’s.

“With the pandemic and everything, a lot of people are hurting locally. It makes sense to keep the money local and give back to your community that way,” Makin said. “Amazon and Target are going to be fine. When you shop and buy local, that’s money going directly into somebody’s pocket that’s helping them and other families in the area have food on the table and have a good holiday.”

To contact Makin visit www.wolfandmonarch.com or @wolfandmonarch on Instagram.