There’s an artist in all of us. At least, that’s the premise behind a handful of paint-your-own-pottery businesses in the region.
“It’s fun to create your own things,” said third-grader Camy Penick of Spokane as she brushed green paint onto ceramic tree frogs last week at Color Me Mine, a downtown Spokane ceramics studio in River Park Square.
The bespectacled, art-loving 8-year-old said she thinks boys would enjoy the experience just as much as girls.
“Especially the dinosaurs,” said Penick, nodding at T. Rex figurines waiting to be painted, fired and glazed.
Brooke Berger, 17, said her 5-year-old brother Jackson is a Color Me Mine regular. A junior at St. George’s School, the teenager mentors Penick through Spokane’s Big Brothers, Big Sisters program.
“I used to (paint pottery) when I was her age, and I saw how artistic she was, and I thought she’d enjoy doing it,” said Berger, applying powder-blue paint to a picture frame she planned as a surprise for her mother.
“I don’t usually bring her home crafts anymore,” Berger said, smiling. Penguins, Disney characters, dolphins, football and hockey banks and refrigerator magnets shaped like dogs and cats are big hits with the younger set.
Adults’ favorites include oval serving platters, cookie jars, wine coolers, salad bowls, pitchers, chip and dip trays and pet dishes.
Costs range from $4 to $70 per piece; some businesses also charge additional studio fees of $6 for 12 and younger and $9 for adults, while others may add between $2 and $4 to cover firing and glazing.
More than 70 paint colors – in shades such as grasshopper, Pacific salmon, pink cheeks and Mississippi mud – are available for transforming the stark white pottery pieces into works of art.
Color Me Mine fires finished pieces in kilns and coats them in shiny glaze, making them safe for food, the microwave and the dishwasher, said Patricia Swanson, an art major at Spokane Falls Community College, who works at the store. They’re ready to pick up five days after they’re painted.
People get so wrapped up in their artwork they’ll spend hours personalizing a piece, Swanson said.
“Guys think this is really girly,” she admitted, but once they take up a brush, they “always take the longest” to finish a piece just as they want it.
“I don’t know anybody who’s come in here, done this and said, ‘Oh, this is really lame,’ ” Swanson said. “It’s really fun.”