Pottery and ceramics date back thousands of years, when man found that wet clay could be formed into a bowl shape.
When left to dry, or better, placed into a fire, it would harden and hold water. Today, while some pottery is still hand thrown, placed in a kiln to dry and used as mugs, bowls, vases, and the like, ceramics has developed into an art form expressed by everyday people.
The Evolution of Ceramics
Outside of the artists who design and color their own pottery, the hobby of painting ceramic pieces evolved in the 1930s during an otherwise dark period in American history. Kilns, molds, and glazes emerged for use by the at-home hobbyist. Similarly, clay tools and brushes followed. The results stemmed from the desire of everyday people, not necessarily artists, to be able to mold a piece of clay and further create their own design through the colors and glazes affordably offered.
Mold and glaze manufacturers developed a certification program for individuals, mostly store owners and employees, to be able to teach the ceramic arts. The idea boomed for decades with ceramic shops offering molds and/or precast products to private individuals to create and paint. The aspiring artists didn’t need to invest in a kiln as shop owners offered the service of kiln-firing, which in-turn kept customers returning to their stores.
Paint Your Own Pottery
In the mid-80s, the demand started fizzling out, in part because the demand for new molds and different ideas dwindled. But, the concept didn’t take long to re-emerge in the early 90s with the idea that it may be more fun to paint with friends in a group atmosphere than alone at home.
Creative shop owners once again started carrying ceramic supplies with pre-modeled clay designs, paints, glazes, brushes, and tools, but this time with the focus of creating the artistic atmosphere in their shops. Through classes and parties, individuals young and old, could come in, pick their piece and jump right into painting. The all-in-one price was based on the size of the molded art, the paint it would take to cover it, and the equivalent to an equipment-use fee.
Today there are paint-your-own ceramic stores in cities, large and small, throughout the country. Some are independent while others are part of a franchise. With many you can go in and work on your project most anytime during their regular hours, no group needed. Others continue to promote the class and party atmosphere. And, yet some still sell supplies, so you can work at home and return your work ready for the kiln.
If you are looking for a new way to express yourself, or a relaxing hobby to put down the electronic devices and slow down our day, check for a paint-your-own store near you.