Keep it crafty and fun this summer with The Claypen's Art Camp + Summer Movie Series!
By: Danielle Kearns
Looking for some extra help this summer with the kids? The Claypen has several options to keep your kids entertained and creative the whole summer through, perfect for a drop-off date night situation or busy parents. As always, check our Events page for updates. Most of these events will require pre-registration, including our summer camp program.
Our Summer movie series started Thursday, June 27th and will be every Thursday, all summer long, with pizza provided by our friends at Savoy and a corresponding art project. Due to licensing restrictions, we are not able to publicize the movie titles on our website or social media, so give the studio a call if you'd like to learn more about our movie schedule. These nights are a drop-off event for children 6+ and are $35 per child, which includes the pottery, popcorn, and 2 slices of pizza.
We are also running our Summer Art Camp, brought back by popular demand. There will be two sessions this year:
Session 1: July 29th - August 1st
THEME: Around the World
Session 2: August 5th - August 8th
Each session runs Monday-Thursday from 9a-12p.
The cost per week is $250. (Discounted rate of $230 applies if child is registered for multiple weeks or if multiple siblings attend.)
Limit of 15 campers per session.
For any questions about our kid-friendly events, contact our Events Coordinator, Cait at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local wellness boutique opens in West Hartford Center and has already made fast friends with The Claypen.
By: Danielle Kearns
There's a new small business in WeHa Center. Welcome b. kind to Farmington Avenue, a wellness boutique + collaborative space that focuses on organic products that will benefit your body, mind, and spirit. The space is warm and welcoming, filled with the romantic aromas of essential oils and bath bombs.
Although they've only been around for a few weeks, we have already had our first collaboration with them! Last week, they co-hosted a mandala night with us at our location, providing the DIY essential oil bar and wellness knowledge.
Their stock ranges from home goods, beauty products, chocolates, mixers, clothing, bags, candles, oils, and more. (Let me tell you, I've been using their migraine sleep mask most nights of the week, headache or not.)
And, going forward, if you come to paint at the claypen and we're on waitlist, you will be given a 10% off coupon to use across the street while you wait. How cool is that!?
We'll also be doing collaborative events in the b. kind space! If you have any questions, drop them in the comments below!
Mission: b. kind LLC is a wellness boutique and gift shop located in West Hartford, CT. Every product in b. kind is organic, natural, and hand-chosen to promote mindfulness and nourish the mind, body, and spirit connection. Monthly and weekly events will be held in the space, bringing together community members inspired to improve their lives and the lives of others. b. kind promotes a unique way of living - one encompassed by joy, health, wellness, and peace.
Local coffee, considered one of the best in the state, sources beans from specially selected farms and gives back with a wholesome, sustainable mission.
By: Danielle Kearns
Oh. My. Coffee. Never have I ever done a formal coffee tasting. I am pretty basic when it comes to my morning cup. I'll take it light and sweet, flavored and sugary, or even topped with whipped cream or a caramel drizzle. Sure, I like the taste of coffee, but I would pretty much need to be in a bind to take it black. However, I fully realize that the only way to truly know what makes each bean and style unique is to try it straight up! And it doesn't hurt to know the story behind the bean. I have a new found appreciation for coffee.
Did you know that a coffee bean actually derives from a cherry? There are multiple layers that make up the science of the coffee plant's lifespan, but it blew my mind to learn everything that goes into just harvesting the bean itself under all those layers.
I owe all this new found knowledge to Jeff Brooks, who has dedicated the past 8 years of his life to the free and fair coffee trade business. In 2011, he started this project, along with his wife Emily, and started giv coffee, craft roastery + cafe.
Mission: Giv Coffee is a coffee roasting initiative that seeks to utilize coffee's global influence to bring about positive change in international coffee communities, coffee consumers, and the lives of those in need.
If you don't know, giv actually provides wholesale coffee beans to many of your favorite coffee shops around the state. Giv sources their beans from farmers who will benefit from this relationship. Farms are chosen with excellence and standard in mind -- as well as the farmer himself. Giv only seeks fairly traded beans and have worked out fair prices for crops, giving back a portion of sales back to the farms themselves for continual growth and success. What a rockstar mission!
Beans are delivered "green" and batch roasted in house. They are then dispersed across the state to other coffee shops and served in their Canton location. So how does it taste?
Jeff offered us a tasting to try each of their currently offered styles. There are currently around 8 styles, each named after the farmer from which the bean derived. Tasting by "cupping" allows you to taste and try the coffee in its purest form without all the extras. You are experiencing something that's been brewed to the perfect rate and standard. I took home a bag of Leonardo Rosero. YUM!
Giv also has a cafe of their own right in Canton. Check them out for a cup of cold brew, a luxurious latte, or a fresh brew at
194 Albany Turnpike, Canton, CT.
For continued reading, check out their list of the top coffee spots in Connecticut, published this past week on Sprudge. Did your favorite make the list? Comment below with your favorite coffee spots in the state.
The Claypen's mission is to remain focused on sustainability and make purposeful business decisions to be more green-friendly and leave less of an impact on our Earth.
By: Danielle Kearns
Sustainability matters. We are all a part of this great big world, that is crazy and irresponsible at times, but it is our responsibility to be a part of the movement for a better future. We hold this as one of our main intentions as a small business and try and promote that amongst our customers whenever possible. Here are some of the little ways we do our part:
reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose
It's the slogan we grew up with, just kicked up a notch. We get a ton of boxes delivered to our space on a pretty regular basis. We hit all the R's when it comes to our big shipments. We make sure to use these boxes for all sorts of things. We wrap our parties in them. We organize inventory in them. We use them as splatter guards with art projects. And we even give them away! That's right.
We started an initiative about 2 months ago where local community neighbors can call us up and pick up our large packing boxes for their own at-home needs. We have helped a few dozen residents in this mission, most of whom needed boxes and packing material for a future move. And we gave them out for free. Our little way of helping the community. Any of the boxes we can't get use out of get fully collapsed and recycled in our cardboard specific dumpster. Those are boxes that are less sturdy, possibly ripped, or have run their course.
We are a BYOB PYOP studio, which often means people bring DRINKS. We always encourage our customers to leave their cups, bottles, and cans right at the table for us to take care of clean up. We rinse and recycle ALL of these items. From Solo cups, to Starbucks cups, and even straws. (You might even find a staff member or two cutting these straws up to avoid their impact on our water system and aquatic friends.) We completely wash out and recycle all of our our paint bottles as well.
We receive shipments from distributors around the country. We make use of everything they use in their deliveries to the best of our abilities. We donate a lot of our bubble wrap and packing peanuts to locals in the area who need it for personal needs. We reuse a good amount for our own shipments since we offer delivery of completed pottery for non-locals. When we have an overflow of these materials, we actually physically return them -- by the garbage bag full -- to FedEx, UPS, and USPS.
People will often ask us if we have water bottles for purchase in our studio. Nearly 90% of our staff use reusable water bottles from their own home which can be cleaned and refilled as needed straight from the tap.
In our efforts to keep people hydrated while still staying green, we have partnered with Hosmer Mountain Beverages, which will soon be carried in our studio. Their sustainability mission is something to be admired and replicated. They have stuck with glass bottle production for over 100 years. All of their bottles can be returned to one of their centers (or picked up if you sign up for their delivery service) for sanitation and then reused for future use. You can read more about Hosmer in our previous blog.
Water conservation also comes in the form of washing dishes. Art can be a messy medium. We go through many palettes and brushes a day that all need to be washed to maintain their longevity, integrity, and continual use. We have basins filled with water to allow brushes to soak before washing and lay our palettes across the sink floor so every hand wash prior will begin the cleaning process for us and reduce our use of water later.
The pottery itself is a means for sustainability. If you're going through one paper cup a day for your coffee (or, ugh, maybe even styrofoam), you can make travel tumbler for your every day needs. Our mugs, cups, bowls, and plates are microwaveable, washable... and thus, SUSTAINABLE!
We are no experts on this cause, but we are hoping to help encourage you to think twice about your recycling decisions. Leave a comment below about how we can best move forward in our recycling efforts or what's worked for you!
Your top life moments that should be marked, celebrated, and remembered with hand-crafted keepsakes.
By: Danielle Kearns
For over 20 years, we have been a art studio that gives folks a space to relax, embrace their creativity, de-stress, and host parties and events. (We definitely host our fair share of birthday parties, showers, reunions, staff outings, and classes.) But we'd love to remind you of some of our most popular specialty items that can be created with the talent of our custom artists. Many of these suggestions are items that came to pass naturally with customer requests over the years, and we'd like to share them with you for an added bit of inspiration.
Here are our top milestones that can be marked with a keepsake made at the claypen:
We actually covered this exact topic in a previous blog post, which I'd like to link here. You can take this particular milestone moment in a lot of different directions, including gifts, guest books, artistic invitations, or photo frames.
For many families, the adoption process is a long, tedious, and necessary cycle, but with the ultimate reward of a completed, blended family. After making things official in court, families have come to the claypen (or taken a home-kit with them) to mark the occasion. Hand-prints are usually the most meaningful because they will show the passing of time in the future and bring you back to that moment when your child officially became yours.
After years of hard work, the end is near and your accomplishments should be recognized. These days have shaped you. Create an item to mark the occasion and remember all you've worked for. These also make the perfect gift!
We love our pets like the fur babies they are. We are a pet-friendly space and have done many a pup print over the years. We have had past customers come in with their brand new family member and even the day they had to say goodbye. We are always looking for an excuse to have a studio dog.
As difficult as it is, many people will experience cancer either personally or through the experience of a loved one. The day you're a told you're "cancer free" is truly a milestone and a day to be celebrated and remembered. For others, the cancerversary might be the last day of treatment... or maybe even the day of diagnosis. Whatever it might be for you, a cancerversary is usually celebrated yearly to recognize another day, week, month, or year of life. Five years is the mile marker for a (hopefully) future cancer-free as the statistic of reoccurrence decreases significantly. Celebrate this. Remember the fight. Recognize how far you've come.
don't forget our teachers!
Say thank you this school year to your child's teacher, librarian, bus driver, coach, tutor, babysitter, or teacher's aide. There are so many people that help to shape our child's self that it is important to let them know we appreciate their time and effort.
For more ideas, check out our Pinterest page.
Danielle is a CT native, She started at the claypen in 2018 as a Studio Associate and quickly became a Team Lead and our resident blogger on staff. Her previous experience includes teaching, writing, and photography. You can find her on Instagram and LinkedIn or reach out with questions via email.