By: Danielle Kearns
We were proud to be donors for this year's Cruisin' on Main Street - an annual event that brings Manchester together for the combined love of cars and community. We were thrilled to be a part of this event and get to meet some of you in person to chat about our upcoming recent announcement about The Firestone opening this Fall.
It is one of the oldest car shows of its kind in the Northeast, which has drawn in over 400,000 spectators since 2001. Our table highlighted some of our art mediums that will be available on a walk-in basis with the classic Cruisin' logo. Attendees were invited to come up and ask about our new space and enter to win one of these awesome pieces of art.
Congrats to our raffle winners!!!
Fused Glass - Megan Gagnon
Ceramic Platter - Alan Bieber
Cruisin' Linoleum Stamp - Steve Bradley
Wood Sign - Linda Zimmerman
Canvas Painting - Tricia Enderli
Unique, custom-carved pumpkins available now.
By: Danielle Kearns
Grab your broom sticks, witches, we're going shopping! It's about to be pumpkin season, and although we love summer and wish it could last forever, the beauty of Connecticut's ever-changing seasons will be here before you know it.
We absolutely LOVE these darling custom jack o'lanterns, perfect from the front stoop, your mantel, a child's nightlight, or a little kitchen ambiance.
These just went live on our website today and have been so popular in years past. They will be available for this discounted price up until September 1st, so put your order in ASAP.
Jack o'lanterns will be delivered to the studio in October with your desired custom name or saying already carved into the bisque piece. Then, all you have to do is come in any time that works for you to come paint it. Studio time will be included in your purchase.
Each small -- small or large -- each come with light kits, which will help give that perfect glow from within. Pieces will take a week to get back once painted, so get in early to paint them so they can be set up in time for Halloween. (How cute would it be to make a family set, by the way?)
And stay tuned! If you love the pumpkins, we will be offering pre-orders for custom snowmen in the coming weeks, perfect for all the winter months.
Click the links above to start shopping now.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org about dimensions.
Character limits differ depending on pumpkin size.
All custom orders must be placed by September 10th.
Sales price only applicable for orders placed by September 1st.
Pumpkins will be available for painting week of October 14th.
By: Danielle Kearns
Try something new the next time you're at The Claypen. Bottle slumping is a creative way to repurpose and recycle something to become functional and beautiful home decor. And, if the bottle is painted, the artwork will remain on the piece, like the sample above. How gorgeous is that? All you have to do is drop the bottle off.
Here are the requirements before you do:
- bottle must be completely clean of labels/paper
- bottle must be completely dry
That's it! Seriously. The kiln will do the rest of the work. We can melt the bottle down flat or arrange it on a mold to create a shape.
Here are some bottle options to try out:
- wine bottle
- champagne bottle
- vodka bottles (think Grey Goose or Absolut)
- whiskey/bourbon bottle
- glass milk jug
- beer bottle (bomber bottles are perfect)
Some uses for your slumped bottle:
- candle holder
- spoon rest
- wall hanging/sun catcher
- appetizer/snack dish
Note: Glass has a 2 week turn around
Check out this informative video from another studio to get a better sense of how bottle slumping works. Love the awesome molds they're using.
And be sure to drop a comment below if you have any questions about glass bottle slumping or any of our other glass fusing options.
Who We Are
We are proud to announce our, sister location to The Claypen, West Hartford family: The Firestone | art studio + café, which will be located in Manchester, CT.
The Claypen has been a fixture of West Hartford Center for over 20 years. With many customers coming from east of the river, we’ve had requests to have an option closer to home as well as a business need for a larger space to accommodate parties and events. We have been working behind the scenes for quite some time to find the perfect location to meet all these needs and are ready to make the official announcement.
The Firestone | Art Studio + Café will open Fall 2019. We will be located right on Main Street in Manchester, CT, an area that is dedicated to growth and development and keeping its community at the focus. 1115 Main Street has a long history in the Manchester community and we’d like to respect and honor that. Pinewood Furniture was run and operated by the Ed Firestone, who has been a fixture on Main Street for over 24 years. Ed Firestone worked with us closely to make this exchange go as smoothly as possible and is onto his well-deserved retirement. We appreciate all of his cooperation on this journey and are excited to mirror his commitment to Manchester and the community.
What We Offer
The art studio at The Firestone will offer DIY projects, available on a walk-in basis as well as a variety of events. Our studio will be open 9am-9pm daily. During our open studio hours, you can create your own project, such as:
We will continue to offer workshops in both locations. The Firestone will utilize our party/meeting space to offer additional classes and educational opportunities. This party space will also be available for private parties, team building events and more.
In addition to the DIY arts, we will also have a café on site! Our emphasis in the café will be good food, sourced locally. We are proud to be teaming up with CT based vendors to provide our ingredients and beverage options, including:
Manchester, CT -- especially the downtown area -- is a thriving area for small businesses. We are fond of their atmosphere, proximity to other small businesses, its active community, and its plans for development and growth. It’s no surprise that Manchester has been voted Money Magazine’s #1 Place to live in Connecticut 2018! We have had requests for years to have something on the other side of the river available for customers who were often making the trek out to see us with small children and wanted to have something more convenient to them. Manchester is that perfect location.
Manchester is committed to long term growth. Their newest initiative, Downtown 2020 , exemplifies this commitment. We are proud to say The Firestone will be the first project to receive funds from the Manchester Downtown Investment Fund Loan Program. The Town’s Board of Directors established the program earlier this year to promote economic development by partnering with property owners to address contemporary code and access requirements that may serve as financial barriers for transformative property development projects.
Want to stay up to date with The Firestone project?
Connect with us on
We know you have questions! Please leave your questions + comments below for us to get you ready for this exciting new venture and your new favorite spot!
By: Danielle Kearns
The summer is flashing by! Let's talk about my favorite items to paint this summer, which are exclusive to our summer shelves. Paint them before they're gone.
1. ice cream cone bowl + pint mug
Who doesn't need more ways to enjoy their summer ice cream? These are my two current favorites. The first is our ice cream cone bowl. The second, a pint mug, which is the perfect size to fit your favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry's ice cream to enjoy in the comfort of your home air conditioning and reduce the mess.
2. rope bowl
We LOVE these nautical rope bowls, new these year. They make a wonderful center piece for your summer table or can be used to plant flowers or simply hold your keys. They are the perfect "catch all."
3. lighthouse lantern
An iconic image for Connecticut and all of our favorite beach towns. Put in a tea light candle to illuminate this lantern from within. I have one on my mantel, but it's perfect for the front porch with a citronella candle.
4. sea shell hanging lantern
Put these all around your outdoor summer table to give the perfect ambiance to your evening at the beach house. These can be hung around the garden to create an enchanted atmosphere.
5. beach pails
We love these for flower pots, but they're also perfect to play in the kiddie pool or bring to the beach with you. Check out the sample below painted with our specialty glaze, perfectly named "Mermaid Scales."
Missing a seasonal favorite? Comment below with your suggestions and questions. We'll let you know if we have them in!
Photos provided by Gare, Inc.
Earn rewards all summer long with new claypen BINGO + our summer scavenger hunt.
By: Danielle Kearns
Get your inner child ready for some summer fun. The claypen will be offering several interactive games this summer to keep you (and the kids) coming back for more and earning extra rewards with us.
First up, claypen BINGO! Running until September 15th, we are hoping to inspire you to create and try new things around our studio. Check out our technique cards, polka dot your piece, try a special pottery glaze, and more. You can earn up to 3 stamps per visit, all working towards your ultimate goal -- a BINGO! Earn coupons, merchandise, or free studio time with your win. The more you try, the more you earn! Each member of the family will get their own playing card. Don't forget to bring it with you each visit to earn your stamp. See the photos below to get a glimpse of the playing card. Cards can be picked up at the front desk of the studio.
Summer Scavenger Hunt
But don't leave our gnome friends out of this. We will be hiding our gnomes every Monday throughout West Hartford Center in our Summer Scavenger Hunt. Your job is to find them and bring them back to the studio to earn prizes. The hiding spots will become progressively harder throughout the summer, so the rewards will increase week to week! You must return the gnome in order to receive your prize. Clues will be provided every Monday via Instagram + Facebook, so be sure to Like + Follow us to increase your chances of winning. Don't forget to watch our stories for even more info and secret hints.
People have absolutely been loving these gnomes, by the way. We have this design, plus several more options, available to paint at the studio. (Check out the photos below.) These are the perfect addition to any garden, so come on in and make one for your home. It might even earn you a BINGO.
Get a great deal on all your holiday decorations in July, before the crowds, and at a great rate!
By: Danielle Kearns
We are THRILLED to announce our Christmas in July event is only a week away. Come visit us to spread the cheer and get your Christmas prep done early. We will be providing light snacks and Christmas music galore.
All items come with a light kit, which will warm your spirit and your home. Choose from a cactus tree, vintage ceramic tree, or pick-up truck with tree. (The cactus tree is brand NEW this year, so if you've done one of our tree workshops before, this has never been available.) The other items are our best sellers and have SOLD OUT in the past. By signing up for this event, you will not only be ensuring your item, but getting it a discounted pre-season rate. Once these workshops come back in the Fall, prices will be increased due to the seasonal rush and needs of our studio.
You will have access to our specialty glazes, which provide the most awesome finish and color variance to your piece. Check out the photos below to see how our trees transformed last year and why we had over 100 trees created with us.
There will be more tree workshops to come in the Fall, so if you can't make this one or it sells out, stay tuned for upcoming dates. Join our email list to be the first to know about specials before they go live on social.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.