By: Danielle Kearns
Can you tell we love beer? The whole point of art is to have another method of relaxation in this crazy world of ours. Beer just takes that to the next level. I've mad it a habit over the years to try as many craft breweries around Connecticut as I can get to. Most recently, I visited Labyrinth Brewery in Manchester. It was an otherwise quiet Thursday night, but you wouldn't have been able to tell that sitting at the bar. The place was packed from wall to wall with all different walks of life enjoying a pint, or a mug club, beer after work. The energy was both relaxed and energetic, a perfect synergy for the post-work crowd. The bar itself was dimly lit with their gothic lighting and decor. Dragons perched on the sides of taps while candles and lanterns alike flickered in the room.
I am a particular fan of sours, so I especially loved their pink guava... enough to have two. But the tap list has a little bit for every palette.
While sitting there, I couldn't help but notice just how historic and beautiful the architecture of the place really was. Labyrinth was started up by 3 friends in 2017, one of whom happened to be there that night and gave me a little insight. The building that makes up the taproom, production facility, and art gallery is over 135 years old. Manchester used to be known as a "mill town," so this building has been through it. When established, Chris, Sean, and Adam decided to keep the building as intact as they could and utilize the elements on the property itself. Trees had to be cut down in order to make parking spots, so they used those trees to make the bar, by hand, that spans the length of the facility. The space is beautiful and creates a warm and inviting atmosphere you should be sure to visit.
We are proud to call Labyrinth Brewing Company one of our new partners in collaboration.
save the date for our in studio tasting : june 14th
preregistration is required for this event
must be 21+
By: Danielle Kearns
It's May, summer is just around the corner (we hope!), which can only mean one thing... it's wedding season! Once you're in my age bracket, it seems like it's standard to have five weddings a year. (Sometimes I even do.) Registries are more and more the "standard" when it comes to showers and bridal party gifts, but why not take it up a notch and have something made with us for a truly personalized touch.
We have very talented artists on staff who can make a gorgeous gift unique to your favorite couple. These pieces can be functional in someone's house, but they can also just be show stoppers for presentation and household decor. Here are a few of our favorite ideas for wedding gifts:
1. the wedding invitation
My favorite version of this over the top thoughtful gift is replicating the wedding invitation itself. If the happy couple spent weeks mulling over which floral decor and color palette they were most into, then you have an example of their taste and style right there. Most people now frame their wedding invitation or slap it in a photo album, but a round presentation platter with a stand that can be placed in a hutch, on a fireplace, or a built-in that is a direct replica of the invitation itself is an above and beyond gift. Not to mention, it's a huge conversation starter! People will be begging to know where and how you got it done.
2. the guestbook
If you're short on time or trying to stay on budget, you can pick a large platter with us that can have the couple's names and wedding date painted on. We will fire it here and have it ready in one week's time. (We can wrap it in a beautiful box too.) You can purchase a porcelain pen with us that can be used for guests to sign upon arrival to the nuptials. To make those signatures permanent, you just re-bake the dish at home in your own oven. Pair it with a plate stand and you've got the ultimate wedding keepsake.
3. their house, home, + heart
Our custom artists are amaaaaazing. No, really. We have a few samples around the studio of house front paintings. They are gorgeous painted representations of people's homes from the curbside perspective. They are such a lovely touch for any couple's "first home," or a keepsake after a major move to remember their roots. They are vibrant, warm, and stunning.
4. photo frame
Really simple one here. You can have the artists add the names and wedding date to any frame to make it customizable. Perfect for your favorite picture from the big day. This is a great idea for those who couldn't be in attendance or a gift sent in the mail upon their one month anniversary to say "We're still thinking and celebrating you!" ... and yes, we ship!
5. monogrammed dinnerware set
Forget the "Mrs. & Mrs." mugs. (Hello, people, that's not every couple's makeup. Get with the program.) Add a calligraphy-style brush letter monogram to any mug, bowl, or plate. Start with a mug for that morning cup of coffee, or bump up the personalization game and make it a set! Get a mug, bowl, and plate for a table of four to really push it over the edge. (You can even add a Christmas ornament to match!)
May we also suggest the claypen as a stop during your next bachelorette party. We are the perfect place to start popping bottles, loosen up, get silly, and travel onto dinner. We have a relaxed and fun vibe that can help to get the party started!
By: Danielle Kearns
Somehow, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Don’t ask me how or when, because I honestly feel like the trick-or-treaters were at my door just yesterday. The turkey and stuffing leftovers are long past gone. I have mourned a thousand deaths after putting all of my Christmas decorations away, and here we are. My only saving grace after each holiday ends is focusing on the next one. If you read my last post, you would know I don’t consider the “big game” a personal sacrificial holiday, so I am moving onto the next big thing.
I get it… it’s a “commercial” holiday that most people would rather skip over or make way too big of a deal over. I sit comfortably in the middle of these two forms of thought. Do I demand a bouquet of roses before I’m even out of bed in the morning on February 14th? No, but I’ve never had a V-Day where my honey didn’t get them for me, so I consider myself lucky. Do I need reservations at the fanciest restaurant this side of West Hartford? No, but I like food the other 364 days of the year, so I wouldn’t mind eating some yummy delights, indulging in some extra carbs, and toasting with some bubbly… but again, that’s pretty much me on a year-round basis. Valentine’s Day can be whatever you and your other half want it to be and make it to be. In my nearly six year relationship with my man, we’ve had all the versions of the holiday you might expect and, for that matter, never expect.
Our first Valentine’s Day we shared together, I had the stomach bug. And not just your normal, 24-hour thing. I had this demon from Hell for 10 solid days. It was not glamorous. It was not fun. There was nothing dreamy about it, but we did spend some romantic nights on the couch catching up on TV and nursing some Gatorade instead of my champagne. We’ve gone for a paint night and painted opposite sides of a common canvas. It was cute, I got drunk, and his came out ten times better than mine… which happens all too often when we do anything artistic. (Don’t even get me started on how he can decorate a Rice Krispy treat like a work of art. It is insanely frustrated as a natural competitor, individual who works at an art studio, and a prior teacher.) Anyway… back to my point. I’ve had friends who could care less about the “holiday” and would be confused if their partner showed up with a card. No matter your opinion on the day, I’d like to give some suggestions on how you can spend it here at the claypen and some of the options for all the folks out there -- taken, single, or apathetic.
Here’s what’s happening this month for Valentine’s Day:
sunday, february 3rd mommy + me “my little valentine”
friday, february 8th kids: craft LOVE party
saturday, february 9th daddy breakfast date
sunday, february 10th kids: best friends painting party
wednesday, february 13th mommy + me “my little monster”
thursday, february 14th date night (*2 separate sessions)
friday, february 15th gal-entine’s day party
sunday, february 17th state love board art
wednesday, february 20th kids: yard bird
saturday, february 23rd magic mike adult only night
thursday, february 28th “just my type” platter
As always, sign up for any of our classes online to reserve your spot. We are constantly updating our events on Facebook + Instagram, so follow us out there to keep an eye out for availability.
Is your gift for your loved one a surprise? Items should be painted by Thursday, February 7th for a Valentine’s Day pick-up. Have your item hidden here until you need it. Last minute shopping? Items can be rushed for an additional fee. Happy Valentine's Day, friends!
Hi! I'm the resident blogger here at the claypen. Let's create something special, unique, and creative together full of love + heART. ♥ Dani