Annual Ceramic Art Studio Convention took place in Buffalo, New York this week with over 300 members participating in professional development classes and enrichment.
By: Danielle Kearns
Hello from Buffalo, New York! I am currently writing this between classes, trying to figure out what and when lunch is today, and grabbing my laptop for my business class later. I am overstimulated, under-caffeinated, and absolutely loving every minute of it. And I'm the newest of the new kids on the block here this weekend.
Not only is this my first ever Convention, but I still haven't had my first birthday in the "paint your own pottery" world yet! But that doesn't mean I'm not soaking everything here up with a synthetic pottery sponge.
Let's just say, we are fired up as a staff -- and not just because kilns are a main topic of conversation around here. Did you know that paint your own pottery (PYOP) studios are most often a part of the CCSA - the Contemporary Ceramic Studio Association. They are responsible for much of the professional development in our industry and provide a wealth of knowledge and materials to set each of our studios up for success. This year, the national Convention is being held for one week in Buffalo, and a few of us staff members are currently in the thick of it! This weekend is FILLED with classes, tutorials, trainings, product debuts, paint demonstrations, mentorship -- and our favorite -- a SNEAK PEAK of so many NEW bisque pottery options.
As a first time attendee, this has been an overwhelming but thrilling experience for me. Never have I ever been in one place with so many PYOP enthusiasts who have the same small business mindset and dedication to the arts as we have. Classes are offered daily, covering all the heavy hitting topics: ordering, hiring, human resources, marketing, techniques, planning, finances, and of course, general art tricks and tips. Since four of us went this year, a record for The Claypen, we were really able to spread out and hit as many of these classes as possible, gaining a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for the future at both The Claypen and The Firestone.
We hope that you have been following along with us on social media. If you have any questions about the benefits of being a CCSA member, feel free to comment below.
Join the organization
Contemporary Ceramic Studios Association
Great for FAQs + finding a studio near you
Paint Your Own Pottery
A big thank you to all the sponsors + contributors that made this weekend so special, especially:
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
Catered Claypen is one of the best ways to get your team assembled, motivated, and inspired. It's also just plain FUN! Our current studio space can accommodate a group of 6-30 people for an on-site field trip, with all materials and pottery available for you to choose in house. But if you're interested in having a larger (or even more private) gathering, we can come right to you. We offer corporate events in your office conference room, perfect for team building and creative inspiration.
When booking your event, you'll let us know what exactly it is you want to do -- from pottery, acrylics, canvas, to board art. We pack it all up, take care of set up and clean up, and will package all of your items as a group if it requires firing with a one week turn around time. It is a creative space, which undoubtedly allows staff to unwind, chat, get to no one another, and maybe even reveal a hidden talent.
Our most popular catered claypen is probably our dinnerware package. You choose from a 12oz mug, bowl, or plate to paint. Each person can choose what they want or would get the most use out of.
Thinking about booking an in studio party? Email email@example.com or just call the studio! For private events or a Catered Claypen, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCSA Highlights 10 Reasons Why A Paint-Your-Own Pottery (PYOP) Studio Is Perfect For Off-Site Field Trips And On-Site Events
Discusses the benefits of an art-based team building event brought to you by the CCSA, the Contemporary Ceramic Studios Association.
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. She now manages The Firestone, our sister studio in Manchester.