By: Danielle Kearns
Have you ever seen one of those plaques that says, "I'm outdoorsy, I drink wine on the porch!"? Yeah, that's me in a nutshell. One of my best friends got one just like it for me when we first moved into our house, which happens to have a stellar front porch, and it totally summed me up in a nutshell. It also might be the main thing we do on said front porch.
I don't like being frozen to the bone. I can't stand being overheated. I don't like camping, bugs, porter-potties, humidity, or sneakers for that matter. But I do like hanging on the porch with a glass of something irresistible in my hand. Coffee, hot cocoa, beer, wine? I'll take it! That is about as outdoorsy as I get... and I'm okay with that!
I am all about relaxation. I am an introverted soul with extroverted tendencies. I can be sociable, talkative, and out-spoken, but the rest of the time, you'd be hard pressed to get me out of the house. I love things that I can surround myself with for extra comfort and cute decor. I didn't feel settled into my house until all of the boxes were unpacked, the frames hung, and the chotskies out.
That's why, when I look at the shelves at the claypen, I'm instantly inspired by the "cuteness" of everything. It's like walking through your favorite home decor shop... EXCEPT you can make and create the vision yourself. Trends are always changing, but you will always need kitchenware to stay functional in your day-to-day life. No one can have enough mugs... am I right? I probably have over 50 in my house alone, and yet, the first thing I painted at the claypen was a darn pumpkin mug. And I'm not apologizing for it. I think that mug is so stinkin' cute, and I'll probably paint a wine glass tumbler next time, as if I don't have enough of those in my house already!
So many people walk through our doors, unsure of what to paint -- and to that, I'd recommend something that makes you and your home feel good. Something that is both practical, aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and that makes you happy when you look at it. Remember Marie Kondo's words of wisdom here -- JOY. If it doesn't bring you joy to look at, or you don't think it will last more than a year in your house, then don't paint it. Think of something that is useful, decorative, unique, and practical.
One of the fastest ways to create a warm and welcoming home is lighting. Soft lighting with candles will warm your house and your soul right up. I must say, I have at least one candle in every room of my house. We have several options for lantern and votives right here in the studio for you to paint and customize to your taste. I just painted a tin can heart votive, which is proudly sitting on my mantel exuding a warm and fuzzy light.
That is a similar tone and atmosphere that we're hoping you feel while you're with us at the claypen. We try to be kind, warm, and inviting and allow people to unwind, relax, and enjoy themselves in their own way. Come as you are and paint your troubles away. Only happy campers here... this one just doesn't do much camping.
By: Danielle Kearns
I solemnly swear that I’m a grown human with a major thing for Harry Potter, and there is no shame in my game, so don't try and Horcrux this up for me! No lie, I once spent over six hours at the Warner Bros. Studio Lot in London touring the real sets and original costumes from the films, so yeah, I’m sort of qualified to speak on this front. Harry is where it’s at. My generation grew up with the Hogwartians (is that a word?) and considered Harry, Ron, and Hermione as our own, personal friends. I am a Gryffindor, through and through, and I just need to share with you our newest claypen additions that I’m so psyched out of my mind about -- HARRY POTTER SILK SCREENS! This might be the best thing we've offered yet, in my nerdy opinion.
Think of a silkscreen like the ultimate adult stencil. It’s made out of a super thin material with microscopic holes that allow paint through, but just enough for fine-detail work. You just use your fingertip to apply, peel the screen off, and you've got a pretty magical finished project that looks just like the real thing. This is the first time we've ever offered anything Harry Potter related, and we're super excited to see all of the majesty as each item comes out of the kiln. Choose whatever piece of pottery you'd like to paint that night and apply one of your favorite Harry Potter themed images and symbols faster than you can say Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans.
Here's a list of some of our available silkscreen options:
Can you wear costumes? We hope you do!
Can you bring food or drinks? You better.
Will you be tested on your Harry Potter knowledge? You bet. We will be featuring some Harry Potter trivia throughout the night for some extra fun. Get ready for it! We hope to see you there.
save the date: saturday, march 2nd
sign up on our events page
See you there, witches.
(Muggles welcome too.)
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!
By: Danielle Kearns
Maybe you’re a diehard fan counting down the days until the Patriots and Rams hit the field for an epic smackdown. Maybe this is your version of Christmas and there’s nothing else you can think about until kickoff that even the pre-show gives you the chills. Maybe you’ve got money riding on this thing and your “boxes” or whatever they’re called are chosen with care. Or maybe you’re more like me and you’re more excited about the food and the half-time show than the pigskin. Either way, we’ve got tips to make your party happen with ease so you can enjoy the highlight reel of the Big Game in your very own home and keep the party going for long after.
So let’s refocus this thing to what I consider the ultimate fixture for so many of us that day -- FOOD. It’s been a “classic” for years to have your basic chips and dip at any gathering with four people or more (I mean, you’ve gotta love anything that comes in a jar), but let’s take a second to talk about the craze that is currently avocados. You’ve gotta have guac at an event. And if I’m hosting, I’m never not serving a buffalo chicken dip or chili dip when guests are over, but you’ve gotta consider presentation at any shindig you’re throwing. Not only does it impress your guests, but it makes you as the host feel that much more put together. As someone in their late 20s, the terms “adulting” has really been hitting home for me recently as I’ve been furnishing my own home and embracing my inner Host Hat. Cheese and pepperoni on a paper plate with plastic knives is a little too college dorm room for me to get away with these days. Nothing feels more badass than pulling out an actual cheese board or your designated chips and dip tray. We have two sizes to choose from here that you can paint to match your home decor. Paint it to match your personal taste and have it year-round. Use it for afternoon snack time with veggies and Ranch or hummus. Throw some ketchup or honey mustard (or combine them if you’re feeling extra saucy, pun intended) in the center and use it for chicken nuggets. The idea is to multi-purpose the items you have in your house, especially those in the kitchen, to get the most out of things that are taking up space in your environment. Embrace your inner Marie Kondo and make sure what you’ve got filling your cupboards has a place and a specific purpose Intention is key. And get creative with it. Ever heard of the price-per-wear rule? It’s even better when it’s something that’s going to get constant use in your kitchen for appetizers, hosting, parties, and card nights.
Having kids to your viewing party? Keep them occupied in the best way possible. Paint your own football player, helmet, or football bank. Keep it on trend and stray from the norm. Rent a Party Pail from us and keep the kids occupied and multi-tasking. Have a competitive streak? Paint your own Fantasy Football trophy that can be passed around from year to year to the champion of your group. No matter what you choose -- have fun, stay safe, and enjoy yourself.
mark your calendars: game day is sunday, february 3rd.
paint by sunday, january 27th for guaranteed pick-up to have your pieces back in time for hosting. We also offer rushed delivery.
By: Danielle Kearns
Hi there and welcome to the claypen! I am the new resident blogger on staff, Danielle K. (there's two of us here), and I double as a Studio Associate here. You can feel free to call me Dani as we are soon to be fast, creative friends. You may have seen me around over the past few months here as I’ve been settling in and learning the ins and outs of the claypen, and so far, I’m absolutely loving it. (I mean, who doesn’t love an excuse to roll their sleeves up and get creative, especially at your job.) I’ve been listening to the feedback from our customers and have heard a desire for more information, inspiration, and artistic resources.
So often, we direct our customers to Pinterest or Google for their planning, but instead, we’d love to direct you to things we’ve made ourselves in house. These will include achievable projects where we have all of the resources and materials readily available in our studio to help guide you through the process. This is our newest platform for party planning ideas, a GNO (girls night out), date night advice, and achievable artist tips -- not to mention sneak peaks on upcoming events and workshops. We’ve seen so many amazing things come from the minds of our customers, and we’d love to share more of that magic publicly. I’m here to give you a little bit of all of the things, but I figured a solid starting point would be just a little background on our studio as some people have been routine customers and some have just discovered us for the first time -- and let me tell you, there’s a lot that the claypen has to offer you as an aspiring artist and neighborhood friend.
The claypen has been a fixture of West Hartford Center for over 20 years. We are conveniently located right on Farmington Avenue with easy access from our nearby parking lots (and even some street parking if you’re lucky). We started primarily as a “paint your own pottery” studio, but over the years and through the evolution of new ownership, the studio has transformed into an artist’s studio, dabbling in other mediums and holding workshops for other art forms, as well as hosting exhibitions for local artists. We’ve covered a little bit of everything, but our main hope is just to expose you to something new that might bring you peace, enjoyment, fulfillment, and inspire creativity and relaxation. Zen is the ultimate end game here.
Our current focus is to reach a whole new audience of creative souls and hear from our community -- YOU! We are a small but mighty business that attempts to meet the needs of our customers and keep things fun, artsy, and relaxing at all times. We encourage creativity, individuality, and playfulness. We are an all inclusive studio with a relaxed atmosphere and fun-loving staff. What we hear most often is that people come here for their weekly rehab and art therapy. A moment to catch your breath, calm your mind, and enjoy some quiet time. The importance of those little moments can never be understated or underestimated.
So, let’s get it done and create something special together -- just remember, give it your all and give it your heART!
Please tag us on Facebook or Instagram! #madeitattheclaypen #theclaypenwesthartford #theclaypen #workofheart
Hi! I'm the resident blogger here at the claypen. Let's create something special, unique, and creative together full of love + heART. ♥ Dani