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?
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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 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.