When it comes to connecting with your artistic side, sometimes all that’s needed is a little guidance to get those creative juices flowing.
That’s the concept behind do-it-yourself pottery emporium All Fired Up.
Still at its colourful and inviting premises in the Shoppes of Grand Harbour, since 1 July the studio has been under the guidance of former manager and new owner Liz Whitelock.
The studio’s premise is simple. From the hundreds that line the walls, you choose a ceramic object of your liking, decide on a pattern and colours, find a table, and get to work. Once your creation is done, it’s All Fired Up’s turn to work its magic.
The fire in the studio’s name, of course, refers to the kiln your creation will find its way into once the artistry is complete.
Even the most untalented can harness an inner van Gough with the assistance of some handy stencils, tracing patterns, and stamps that recall those easy-peasy colouring book days. A level of artistry, one hopes, even the most ham-fisted will be able to master.
Of course, the more gifted among us also have the luxury of designing their piece in any way they please and the objects scattered about attest that there are definitely a few talented folks in Cayman.
The airy studio is chock a block with pottery of all sorts just waiting to be painted and fired. Whether it’s a decorative piece you’re looking to make, or something a bit more practical, you’ll surely find what you’re looking for.
Some cool creations you might consider include decorative platters, brightly coloured piggy banks, stylish pet bowls, or cute critters to hang on the wall.
There’s even a seasonal section where clients can create personalised Christmas ornaments and decorations as well as Halloween-themed gismos.
The whole process takes about a week, as after the pottery piece is painted, it must dry, then Liz will dip it into a glaze mixture to give it that nice shiny look.
After the glaze has set, the piece is then placed into the kiln where, over two days the heat will reach 1828 degrees Fahrenheit and the item will be transformed into a durable ceramic artwork.
But the studio is not just about traditional pottery. With a range of wooden forms also on hand, budding artisans can also create eye-catching mosaics from colourful glass fragments.
‘A lot of people tell me they enjoy coming here as it is very relaxing and peaceful,’ says Liz. ‘They use it as a kind of therapy to just put their minds at ease.’
That’s certainly the case, as the concentration required to render your personal masterpiece is certainly enough to banish, at least temporarily, stressful thoughts to the far reaches of your mind.
Now open until 8pm on weekdays, it’s a fun place to get together with friends and unwind, and Liz says group bookings are welcomed.
And for kids, as is well documented, engaging in the arts is a great way to stimulate and focus their creativity in a world of video games and television.
Not surprisingly, on a recent visit the studio was buzzing with youngsters working on all sorts of creations.
Parents will be pleased to know the studio is through 3 August and two more in that last two weeks of August for kids aged eight to 12 who would like to spend more time honing their skills.
So whether you’re looking for a new way to express yourself, or a rainy-day alternative to renting a video, or are just curious about something you haven’t done before, it’s definitely worth making the trip to All Fired Up.