Hi everyone! It feels like it’s been a while since we last ‘chatted’ – so many changes! My oldest daughter headed to kindergarten and my baby started preschool, so I actually have two whole hours to myself, two times a week! Exciting times. 😉 Seriously, though – I do feel like we’ve gone through some rite of passage and I’m reminded once again just how quickly time passes. Don’t you wish there was a ‘pause’ button we could push? (Oh yea – and a fast forward button for those particularly whiny days? I could really use one of those too).
Now that it’s just my little Emme and I, I find myself looking for activities to occupy our time – because…well…staying in the house (though I have loads of things I should be doing there) sort of drives me crazy! We hit up the usual suspects – playgrounds, library, bouncy places and Barnes & Noble – time and time again, so it was a welcome surprise when I got an email in my inbox from Amazing Glaze about a Mom & Me event they were having. Knowing that we were in need of a change – and that this would make for an awesome blog post! – Lindsay and I packed up our littles and took them to check it out.
Amazing Glaze is a paint-your-own pottery store that’s located in the Festival at Bel Air. (Sidenote: For those out-of-towners – it’s not a REAL ‘festival’…just a shopping center. I learned this the hard way when we first moved here. I asked for directions and someone told me that the store I was looking for was right by the Festival…so I drove up and down Rt. 24 looking for a big ol’ Ferris Wheel. Oops.) Walk into this immaculate space and you’ll simultaneously be in awe of the gorgeous artwork that’s all around you, while having the intense desire to restrain your child so he/she doesn’t break anything! But even though the surroundings seem fragile, you really couldn’t find a more kid-friendly place. So many pieces are geared towards kiddos (race cars, peace signs and flowers galore!) and the staff is patient and calm – just what you need when you have a wild three-year-old at your side.
The concept is quite simple: come in and choose a piece to paint. You pay a studio fee that is determined by the amount of time you spend there, and you also pay for the piece you’re going to work on. A huge variety of colors are available to choose from, and you can create anything from a coffee mug to a picture frame to a ceramic hairbrush! The paint options are endless (with cute names like Bubblegum and Lemongrass) and you can use as many or as little as you’d like. Keep in mind that the colors you see while you paint are a much duller version of what they’ll look like when they’re all finished – and that the more coats you put on your piece, the bolder the color will be. When you’re finished, you leave your masterpiece with the staff at AG and they take it and fire it in the kiln (more on that later). About five days later, it’s ready for you to pick up!
During this particular visit, Emme chose a butterfly box as a gift for her big sister’s birthday and Jax chose a motorcycle (hello, gender roles!). The kiddos were quite content painting while Linds got to take some gorgeous photos and I had the pleasure of talking to Liz and Amy, managers at the store. Both having art degrees (Liz from Towson and Amy from MICA), they are in large part responsible for the beautiful finished products decorating the store. They’re also are in charge of teaching the various seminars that Amazing Glaze offers. From canvas painting to glass art to mosaics, they offer these classes to everyone from novice to expert and encourage people to bring in food and drinks (yes – even alcoholic ones) and to use their time in the studio as a way to relax and reconnect with friends.
Amazing Glaze is the brainchild of owner Lisa Lyons, who opened the first location in Mount Washington over fourteen years ago. It was met with great success, so a second location here in Bel Air was created in 2004. Since then, everyone from small children to expert painters have been using the studio as a way to create, connect and relax. The store offers some awesome events as well. The Mom & Me day that Linds and I attended allows a mom and one child to each paint a piece of pottery for half off the studio fee and is the perfect special outing with your little one. Ladies Night occurs one Thursday per month and has been wildly successful: there’s a $10 cover, and groups of friends can reserve a table, bring a bottle (or two…or three…) of wine and paint! How fun is that?! Amazing Glaze also has game day specials – you can wear your Ravens gear and get half off of your studio fee, and you can watch the game on their flat screen while painting (Raven figurine, anyone?).
And – probably my most favorite event of all – twice a month is ‘Wine Bottle Melt Down’ night. For $12, you drop off your special bottle of wine (empty of course) and they will melt it into a cheese tray! Isn’t that great? Perfect for those bottles that were from a special occasion and you can’t bear to part with them – but so much more functional than just letting the bottle stay in your cabinet and collect dust. I will definitely be using this service soon!
The store also offers tours to school groups, Girl Scout troops, etc. – and can throw an awesome birthday party! Starting at ages 5 & up, your birthday boy or girl can come in with friends and paint. And the best part – some of the packages include refreshments…so less work for you! Score!
While we were there, we were lucky enough to have Liz and Amy give us a quick tour into the firing room to see how the pale painted pieces on the shelves end up looking so bright and vibrant. They explained that after the piece you paint is totally dry, employees will dip it into a clear glaze (well – it dries clear…but actually looks green!). That glaze will be left to dry, and then the pieces will be placed into the kiln. The kiln heats to 1850 degrees and then must cool completely before the pieces are removed. And, voila! Your masterpiece is complete.
So are you liking what you’re reading, but don’t know what in the world you would paint? Liz and Amy offered some great tips: Think about what you need and where you’d want to have it in your house. Are you up to your eyeballs in coffee mugs and serving dishes? Then you should probably pick something else! Often times you can start by choosing the paint colors that catch your eye, and then choose your piece based upon what might look good with them. The store also has books of finished pieces on hand to help you with some design inspiration – and you can bring in an image you like and use carbon paper to trace it onto your piece. The possibilities are really endless!
For me, Amazing Glaze will always be the best place to create homemade gifts. We’ve created Christmas presents there for two years in a row now, and not only have they been a big hit but we’ve had a blast doing it! We bring hot chocolate and cookies and hunker down for a good two hours – and when we’re done, a big part of our holiday shopping is done too! The grandparents have a messy, multi-colored mug made with love, the kids are proud of their creations, and I don’t have a disaster on my kitchen table to clean up. Everyone wins! 😉
Want to win a $15 gift certificate to try out Amazing Glaze for yourself? It’s easy to enter – simply comment below with the following THREE things:
1. What you might like to paint at Amazing Glaze
2. That you ‘Like’ Amazing Glaze on Facebook
3. That you ‘Like’ LPP on Facebook