Would I be a hot mess or show artistic finesse?
It's not very often as adults that we have a chance to do something fun and creative and not be afraid to make a mess of things. I was tense and anxious when I first arrived at Painterly Pottery in Saginaw, Michigan. I was concerned any artistic efforts on my part would look amateurish, worried that anything I'd create would be a second rate version of what I really wanted to make.
I started to relax slightly when I saw all the incredible colors we had to work with and all the effects we could create. I opted to skip painting a piece of pottery in order to try warm glass fusion in hopes of creating a pretty serving tray. I was inspired by all the different examples of completed works that were on display and was determined to give it a try.
Warm glass fusion is the art of creating a custom piece of glass artwork, like a platter, a plate, or a set of coasters, by layering colored glass chips and beads in the design of your choice before the staff 'bake' it in a kiln so all the pieces meld and melt together. While I was a bit intimidated to work with glass, perceiving it to be an unforgiving medium, the instructions from the staff were clear and helpful and I was relieved to learn that there was a wide margin for error.
Not feeling confident enough to create a specific design, I opted for a much more forgiving, speckled pattern for my platter and just let my imagination go wild! My first attempt was an effort to replicate the beach glass I'm so fond of collecting when I travel. I loved that they had so many beautiful blues and greens to choose from, including metallics and opaques, and the more I layered on the colors the more fun I had!
I had so much fun, in fact, that I decided to do a second piece! Could it be that I secretly was a warm glass fusion genius?!? It certainly seemed that way, as I clearly excelled at layering and scattering different pieces of colored glass - and I was even better at sprinkling little iridescent glass beads over the final product to add that final bit of sparkle to my creation!
Since I had such success with my first blue and green piece, I decided to expand on my technique and build a similar piece in reds, oranges, rusts, and yellows. I was hoping my revolutionary heap-it-all-on technique would translate well with these colors and I envisioned creating something that looked like a sun. Unfortunately, the end result wasn't so much a celestial body as it was a giant pizza!
Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, in my group agreed that I had created the world's best inedible pizza! And it didn't help that the final touch on my pizza-de-resistance was a sprinkling of shimmery iridescent beads that looked just like Parmesan cheese! But no matter the final look, I had an amazingly fun time playing at Painterly Pottery and I can't wait to do it again!
When's the last time you played like a kid on your travels?
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My visit to Painterly Pottery was facilitated by Michigan Tourism. This did not influence my review and all opinions are my own.