We are lucky, in our little town, to have a small art gallery which allows people to purchase pre-made ceramic pieces(everything from huge vases to statues of Native American children, cups and saucers to Christmas decor and giant bowls and platters) that they can then glaze and have the members of the art guild fire for them(since most of us don't have kilns conveniently hanging around our houses*I wish!*).
Last month we took The Cupcake Kid to "paint" birthday presents for an aunt and uncle at the art center. It was The Kid's first time working with ceramics and glazes(The Husband and I both worked with clay, glazes and kilns in college) and made for a really fun and inexpensive family activity on a cold and dreary day.
We let her do most of the painting, then "helped" her clean up(filled in bald spots) the pieces a little before leaving them to be fired. We were quite delighted with the results.
For her uncle, she chose a train themed beer stein. She loves trains. I don't know that Uncle has any particular interest in trains, but he loves his niece, therefore, he loved the stein. I think the colors she chose have an interesting vintage feel to them. I don't know why she chose the colors she did, but they looked quite a bit prettier than I anticipated they would. I mean, we are talking about a three year old here. He's lucky the whole thing wasn't pink with purple polka dots.
And for her Auntie, a little ring basket.
When we finally were able to pick up our treasures after they had been fired, it was oh so exciting for The Kid to see the fruits of her labor. These pieces are a more permanent form of art, compared to the paper crafts and such that we normally do together, and it was eye opening for her to see what she is really capable of. I can hardly wait until she's old enough to take an actual ceramics class with me and learn the joy of building a piece from start to finish. Then she'll really feel like she has super powers!
And, I think it goes without saying that her aunt and uncle really loved these sweet little pieces which will be sentimental reminders of days gone by when she's old and grown.
If you are lucky enought to have pottery painting locally available to you and you haven't tried it yet, you really should. Especially if you have kids. It's a fun activity to try during a boring/cold/hot/yucky day, and handmade gifts always win brownie points with grandmas and grandpas and aunties and uncles.
Unless your grandmas and grandpas and aunties and uncles just suck. In which case, maybe just treat yourself. You know you've always wanted a custom painted, three foot tall statue of a frog riding a unicorn. Just admit it.
And now, you can!