It's only October 1, but this weekend I bought my first Christmas gift. Sort of. I actually watched my children turn an ordinary serving dish into a unique and, if I do say so myself, beautiful piece of art for their grandma in Massachusetts. A handmade gift is already a shoo-in with an out-of-town grandparent, but throw in the fact that their brushstrokes adorn a quality Louisville Stoneware platter, and you've got a perfect gift. Plus we had a great experience creating it.
Louisville Stoneware has a terrific selection of pieces, priced from $10-$50, waiting to be turned into something special. Inside the studio, you can choose to personalize small pieces (ornaments, figurines), larger ones (bowls, pitchers), or anything in between (plates, mugs, everyday serving pieces). Next, you pick the colors you'd like to paint the famously durable stoneware; we opted for a Christmassy selection of dark green, red, and robin's egg blue. The kids chose from an impressive selection of stencils and stamps, and then it was off to the races. I didn't edit their choices or inhibit their inner Picasso, but when they made a major boo-boo, the helpful staff was quick to show us how to buff it away. Louisville Stoneware will glaze and fire it for us, and in about ten days we can pick it up. Well before the madness of the holiday season. Check Grandma off the list.
It's always fun to get creative with your kids, but when they learn about a new art form and some local history in the process, it becomes a great family activity. Although we didn't take the full factory tour, stations in the studio show the process Louisville Stoneware has used since 1815 to turn ordinary clay into extraordinary pottery. And now a Yankee grandma will have a little bit of Louisville in her kitchen as well.
For more information, visit www.louisvillestoneware.com/locations/ or call 582-1900. The studio is open Monday-Saturday, 10:00 am-5:00 pm (last seating at 3:30 pm), and reservations are required for groups of six or more.
Photos: Anna Frye