My city is currently renovating the marina and, while the reactions to the development are mixed, I really like the Arts Centre building that was built there. It's housed in a renovated, historic freight shed and overlooks Lake Superior.
They offer various classes and last month Hubs and I took our niece to a "paint a pot" workshop. We were provided handmade bowls, glazes, brushes, etc., and given two hours to work our magic. The centre has amazing light and we spent a blissfully peaceful afternoon painting.
Want to see the fruits of our labour?
This one is, quite obviously, my bowl. I set myself up to fail by choosing an aqua glaze that happened to dry super quickly and I overworked it, so that's why it's weirdly patchy. I haven't done anything pottery related since I was a kid myself!
You might not be able to tell, but I actually glazed the entire outside of the bowl with white because the natural colour was sort of ecru.
Handy Hubby made an adorable bowl. He struggled with the glazes too, because some went on smoothly but some were chunky and uncooperative. I had joked before the class that if his bowl didn't look good it would be a "work bowl" for him to use at the office. With each defeated brush stroke, he'd mutter dejectedly, "yeah, this isn't working, this is going to be my work bowl".
When we were driving to the waterfront to attend the class, I kept teasing our niece about what we were doing because we'd kept it a secret. Among my tall tales, one really resonated: I told her we were going to shovel grain (our waterfront has a lot of grain elevators) and this bizarrely piqued her interest, so I explained how we'd get paid $5.00 an hour to shovel dusty grain all day, with no breaks to use the bathroom. I described in great detail what dusty, terrible work it would be and she believed every fib. When we arrived at the paint a pot class, I said, "Surprise! We're painting pottery bowls!!! (insert jazz hands here). Well, the tall tales blew up in my face because at first she was totally bummed that we weren't going to be shoveling grain. After a few minutes she got more interested in the pottery and was eventually totally engrossed - although still deeply disappointed to miss out on $5.00 an hour doing manual labour. I was so impressed with her focus; I think she could have worked on her bowl all day.
Our bowls were fired and ready to be picked up about a week or so later. Although mine turned out a little wonkier than I hoped, Hubby's is cute enough to be a home bowl and our niece was thrilled with hers. I'd definitely go to another class with a kiddo and I decided to share our experience in case anyone is struggling to find a gift for a kid who has every toy under the sun. A gift certificate for something like this - a one day, crafty class - would be so much fun for kids. It cost $75 for the three of us to attend this class, but it was better than buying a toy, I think, because we spent an afternoon together, making memories.
Next time I have a much cheaper outing in mind: shoveling grain it is!