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Marcy’s Clayground

Make memorable works of art at paint-your-own-pottery studio

One of my favorite memories of attending Garfield Elementary School in Medina, Ohio, was when Mrs. Werger brought out big slabs of gray clay for us to fashion into works of art.

In first grade I made a basket that I painted “robin’s egg blue” – that’s what the bottle labeled it. Although my basket lacked luster when I handed it over to my art teacher, it came out of the kiln as a vibrant, colorful object d’art.

Our children recently had a similar experience at Marcy’s Clayground, at 6685 Dublin Center Dr. in Dublin. Marcy’s allows you to select a piece of unpainted pottery off a shelf, paint it and pick it up one week later after it’s been fired.

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There’s no charge to use the space, so you potentially could work on something for weeks, using the space as your studio. We stayed for several relaxing hours. Our daughter selected a piece that portrayed a dragon atop a castle. Our son chose to paint a piggy bank because he loves pigs.

The kids weren’t crazy about the dullness of the paint on their artwork. The real thrill was returning a week later to retrieve the creations. The rich colors and shiny glaze brought them to life, just as I remember with my robin’s egg blue basket.

Our kids proudly display them today on their dressers.

Marcy’s website touts having more than 150 ceramic items and more than 80 shades of paint. Prices range from $3-$50. You’re charged half the cost of the figure to decorate it. So if an item costs $10, it’ll be $15 after you paint it.

For more information, visit marcysclayground.com.

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Glass Axis

Have a ball playing with fire at Franklinton art center

Glass Axis: Have a ball playing with fire at Franklinton art centerIntroduce youngsters to the art of glassmaking at Glass Axis, which offers hands-on workshops to adults and kids as young as 8 years old.

Glass Axis is a workshop and gallery located inside a warehouse in the neighborhood of Franklinton, just west of downtown Columbus. It’s been in Columbus in various locations for 30 years, but the budding arts district feels like home.

I took a beginners’ workshop called a “first-experience” class through my employer. My coworkers and I created spherical glass ornaments. I enjoyed getting a feel for the process without having the fear of getting burned. My experience seemed suitable for children.

One by one, our instructor, Jacci Delaney, guided us through the steps of making an ornament while those not participating watched from the bleachers. My personal lesson lasted about 15 minutes and included twirling a glob of molten glass at the end of a metal rod in a fire pit, dipping the hot glob into two bowls of colored glass bits, and blowing into a tube with a reed-like tip to form my glass bubble.

Delaney performed the more difficult steps, such as gathering the initial glob of molten glass on the rod, shaping the ball of glass and removing the ball by gently tapping a mallet on the rod. She also formed a glass hook so I can hang my ornament.

Glass Axis: Have a ball playing with fire at Franklinton art centerThe experience was just enough for me to appreciate the complexities and fragility of the art form, as well as taste the sensation of blowing my own glass object. I’m excited to display my ornament at home and proclaim, “Yeah, I made that!”

Other workshops include blowing a glass pumpkin, sculpting a paperweight and making a Pandora-style bracelet. Costs range from $39 for the first-experience workshops to $85 for a glass on making a stained-glass heart.

Not ready to play with fire? Observe other glass blowers by attending a free demonstration from the bleachers. While there, check out the gallery, which holds an annual spring sale in mid-May.

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Glass Axis is located at 610 W. Town St., Columbus. For more information, Call 614-291-4250 or visit glassaxis.org.

Sew to Speak: Find funky fabrics, learn sewing basics

Sew to Speak

Find funky fabrics, learn sewing basics

I loved to sew clothes for my toys when I was a little girl. Most of their fashions involved discarded socks. I could create three matching garments from one knee-high: a hat from the toe, a vest from the middle section and a tight pair of pants from the top. I swear I invented stretchy pants in the 1970s.

So, surprise, for Christmas my 8-year-old daughter received a sewing machine. The gift sat in a box for weeks as I read the manual, trying to decipher how to wind the bobbin and thread the machine. Meanwhile, Rosie pleaded, “I want to sew now!”

A friend told us about a local fabric store called Sew to Speak, which sells sewing supplies and offers lessons to children. One class, called “Kids Sewing 101,” is available for children ages 8 and up for $35. Participants learn how to operate a sewing machine and construct a pillowcase.

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We opted for a class called “Kids Plus One.” In the 2-hour lesson, Rosie and I learned how to operate our new sewing machine and make our own pillowcases.

The store is a destination in itself, especially if you’re into sewing. The fabric choices alone are enough to turn a wannabe like myself into a fashionista. I fell in love with a print of a little dog nipping at the heels of galloping horses. It appeared straight from the pages of an old children’s book. I used this print and another of horseshoes for my two-sided pillowcase.

Our instructor, Jamie Hevener, guided us with utmost patience and enthusiasm. I enjoyed constructing something I would normally buy without thought from scratch.

We learned how to use a simple pattern, properly cut fabrics with the grain of the material and use our machine to do basic stitching.

We’re quite proud of our handmade pillowcases and our newfound ability to use our machine. Look out, New York Fashion Week, here we come!

Sew to Speak is located at 4610 N. High St., Columbus. For more information, visit sewtospeakshoppe.com or call 614-267-3011.