Connect with your children while creating works of art

For some time now I’ve been wanting to take my two young children to a paint-your-own pottery studio so they could create whimsical keepsakes with their mommy and daddy.

But it wasn’t until a friend of mine gave me a gift certificate to the Clay Café Pottery Studio in Grandview that I finally made the time to give it a try.

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I’d heard enough about these kinds of places to know what to expect. Basically, you select an unfinished ceramic object off a shelf and paint it to your liking. Then you turn it over to the shopkeeper to have it fired – or baked – in a kiln. A few days later your artwork is ready for pickup.

But little did I know what a bonding experience making artwork would be for our family. It took only an hour to complete our two projects, but seeing 4-year-old Rosie and 2-year-old Max delight in painting, while getting full attention from their parents, was time and money well spent.

Our experience started with little Maxie choosing a race car-shaped bank to paint. It sat on a shelf alongside other ghostly white objects called “greenware.” I was glad Max chose quickly because having him mill around the delicate ceramic pieces made me nervous for fear he’d grab and smash them. And, at roughly $16 apiece, that would be a costly accident.

Rosie had a tougher time picking her object from a decent-sized selection of all-age appropriate items including butterflies, ballerinas and blossoms. She ultimately settled upon a cute, two-piece cupcake trinket holder. A cherry-topped lid adjoins with the cupcake’s base, and now serves as a great place for Rosie to stash her collection of plastic gems.

Our family sat at a ceramic-topped table beside a window overlooking an outside garden of pretty zinnias. The space looks like a cafe, with mix-matched tables and chairs upon a black-and-while checkerboard tile floor.

Daddy teamed with Rosie to paint the cupcake purple and pink, while I helped Max slap blue, orange and yellow paint onto his race car. We all added “sprinkles,” or tiny dabs of paint, to our finished creations. Then I penciled the kids’ names onto the bottoms of their artwork.

The end result lacked luster, but Mike and I knew that after the baking process, the paint would become more vibrant and glossy.

Five days later we returned to retrieve our creations from a shelf of finished projects. They looked fantastic! Now the trick will be keeping them safe and in one piece at home.

“We can always make them again if they break,” Rosie says.

The Clay Café is located at 1644 W. 5th Ave. in Grandview. Hours are noon-9 p.m., Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday; and noon-5 p.m., Sunday.

For more information, visit

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