Cody takes his first trip to Clay Café

Photo: Danielle Brewer/The Aquinian

For this week’s “Cody Tries New Things” I finally tried something that wasn’t physically demanding or hurt my body and soul in anyway. This week, I tried my hand at painting pottery at the Clay Café in Fredericton’s downtown.

Before I came to university, I spent two years painting houses for a living. My job was primarily to paint corners and tight areas because I had a steady hand. I have come to find out my ability to paint houses does not translate well to painting a mug with “I ❤ MOM” embossed on it.

When you enter the Clay Café, you’re greeted by an eccentrically coloured room. Everything including walls, tables, chairs, counters, and shelves are painted in different bright colours. Examples of completed artworks cover the store, making you feel like you have the artistic ability of a four-year-old. The environment makes you want to be more artistic.

There is a large selection of items you can choose to paint, easily over 100. There were so many, it took me 15 minutes to decide what I wanted tackle. Dishes, figurines and ornaments are just some examples of what they have to choose from. At first, I wanted to do a plate, but then quickly realized my creative mind doesn’t exist and the blank canvas would ultimately end up looking like a Mondrian creation. A simple mug was more my style. I decided to make one for my mother since I know she would like it regardless of how it turned out.

Once you choose your canvas, your next choice are the colours you want. You can choose from several different normal colours or you can be creative and pick from colours with speckles in them. They also provide you with stencils and paint brushes of various lengths and widths. You can really get creative with the colour schemes you want to choose.

I brought someone with me who had been there before, and they gave me pointers for painting. My piece probably would have ended up looking blotchy if I hadn’t been told you need to do three coats of paint on every part of your piece for the finish to come out flush and clean-looking.

Surprisingly, the painting was easier than I thought it would be. It was hard to be really accurate when painting the intricate parts, I felt good about what I accomplished.

I tried to paint the cup half white and half a nice blue. After sneezing and making a large stroke upwards this resulted in me making a wavy pattern around the entire thing. I got creative and put a smiley face on the bottom so it will be exposed when someone takes a sip.

The process took three hours, so you need to allot a fair bit of time for this activity. If you don’t finish your piece, or you want to do more work on it, the café allows you to keep your unfinished work at the store and you can come back and finish it at another point.

When you’re finished, you give your masterpiece to them and they bake it making the paint and clay more durable. This does take some time to do so you have to return in a week or more to pick it up. It’s best to not take a friend visiting for the weekend here because they will likely never see their finished work.

If you’re looking to take someone out on a first date and you don’t really know them all too well, this may be the perfect place to take them. Your artistic ability doesn’t really matter, because you can just have a laugh about the entire process. You can choose whether you want to talk about the person you’re with, or just what you’re doing with your piece.

This was a pile of fun. It was just a nice relaxing thing to do and it killed a bit of time. If I went back, I would choose to a figurine of an animal to paint. I think that would have been easier because I already have an idea of what the colour scheme would be.

Editor’s Note: This story originally ran in The Aquinian with the photo credit as “Submitted”. The photo is actually credited to Danielle Brewer.

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