DIY Business Offers More Than PotteryThe act of creation, from design through execution, offers its own rewards; that “inner artist” may just take this opportunity to soar.
Osmar, long interested in going into business for himself, bought the studio two years ago from previous owner Judy Walters. With Osmar, three part-time employees and Osmar’s wife, Sarah Berry, a local art teacher, providing the guiding hands, the small business prides itself on its customer service. Says Osmar, “As small as we are, we can provide very responsive and personalized service to everyone who comes into the store. We love working with people and seeing their creativity blossom.”
Both Osmar and his wife were born and raised in Grand Ledge and remain committed to the community in which they live and work. Infant daughter Eleanor is often on hand in the store to lend her support as well. In the spirit of community, Osmar regularly contributes time, talent, space and merchandise to local organizations. The building they occupy is on Grand Ledge’s main street and incorporates modern flair along with featuring historic touches like brick walls and high ceilings. The building has been, among other things, a general store, a pharmacy and an antique mart.
With a studio fee of $7 per artist, which includes supplies like brushes, paints and tools like sponges and stamps as well as the glazing and firing of one piece, and a cost of anywhere from $4 and up for bisque pieces to paint, a trip to Piece of Mine is a relatively inexpensive outing even in difficult economic times. Once the piece is done, staff glaze and fire the item and the customer/artist picks up the completed piece in about a week. There is no time limit on the use of the studio and some customers may choose to work on the piece over time. Osmar often runs specials and prospective customers should check the website (www.pieceofminepottery.com) for details.
For those unsure about just how to go about the process, the store provides not only advice and assistance but also ideas and technique books, stamps, computer resources for designs and already completed pottery designs that can be printed out and traced. The store provides over 120 different paint colors and over 250 different stamps.
Osmar says, “Our finishing process gives the piece a professional look and contributes to its durability.
“We have all kinds of special techniques and supplies that can really add to the fun of making the piece and enhance the look of the finished product. For instance, we have glass crystals that can be applied and that ‘explode’ in the finishing process. This is a new element that adds a lot to a piece. We can also apply metallic finishes for a different look.”
The store carries a wide variety of pieces to personalize. These include plates, bowls, mugs, platters, tissue box covers, toothbrush holders, soap dispensers, light switch plates, tiles, banks, boxes, birdhouses, gardening pots and vases. They also offer holiday pieces for home décor or to give as gifts. Styles range from traditional to contemporary with something to suit everyone’s taste.
Besides the basic ceramic pieces, Piece of Mine also offers the opportunity to create mosaic pieces. In addition to traditional mosaic, another popular technique is the photo mosaic, hard to describe but interesting and unusual. Bears and Buddies gives children (and others) a chance to create a stuffed animal complete with a choice of outfits.
Piece of Mine offers large spaces for groups to work together on their projects. Whether it’s an organized school group, scouts or just a group of friends who want to spend some time together, Piece of Mine can accommodate groups of up to 100. According to Osmar, “We often host wedding or baby showers, bachelorette parties, birthday parties, charity events and other gatherings. I especially like working with groups of children. They love being creative and having something they can take home to their parents. In the summer, we offer kids’ camps. Families enjoy this kind of special outing to have fun together. In fact, we have a family from
Looking through the store at the many examples of artistic pieces created by the store’s patrons, it’s easy to understand why Piece of Mine is so popular. Artists (yes, that includes you) can give free rein to imagination, have fun with the process and, finally, have something beautiful to show off!
Piece of Mine
Jaron Osmar, Owner