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Still on the hunt for a yarn bowl, but can’t find one with a design and colors that suit your taste? Well, search no more, because what you’re looking for may very well be right at your fingertips. With a little time and imagination, you can paint your own as part of a workshop hosted by the Painted Pot at a yarn shop near you!

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That’s right, the Painted Pot, a contemporary ceramics studio at 421 Walnut in Rochester, has been joining forces with yarn shops since last October to offer knitters and crocheters the opportunity to paint their own yarn bowl.

As part of a career change 10 years ago, Gina Homant of Rochester Hills purchased the Painted Pot from its previous owner after being a customer for five years. “I went from a management job that was based in spreadsheets and documents. I wanted to make a change and I’ve always done creative things, so when the Painted Pot came up for sale, it was a natural progression for my career.”

When her (bisque) supplier started offering yarn bowls, she decided to approach yarn shops with the idea of hosting classes in their store that would allow its customers to paint their own bowl.

“I’m a knitter, and I thought, ‘Well — that’s pretty neat!’ So, the minute I wanted to paint one for myself, I thought there were probably many crocheters, knitters and yarn artists who would want one, as well,” she said.

Terri Petherbridge of Grand Blanc, who’s worked at the Painted Pot the past couple years, said, Homant hired her to do production work after she developed “proficiency in painting pottery” from years of being a customer. She’s now the “primary coordinator,” assigned to instructing knitters and crocheters on painting yarn bowls in area yarn shops.

“We developed a plan where I went out on the road and found businesses that would like to partner with us,” said Petherbridge. “I spoke to yarn shop owners and offered them a class that would be mutually beneficial to both businesses. The reason I think it was appealing is that we are not a competitor. We’re just offering a personal item that the yarn artist can use at home.

“We go into the yarn shops, and take all the supplies — the pots, paint, glazes, paint brushes and tools to customize the bowls. I even take masking tape for nice clean (painted) edges. The specialty glazes look like stoneware, and it’s amazing how a brand new painter can create such a beautiful piece.”

Homant adds, “It’s exposing people to another creative outlet. They can choose color and design that appeals to them, and then create their own unique piece of art that’s fully functional. It’s also a great activity where everyone unplugs. We encourage people to put their phones away and enjoy visiting with friends and family, and being creative with friends and family.”

Once the bowls have been painted, Petherbridge takes them back to the studio to be fired, and they’re returned to the yarn shop a week later to be picked up by customers.

So far, the Painted Pot has hosted workshops at the Yarn Stop in Clawson, Fun with Fiber in Farmington, the Knitters Nest in Clarkston, Skeins on Main in Rochester, Ewe to You Yarns in Grand Blanc, Woolly&Co. in Birmingham, and Crafty Lady Trio in Macomb.

“Each yarn shop sets their own price for the class. Most are between $40-$50,” said Petherbridge. Sometimes lunch is included, and depending on space, there are usually 25-30 participants per class, but if there’s room for only 10-12, more classes can be added.

Homant said, “In business these days, you can’t wait for customers to come to you. (Instead), you have to go out into the community and engage them, so we reached out to local knit shops and showed them our samples, and they were very excited. They were immediately engaged with the project!” The yarn bowls are available in three sizes, but only the small and large ones are taken to yarn stores.

The Painted Pot will hold an in-house yarn bowl painting workshop Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Fees are $45 (large bowl) and $35 (small). Call (248) 652-8255 to reserve a spot, and remember to take snacks and beverages! Sounds like a party!

Detroit News Columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150, jbrown@detroitnews.com or facebook.com/DetroitNewsHandmade.

Contact the Painted Pot, 421 Walnut in Rochester, at (248) 652-8255, thepaintedpot.com, or on Facebook. Email: paintedpot@gmail.com.

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