Although the summer is winding down, it’s a tropical paradise all year long at The Painted Flamingo Art and Pottery Studio in Gainesville.
This paint-your-own studio offers a variety of plain pottery pieces, known as bisque, for visitors to create their own masterpiece.
The bisque come in all shapes and sizes, from the basic coffee mug to the extra large Christmas tree with holes for LED lights.
And just like the large selection of bisque, The Painted Flamingo offers an entire wall of paint, otherwise known as glaze, for visitors to chose from.
Although the large selection can seem overwhelming to a new artist, studio owners Steve and Heather Forrester are more than happy to help someone who is having a hard time channeling their creativity.
In fact, helping someone decide how to paint their piece is Heather Forrester’s favorite part of her job.
“[My favorite part is] just being able to help people out with what they’re painting,” she said. “To be able to sit there with them and say, ‘Well, you’re painting this bowl, would you consider using one of these crystal glazes?’ and they do and it’s just remarkable how it comes out.”
According to the Forresters, the pottery painting process is simple. A customer selects a bisque and the paint they want to use, briefly wipe down the piece to remove any dust, then simply paint until they are pleased with the way their piece looks.
After a customer is finished with their piece, Steve Forrester places the piece in the kiln and fires it for several hours. This final step, along with a clear coat that the Forresters add to the piece, seals in the glaze and gives the piece a glossy finish.
“I really marvel at how when I put a piece in, the way it looks, and then it’s just like magic when you open that lid and look at it for the first time,” he said. “It just looks totally different!”
It is hard not to feel creative just by walking inside The Painted Flamingo. The walls are painted a bright array of pink, yellow and blue with decor similar to something found in a beach house.
And the decor serves a purpose, to help visitors relax and get the feeling of being at the beach. The Forresters opened the studio in September of 2019 and said that the name of the studio and the decor were inspired by their love for the tropics.
“We chose the tropical theme because we want you to feel that when you come in, it’s very relaxing, you take your time, you’re basically on vacation,” said Steve Forrester.
As a family of six, the Forresters said that they also want the studio to be a place for families to enjoy together.
“There’s not a lot of places that families can go or kids can go and have a good time,” said Heather Forrester. “For me it’s been great just to know that [the studio has] been an outlet for a lot of people.”
The Forresters said that they host parties at the studio throughout the year to provide an even more family-fun atmosphere. Some of those include painting a cookie plate with Santa at Christmas and inviting actors dressed like Disney characters to paint with kids.
These events are in addition to birthday parties, church gatherings and ladies’ nights that are hosted at the studio on a regular basis.
The Forresters said that the coronavirus pandemic has limited the number of parties they can host, but they still have visitors who come in to paint on their own.
During daily operations, the Forresters will rearrange furniture to accommodate social distancing and clean each brush, plate and table after use.
If you are looking to escape to your own creative paradise soon, more information about The Painted Flamingo is on their website.
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