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When You Love What You Do, It Shows | VanGo Pottery Testimonials

August 17, 2013 by  
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We love what we do and we think it shows. But don’t take our word for it, read what others are saying about VanGo Pottery. The following is a small sampling of unsolicited feedback recently received:

 “Your customer service rocks!”  ~Deborah N., Phoenix

“We are still smiling over our pottery painting event two weeks ago today!”  ~Jo, Phoenix

“Our residents had the best time and are already asking when we can have you back.”  ~Lisa G., Activities Coordinator

 “I wanted to let you know that I have heard the best feedback from our department today about the pottery. Thank you for arriving on time and for bringing such adorable and quality pottery pieces. I truly appreciate your instruction to myself and other painters, and your flexibility throughout the day. You made our event enjoyable and easy, and we’ve discovered some budding artists in our department! I will recommend you in the future to other groups!”     ~Brittany C., Executive Assistant to the CIO  

“After researching many entertainment options for my daughter’s birthday party, we were fortunate to find Sheri with VanGo Pottery. Her unique mobile pottery painting business takes away the guesswork, hassle, and logistical issues of going to a studio, as she literally comes to you with all the supplies you need. Party-goers select their pieces to paint, Sheri brings the paint and paintbrushes, and the finished pieces leave with her. She then fires them in the kiln and returns them only a few days later. The process is easy, seamless, and doesn’t require a return trip to a studio for pick-up, as she returns them directly to you. From our first introduction, Sheri was warm, friendly, accommodating, and a pleasure to work with. I can’t recommend her enough and look forward to using her again!”   ~Heather M., Phoenix     (http://www.yelp.com/biz/vango-pottery-phoenix)

(Note: Business names were intentionally omitted because permission to use their names was not requested.)

Thank you to all who have taken the time to let us know how you feel. You rock!

Until next time, Peace, Love, Pottery, and Glass Fusing!

Don’t Just “Pin” it, Make it! | Fused Glass Dish Leaf Design

July 30, 2013 by  
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Using simple glass cutting techniques, follow the steps below to create this fun leaf design dish or experiment with different leaf shapes and colors to create your own unique design. Translucency makes this finished work of art glow with color! 

Once the project is complete, fire it to contour fuse then slump fire.

 

                                                                                                                                                                      


 

VanGo Pottery Workshops | Now Offering Glass Fusing!

June 27, 2013 by  
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We are excited to announce the addition of glass fusing to our offerings. You can come to our cozy home studio, located in central Phoenix, AZ, for a variety of glass fusing classes and workshops.

Our next scheduled workshop is for the ladies – sorry, guys – on Friday, July 12th 2013  from 6:30pm – 9:30pm. We will be creating a 6” dish that is perfect for holding candy, small trinkets, or a candle. The cost is $30 and includes all supplies, instruction, firings, and tax. Refreshments will be provided. For more information about this event, please visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1394458384099638/.

You can also reserve the studio for yourself and a group of friends for pottery painting or glass fusing. Please contact us for more information via phone:   602.468.3136 or email:  Contact@VanGoPottery.com.

 

Until next time,
Peace, Love, Pottery, and Glass Fusing!

Summer Camp Fun | On-Site Pottery Painting Field Trip

April 4, 2013 by  
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Attention, Summer Camp Directors!  Want to be a hit with your campers and their parents?  Then book an on-site pottery painting field trip at your center with VanGo Pottery.™ We bring the fun of a pottery studio to you, for less than you would probably pay to go to a studio.

How It Works We bring everything to your location – pottery pieces, paints, brushes, design tools – and we provide staff assistance. Once the kiddos have finished painting their masterpieces, we bring them back to our studio where we glaze and fire them and then deliver them back to you within a week. And we never charge a studio fee; you pay only for the pottery pieces you paint – everything else is included in the price. All paints and glazes are water-based and certified non-toxic, so this is a great activity for ALL ages, including preschoolers.

Shapes, Shapes, and More Shapes  We have hundreds of shapes to choose from and can accommodate most any camp theme and budget. Two of our popular camp items are coffee mugs and dessert plates. Our 12 oz. Café mug is $12.50 (including tax) and our 8” dessert size plate is $13.50 (including tax) – perfect for little handprints. Each becomes a food-safe functional work of art that can be used and treasured for years to come.

For more information, please call 602.468.3136 or visit our website:  http://www.VanGoPottery.com.

Until next time, Peace, Love, and Pottery.

Talking with Kids About Art | What is Original Art?

February 11, 2013 by  
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I love my job, especially when I’m able to teach art enrichment classes to children (and adults) of all ages and levels of experience. It’s truly a privilege to be in the presence of budding and seasoned artists as they explore, learn, and create.

 One of my after-school classes is particularly note-worthy. It’s made up of a group of kiddos of various ages and they all get along exceptionally well, even with the widespread age difference. The older students are always happy to help the younger ones and there is always great conversation and camaraderie. I’m often pleasantly surprised at the level of maturity in the conversation – it’s a great atmosphere for fostering creativity.

 During a recent class, one of the students said it seemed like some of the other children were “copying” her work. Initially, some of the kids were taken aback and even a little offended. Fortunately, we quickly turned the conversation around into a wonderful discussion about creativity and original works of art. Which raised the question, what is a true original work of art?

 So what constitutes an original work of art? Even as the artist sets out to create an original piece, doesn’t she bring into it (consciously and subconsciously), thoughts, ideas, and images previously conceived by someone else? And even if the artist purposefully uses portions from another work of art, but adds his own modifications, does that make it an original work? What percentage of change to the overall piece needs to occur in order for it to be considered original? When you think about it, either every work of art is original, or none is.

As you can imagine, the conversation was very lively but also very productive. Some great points and counterpoints were made, all in the name of healthy discussion. In the end, I don’t know that any definitive conclusions were reached that day, but I do know a lot of great art was created. All of it, original.

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Pottery

The Great Outdoors: Tips for Planning Your Outdoor Party

September 15, 2012 by  
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Will Summer Ever End  I don’t know about you, but Phoenix summers seem to get longer and longer. Now that cooler weather is finally upon us, and we can enjoy being outdoors, it’s time to start planning those outdoor parties. Whether it’s a birthday party, a family reunion, a scouting event, or just a group of friends getting together, there’s nothing like spending time with friends and family in the great outdoors.

Location, location, location  Now that you’ve decided to have an outdoor party, where should you have it?  Backyard parties are lots of fun, economical, and very convenient. Parks are another great option, with lots of room for games and running around. Phoenix, AZ has lots of excellent parks, many with reservable ramadas. For large corporate events, check out The Farm at South Mountain with its “dazzling 12 acre property that features multiple spaces to accommodate any group or any type of occasion.” Community centers and apartment club houses are also great options; many of which offer access to indoor and outdoor common areas.

Weather  I may be biased, but I think Phoenix and surrounding areas have the best fall and winter weather in the nation. Hands down. But for those questionable weather days, it’s best to check the local weather forecast and have a backup plan. You may want to bring along an awning or tent or choose a location with easy access to an indoor area.

Food  There are lots of great options when choosing food for your party. You may want to keep it simple and bring take-out items such as pizza or chicken. Barbecue is another great option as most any park has grills and barbecue food items are extensive enough to satisfy most anyone, even vegetarians. Finger foods and little sandwiches are great for younger guests and easy to clean up. Potlucks are a great way to have a variety of food with everyone pitching in to bring their favorite dish while minimizing the work for the party host. For parties with a theme, guests can bring a theme-based item. And for dessert, cupcakes are an easy, convenient alternative to cake.

Entertainment  Outdoor parties are great for games that involve lots of running around and teamwork. Volleyball and kickball are fun activities for any age and easy enough to coordinate. For a creative activity, pottery painting is a great way to go and your friends at VanGo Pottery™ would love to help you plan your party! Other ideas include carnival games (don’t forget the prizes!), scavenger hunts, water balloon toss, and all the old favorites such as relay races, touch football, and tag.

Whatever your reason for having a party, remember, it’s all about spending time with friends and making memories. Whether you have a huge family reunion or a small gathering with friends, be sure to keep the planning, preparation, and price within your comfort zone. That way, you can be sure to enjoy the party as much as your guests.

Until next time, Peace, Love, and Pottery

Photo:
www.AZ.gov

VanGo Pottery: Offering Ceramic Classes at our Phoenix, AZ Studio!

August 28, 2012 by  
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It’s not secret: We love playing with clay. There’s nothing like having a ball of clay in your hands and forming it into something amazing and beautiful. And while there is plenty of great equipment available to help with your pottery making adventure, using just your hands a few basic tools can yield beautiful works of art with a purpose.

Three basic handbuilding techniques are pinch, coil, and slab. Utilizing one or a combination of these techniques can produce awesome results. In slab construction, start with a ball of clay and use a rolling pin to roll the clay out onto a flat, canvas-covered surface. Roll in several directions to achieve uniform thickness in the clay. Once your slab is the desired thickness, cut out shapes as needed to construct your piece.

In the pinch method, start with a ball of clay, push your thumb in the middle, and begin pinching and turning. Turn slowly as you pinch, paying attention to wall thickness, including the bottom, of the piece. Before you know it, you’ve got a great pot that can stand on its own or become a part of a more involved piece.

In the coil method, start with a ball of clay and begin rolling the clay with your hands on a smooth surface. Gently roll the clay back and forth, spreading your hands to apply even pressure and form a snake-like coil. Roll several coils to an even size (the thickness of a pencil) and shape them as desired, stacking one coil on top of the other to form a wall. Once you have stacked your coils, you can smooth the coils together or leave them as is.

We are excited about our class offerings held at our cozy home studio, located in downtown Phoenix, Az. We also have programs for homeschoolers at your location or ours. Hours vary and studio visits are by appointment. Please contact us today to learn more about our classes: contact@VanGoPottery.com, 602.468.3136.

Gratitude: The Art of Appreciating Little Things

August 16, 2012 by  
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As I was hiking this morning, I came to a peak that’s about midway through one of my regular hiking loops. As I reached the top of the peak, I was greeted with a refreshing cool breeze and a profound sense of gratitude came over me. As I made my way down the other side of the peak, I began to think of all the things I was grateful for in that moment: the fact that I was hiking, especially on an August morning in Phoenix, AZ (yes, it was recently 116⁰ here); seeing a cute little squirrel that paused on the side of the trail as I passed; and just having an overall sense of well-being.

As I continued my hike, I expanded my list of gratitudes to include things in my home. This is easier said than done since I live in an historic home (translation; really old house in constant need of renovation and repairs) and the list of things that need updating or replacing can become quite daunting. In order to minimize becoming overwhelmed, I focus on changing or updating one or two little things in a room at a time. This is usually enough to give the room some new pizzazz and satisfy my need for change, while allowing me to stick to my budget.

Little changes can be something as simple as picking up a couple of throw pillows for the sofa – sometimes you can find really cool vintage pillows in great shape at the thrift store. You could add a new piece of art that you or your children make or find at the thrift store. Sometimes, painting a wall is all it takes to liven up a room and is something that can be done inexpensively. Wall plates are another easy, inexpensive source for change – you could paint ceramic light switch plates to introduce new, vibrant colors to the room or tie designs together by repeating shapes and colors.

Whatever small changes you decide to make, be sure they are changes that bring you joy and give you a sense of accomplishment. That way whenever you walk in the room, you can focus on the changes you’ve made (and be happy!) rather than focusing on bigger projects yet to come. Many times, a small change can be a catalyst to making bigger changes. Or, the small change may be all that was needed.

Until next time, Peace, Love, and Pottery.

Rubbing Alcohol Technique: Create a Fun, Abstract Ceramic Piece in Just a Few Easy Steps

July 21, 2012 by  
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So you feel like painting pottery, but you’re not sure what to paint. Sometimes, all that’s needed to spark your creativity is to simply start. Here’s a fun, easy technique that uses rubbing alcohol and a few of your favorite colors to create an abstract piece you can be proud of.  And who knows – it may be just what you need to get those creative juices flowing.

Step 1: Apply 3 coats of your base color, letting each coat dry before applying the next.

Step 2: Mix the second color with water to a thin wash consistency and then apply one coat to your piece.

Step 3: Immediately add drops of rubbing alcohol using a small brush or eyedropper.

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 – 4 with as many colors as you like.

Step 5: Let dry, cover with clear glaze, stilt and fire.

Once you’ve applied all your colors and rubbing alcohol, you can leave as is or, if the creative juices have begun to flow, you can use a detail brush to add additional strokes for some extra flair. As with any paint your own pottery project, the possibilities are endless!

Until next time…    Peace, Love, and Pottery

Connecting the Generations: The Importance of Intergenerational Activities

May 2, 2012 by  
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Intergenerational ActivitiesIntergenerational activities can be a great way to build friendships and community by bringing together people of different ages and backgrounds to explore and work toward a common goal. New relationships are formed and a new found respect emerges. Some intergenerational activities include youth teaching older adults how to use the computer and Internet, adults mentoring elementary school students, and seniors and children performing together in a community theatre production.

I recently had the opportunity to work on an intergenerational project with a group of seniors at an assisted living center we visit regularly. To coincide with their “Baseball” theme, residents painted plates to look like baseballs. It was great fun helping with the painting and listening to the light-hearted banter between the participants. Everyone had a wonderful time and lots of great art was created.

Once the plates were painted, they were taken back to the VanGo Studio to be glazed and fired and then delivered back to the residents a few days later. The next part of the project involved students from a nearby middle school – students and senior residents competed in a friendly game of indoor baseball complete with personalized baseball caps and uniforms. Then, using a no-bake ceramic pen, each of the kiddos signed the baseball plates to commemorate the fun event and time spent together. The seniors were the lucky recipients of the plates, displaying them proudly in their rooms.

Being a part of this project was such a great experience for me. Not only was it a fun, creative way to bring different generations together, it made me realize the importance of doing so.

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Pottery

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