There’s a lot for Deborah Kern, Aimee Randolph and Claire Rohleder, the three friends and co-creators of 3 Girls & A Kiln, to be positive about.
The local art collective moved their already-established business of creating unique ceramics and handmade goods into a storefront on Camana Bay’s Paseo in 2018. The move was a trial to see how well the business would do, selling their creations while also offering private events and public art workshops that ranged from silkscreen mugs to chalkboard cheeseboards.
After much success, they decided to start the new year by relocating to a new space, with double the square footage, across from Bay Market. Here, they have expanded their 100 per cent local retail store, increased their group capacity from 24 to 40, and will soon be offering woodworking classes in addition to their current line-up of glazing workshops.
To help spread their feeling of positivity, the three girls of 3 Girls & A Kiln recently presented a ceramics class with the theme “Positivity Plaques” at their new location. My experience was
The first thing I noticed about the new space is that it feels both inviting and well-maximised. The retail shop covers about a quarter of the footprint; there are rustic display cases of beautifully hand-painted ceramics from plates to cookie jars and tapas dishes decorated with island motifs like coral fans, turtles and waves. Greenery and fairy lights offer Bohemian warmth, and open shelving creates sight lines to the workshop area that occupies the remaining three quarters of the space.
Aimee, Claire and Deborah welcomed me in with friendly, accommodating smiles; Deborah headed off to another commitment, while Aimee and Claire stayed to teach the session. Tables were set and ready for the evening’s class with all the necessary supplies and a snack station of cheese and fruit.
Claire recommended I pick up a bottle of wine (which guests are welcome to enjoy while working) from West Indies Wine Company as we awaited the remaining guests, which comprised a local birthday party group, a family of frequent visitors to the island and a few repeat artists. I returned with my bottle of Riesling just as Aimee sat us down to begin the workshop.
Aimee and Claire led the session with humour and an entertaining rapport that befits their six years of friendship. Fun and relaxed are perhaps the best words to describe the class. The air was suffused with laughter, there were options for every level of artist and the girls’ guidance made it easy for guests to bring their vision to life.
Because the evening’s theme was “Positivity Plaques,” attendees had been encouraged to bring an inspirational quote or image with them to the session. Aimee and Claire were happy to print these out for those who wanted to web-search ideas in-studio. I opted for a combination freehand drawing and utilising the provided silkscreen templates, while others used carbon paper to trace their printed selections.
The ladies were attentive and excellent at quickly building trust with their students. As Aimee and Claire explained, ceramic paints have a tendency to change from muted pastels to vibrant jewel tones when fired. Having confidence in their expertise was essential to achieving the most beautiful product. I’d initially planned to create something more neutral, but as the session went on I found myself more willing to experiment with colours and ended up with a floral design in shades of blue, purple and green.
After about 45 minutes of carefully curling text, laying silkscreens and filling in thin petal outlines with small-tipped brushes, my earthenware plaque was complete and ready to dry. I placed it alongside the other guests’ next to the fan and crossed my fingers it would turn out the way I’d hoped.
From here, my plaque was in Aimee, Claire and Deborah’s hands to be fired at a “low” temperature of 1,800 to 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit. It was ready for collection within a week.
For me, the overall experience was one of creative freedom in a supportive environment, and I would certainly return for another session soon.
For more on 3 Girls & A Kiln’s workshops and retail store, including their offers for Valentine’s Day, visit their website at www.3girlsandakiln.com or email [email protected]