It started as a hobby, became a passion and now it’s Camana Bay’s newest shop, selling handcrafted ceramic products and locally made artwork.
Two of the three owners of 3 Girls and a Kiln, Aimee Randolph and Claire Rohleder, first met in 2012 at a ceramics class hosted by the Visual Arts Society. The two quickly became friends and through their love of art and ceramics, they started attending more craft workshops as well as craft fairs before they co-founded their company.
The women credit the Visual Arts Society as the vehicle that allowed them to feature their work and become known to the public. During this time, Claire, who was raised in Grand Cayman, was working at Acorn Publishing as a Graphic Designer while Aimee was working as an art teacher at John Gray High School after moving to the island from Texas.
“My husband’s job moved me to Grand Cayman,” said Aimee. “This is where I found something that I love.”
The first fair that Aimee and Claire took part in as a team was at Camana Bay in 2012. The had only 10 pots and a few other ceramic items, which they made and gathered through art classes they took. “Camana Bay is the reason why we are all together; this is where we first got started,” Aimee said.
The third “girl,” Deborah Richey, joined the duo after she started working with Aimee as an art teacher at John Gray High School. As a result of their mutual interests of all things art, Deborah quickly became part of the 3 Girls and a Kiln family during the 2013 Christmas season.
The trio then started showing off their work at the weekly Farmers & Artisans Market at Camana Bay, where they could share the fruits of their passion for art with the public. The girls displayed their own personal ceramics and found that people were receptive very early on. As the demand for their work started to soar, there was a need for a shop where their art could be available to their clients more than just once a week.
The girls say they are now living the dream with a shop along the Camana Bay Paseo, where they would once set up their stand to display their work during the Farmers & Artisans Market. Aimee and Deborah have both left teaching to concentrate on their artistic pursuits. They say they enjoy talking to every person that comes into their shop. Their enthusiasm is contagious and they have real and personal conversations about ceramics and life in general with their customers, helping them to build lasting relationships.
The business is described as a “ceramic experience” by the girls, with a retail store in front and a functioning studio in the back from where they can all work, as well as host regular ceramic workshops or classes six or seven times a month. The classes are tailored to different age groups and some are seasonally themed, such as the Zentangle Hanging Heart Glazing Class that took place just before Valentine’s Day. They also offer team-building workshops and private events so that groups are able to make the class private and more personalised.
Giving back to the community is also important to the girls. They are working closely with the local government schools in helping students get work experience. “We want to help young Caymanians to explore the arts in a healthy working environment,” said Aimee. ”We also want to show our support to female artists through what we do.”
Supporting charitable causes and organisations is also a big part of their philosophy and they currently collaborate with One Dog at a Time, K9 Friends and the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.