Sunday, July 27, 2008

Purple Glaze Studio: Something for the Kids, Perfect for a Rainy Day

I've been getting questions about what there is to do in Tulsa for kids. I'll answer since kids are people, too, mostly.

Also, I'm always on the lookout for great gifts, especially ones I can make.

Purple Glaze, on Peoria at about 35th St., and on S. 91st St., fills both orders.

We went to the Peoria location to make gifts for my mom and Meme for their birthdays. My mom turned the big 5-0 yesterday, so I wanted to make her something that would secure my status as her favorite daughter, once and for all.

I don't know why I was expecting a quiet little studio, but that joint was abuzz with all kinds of folks - a group of pre-teens, a mother and daughter on a night out, an early-20's couple on a date. We took the last available table, and for the plus-or-minus two hours we were there, no tables came free.

Let's rewind a bit and remind the seasoned among us what exactly goes down at Purple Glaze: You pick a piece from the wide array of pottery and ceramics available in the studio; get an idea for a design and pick paints; sit at your little table, draw, paint and have a great time. A few days later, return for your one-of-a-kind, professionally fired and glazed work of art.

Purple Glaze runs daily specials, ranging from Friday date nights where couples pay only half the $6 studio fee to after-school, $2 studio fees for students on Wednesdays. Since we went on a Monday, we didn't have to pay a studio fee at all. Pottery prices include paint, glazing and firing. We decided to work with large plates, which were $16 per - not bad for a handmade keepsake.

That's my hand print. Dainty, no?

That's my husband's hand print. Burly. Manly. Muscular.

The same size as mine.

Oh, well.

And there's our little guy, gettin' in on the fun.

Here's the finished product.

Go ahead and say it: This is the cutest darned thing you have ever did seen.

I've gotta commend Purple Glaze on its customer service. When I went to pick up our plates Thursday, the person in charge that day informed me one had broken during the firing process (good thing we made three, right?). She and her manager offered me a gift certificate that more than replaced the plate that had broken, and they let me keep the broken plate, of course. They were apologetic and professional in handling what was potentially an upsetting situation.

Mom and Meme loved their gifts. We gave them each a half of the broken plate first, just for laughs. They even tried to act excited about them, the sweethearts.

They liked their unbroken plates much better.

Hubs and kiddo and I will be returning to Purple Glaze to re-make our own heirloom soon. I'm thinking this time we'll opt for a set of small, square plates - or maybe a set of bowls - or maybe I'll finally try a mosaic - or maybe we'll do it all, since we plan to make Purple Glaze a regular destination for our family outings. It's cheap, easy and fun. Plus, it gives us a chance to just sit around and be together.

If your kids are running here for baseball practice, there for ballet, and you're trying to fit dinner in between catch-up work on your laptop, walking the dog and scrubbing behind your ears, yell, "Wait a minute!" at the top of your lungs the next time your family is within ear shot and haul everyone down to Purple Glaze.

While you're making something together that you'll always treasure, even if you can't tell if it's a dog or a fish or a clown, and even if it looks more like it got dragged through the mud than masterfully painted, you'll get plenty of chances to take a much-needed, long, deep breath.

Until your youngest knocks over an entire shelf of ceramic Batmans. If/when that happens, be sure to take pictures. Send them to me so I can have a good laugh.

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