Meridian Industrial

TIPSY PAINT BRUSH & KILN POTTERY STUDIO

1/30/2020 | Keith O'Connor

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Now there is a new way to learn how to paint or take a lesson on the pottery wheel, paint ceramics or sculpt clay.

At the Tipsy Paint Brush and Kil’n It Pottery Studio, which opened its doors in Enfield last November, patrons are bringing in their beer or wine along with any other soft drinks and food to “add to their inspiration” as their website says.

The BYOB establishment is the brainchild of Wendy Markham, who owns and operates the business part of the studio along with instructing the Tipsy Paint Brush parties. Her lookalike daughter instructs the pottery under Kil’n It.

Before opening their doors late last year, Markham operated Tipsy Paint Brush on a traveling basis for six years, holding “paint and sip” parties at restaurants, halls, and homes.

“I was tired of lugging all of my supplies around to different locations, and I had always dreamed of having my own art studio for people to come to instead. The timing was right. My daughter, who had been working at another pottery studio for the past eight years, decided she wanted to go out on her own with me,” she said.

Her original idea to create Tipsy Paint Brush was born years ago when some friends asked her to attend a “paint and sip” party that was offered by one of the large paint party franchises.

“I fell in love with it. What a great concept to attend an instructed painting classes in a restaurant where you can sip on cocktails with friends. I was in need of a part-time job at the time to cover student loans for my two daughters and myself. So, I invested about $500 in art supplies to get started,” Markham said.

With her background in graphic design and 37 years of experience behind her, Markham created a website and came up with the name Tipsy Paint Brush. After contacting some local restaurants, she started scheduling parties and promoting them on Facebook.

“There was no transaction between myself and the restaurants. I brought business to them, and they provided a space to conduct my business. Before long, I had quite a following and customer base,” Markham said.

Of course, you couldn’t do all of this without first having an artistic flair.

After receiving an art scholarship from high school, Markham studied communication design and illustration at New England School of Art & Design in Boston, and at Parsons School of Design in New York City.

“After leaving college and starting my career in graphic design, I never had time to paint or draw. While my two daughters were growing up, I enjoyed becoming a Girl Scout leader for both of their troops. As their leader, I offered a lot of arts and crafts that their schools were not able to. This was especially fulfilling to me….to be able to bring out their inner artist when some of them believed they had no artistic talent. When I started instructing “paint and sip” parties years later, I experienced that same fulfillment after hearing customers say that they never thought they could create a painting so beautiful,” Markham said.

She explained that when her daughters, Melanie and Chelsea, were young, they would go to the local pottery studio to paint ceramics. When Melanie became old enough to look for her first job, the pottery studio hired her on a part time basis to help out. She learned a lot and quickly became an instructor on the pottery wheel, and eventually the manager of the studio.

“Melanie has studied under some very talented master potters, and will soon become a master potter herself,” Markham said.

Melanie has also studied early childhood education in college with a focus in art therapy. She specializes in working with students who have special needs or challenges.

“Our studio is very open and fosters a relaxing atmosphere where it’s not overstimulating for some people who have difficulties being overwhelmed in public situations. We are also completely handicap accessible,” Markham said.

When it came time to search for her own studio to work out of, Makham was well aware that you couldn’t have a “paint and sip” studio without the “sip” part, especially with the name Tipsy Paint Brush.

“I looked for a location for our studio in Massachusetts, but every town has different regulations for BYOBs. Connecticut has none throughout the state. So, Enfield is where we found our home. Customers are welcome to bring their own beer and wine to add to their inspiration,” Markham said, noting hard liquor is not allowed by state law.

No experience is necessary for any of the events held at the studio, whether pottery or painting. “We provide step by step instruction with hands on assistance,” Markham said.

“Our goal is for each person to be proud of what they have created and to find their inner artist. I can’t tell you how fulfilling it is to hear someone say, ‘I have never done this before. I can’t believe that I made this,’” Markham said.

And you don’t need to bring a thing with you, other than your food and libations.

“We supply everything you need to paint and create pottery, right down to the aprons,” Markham said.

She noted customers are welcome to bring their own food and beverages, including wine or beer. There are also plenty of nearby restaurants from which to order take-out and they have menus for their customers to order from if they want it delivered to the studio. Liquor stores are nearby, too, for beer and wine.

When coming up with ideas for classes and paint parties, Markham said she tries to keep in touch with what is trending at the moment.

“Gnomes, cardinals, owls, llamas, sea turtles, fairies, mermaids, unicorns…. I get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest, too. Then I create my own style into the paintings,” she said.

She noted her daughter is always creating new sculptures to offer as classes.

“The gnomes have really taken off. Now the owl planters are super popular. I’m always excited to see what she will come up with next. With Melanie’s experience, she knows what people are looking for. Most people associate the pottery wheel with the movie ‘Ghost,’ so we offer a date night special. But, each person would have their own pottery wheel. It’s great to see more men getting involved in art. They are more interested in getting their hands messy with clay versus painting on a canvas,” Markham said.

To learn more about the many paint parties you can book from painting on glass or canvas to kid’s palette parties, or for the many paint events scheduled each month, visit tipsypaintbrushparties.com or call 860-698-6161. If you are interested in pottery classes, parties and events, visit kilnitpotterystudio.com or call 860-698-6161.

The studio is located on 610 Enfield St., in Enfield, Conn., just two minutes off I-91.

Hours are Tuesday through Friday rom 4-9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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