▲ Fiore Hand Painting Ceramics Cafe and similar establishments allow budding artists to paint their own pottery for keepsakes or special gifts. At Fiore, the painted pieces are fired in a kiln on Saturdays and ready to be picked up by their proud creators anytime from the following Monday. Photos by Kim Gyong Ho
Sitting in a sunny cafe drinking coffee, listening to the soothing sounds of Korean music and relaxing is good for the mind and spirit. The setting is perfect for letting your imagination wander while creating a piece of art. A ceramics cafe allows you to do just that, providing everything you need to leisurely paint ceramic pottery with a personal design. Igniting your artistic fire and sipping a steaming drink may be the perfect way to spend a chilly winter afternoon.
Near the Las Vegas Hotel in Shin Jeju lies Fiore Hand Painting Ceramic Cafe. The bright, inviting cafe includes a regular coffee shop and a separate area exclusively for painting ceramics.
The experience begins with perusing the completed pieces of art for sale. These beautiful works by experienced ceramicists provide inspiration, some intimidation and possible templates for the patrons’ projects. The common themes of the works displayed are Jeju flowers and birds, but the finished work of patrons show a variety of designs and themes.
After browsing, you choose a piece of raw ceramic pottery to paint. These pieces range from the tiniest tile costing a mere 1,000 won to a sizable decorative piggy bank which costs 45,000 won. All manner of cups, mugs, bowls, plates, platters, tea pots, spoons and vases are available in their raw, off white state; blank canvases ready to be painted.
Once a piece is chosen, designs should be pencil-sketched on the ceramic until the patron is satisfied with the results. The pencil marks erase easily and the artist can change the design until they are satisfied.
When a design is settled upon, water and a variety of colored glazes are presented with two sizes of brushes, and more brushes available upon request. The colors provided seem unremarkable at first. The red looks like a muted orange and the yellow a little sickly, but the glaze changes in the firing to reveal brilliant colors.
The cafe is open every day for painting from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. For those who want some guidance, classes are taught (in Korean) by shop owner Jang Ho Yeon. Classes are available Mondays and Fridays from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays are open practice days.
In a back room sit all the cups and plates painted that week, waiting for the finishing touch. The large industrial kiln is fired once a week on Saturday to finish all of the weeks’ creations. Painters can pick their pieces up anytime from the following Monday, anytime after 3 p.m..
Those who really love painting ceramics can become members of the studio. Membership costs 140,000 won, paid over two months. The benefits include free admission to all classes and a 50 percent or greater discount on ceramic pieces to paint.
For information call 064-742-4176. Fiore is certainly not the only ceramics painting studio in Jeju city. The Handmade Ceramic Studio offers similar services. It is located on the small street parallel to the main road directly up the hill from the Shin Jeju Post Office. It also sells homemade soaps and perfume.
Ceramic painting can be a fulfilling experience for anyone, allowing overworked minds to relax in a creative and artistic mind space, and resulting in a one-of-a-kind work of art for a gift or keepsake.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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