When I saw the tiled counter-top at Impressions (105 1/2 W Hickory St. Denton), I immediately wanted to commission a set of stepping stones for my garden. Unfortunately, I don’t think they make them … yet. Have you stopped in to visit this tiny shop on the Square? Although I pass it several times a week while giving ghost tours of the square, I hadn’t visited it in the day time until yesterday. I’m glad I finally did! The ceramics inside are lovingly crafted by individuals living at the Denton State Supported Living Center. It’s a great place to get one-of-a-kind gifts, and it’s very affordable.
The walls are lined with a colorful assortment of interesting handmade gifts. They are adorned with unique textures, and are available in a rainbow of colors.
While I was there, I had the pleasure of talking to three of the artists who make their creations in the workshop behind the retail space. They were painting the glaze on the fired ceramics to prepare them for another firing in the kiln.
One young gentleman explained his technique of making the ceramic pieces. He uses the “coil” method. Sometimes he smooths out the coils, but other times he leaves the lines as “texture.” Occasionally he uses stamps on the clay to get his textures, but he proudly showed me a planter he had for sale on which he had created the texture “free-hand” style.
A young woman grinned with pleasure as her technique was explained to me by the staff. She has a mold for the bowl, and carefully rolls balls of clay. She lines those bits of clay very precisely over the mold, flattens them smooth, and then applies textures with the assortment of stamps available to her.
Another young woman explained that she makes her pots differently every time, I presume according to the wishes of her Muse at the moment of creation.
Did I buy anything? Darn tootin’ I did! I couldn’t resist a whimsical footed bowl that called my name. I wasn’t exactly sure what I would do with it, but I put it on the counter and it walked over and hopped under a votive candle. Now, I need two more bowls with feet because the other candles are jealous.
Although the individuals residing at the Denton State Supported Living Center have had a ceramics program (taught by staff and volunteers) for eight years, or so, they have only been selling the work downtown since December of 2011. A few times a week, the individuals in the program are driven into town for an outing to create their art in the workshop. It’s not only a chance to express their creativity … they get an opportunity to be involved in the Denton community and they earn cash from the goods that are sold!
Next time you are downtown take a moment to browse the wares at Impressions (it is on the south side of the Square) to support our local artists. You might find an item that calls your name (but don’t get the footed bowls that I want!). If you are lucky the artists from the DSSLC might be in the store, and you could get a chance to visit with them, too. Getting to talk to them was a highlight of my day, for sure.