The Harbinger Online

Painting Memories: Going Back to Ceramic Cafe


The last time I was at Ceramic Café, I was wearing Crocs and Soffe shorts with my messy hair tied back in a metallic scrunchie. Back then, I thought Ceramic Café was super lame. However, the second I walked through the dusty glass door as a sophomore in high school, I felt a familiar wave of excitement wash over me. The tall wooden bookcases filled with wobbly stacks of mugs and plates reminded me of how much I love Ceramic Café.

Of the two hours that my sister and I were there, a total of three parties went on. The first was a little kid’s birthday party, then a bachelorette party, followed by a baby shower. The presence of the bachelorette party made me feel much less out of place because there were at least some adults in the room. If they hadn’t been there, the whole room would have been swarming with toddlers. It just goes to show that the Ceramic Café is a great source of entertainment for people of all ages, whether you’re making a heartfelt gift for a grandparent, or just painting for fun.

When I was little, my mom would take my sister and I to paint at least once a year, and she has a skyscraper-high stack of plates to show for it. This time, my sister and I went without my mom to make her a surprise Christmas present.

Christmas tree-shaped platters and ornaments the size of my head were already lining the shelves when I arrived. While the chubby Santa-shaped mug tempted me, I chose to paint a simple round plate to add to my mom’s massive collection.

At the back of the room is an entire wall covered in colored tiles with names like “orchid”, “peacock” and “dusty rose” written on them in big, bubbly letters. The wall wasn’t as tall as I remember it being, probably because last time I was here, I was a solid eight inches shorter.

I sat down across from my sister to start painting. My mind was almost as blank as my plate; I literally had zero ideas of what to paint. Looking for inspiration, I made my way over to the brightly colored wall of stamps. I cringed, remembering the barf colored plate my sister had previously made that had about ten different fruits stamped on it. So, I avoided the stamp wall at all costs.

Being my typical clumsy self, I jerked while painting a flower petal on my plate. Without thinking, I dropped the f-bomb. My sister looked at me like I had just said we should put another Bush in office. And then I remembered, there were tables on every side of me filled with children. The petal came out looking like a turnip.

I looked at my finished plate, with every flower petal being a different size, paint smudged everywhere, and the purple background splotchy. It couldn’t compare to my sister’s blue mug, with perfectly painted letters and evenly sized polka dots. That’s always how it ends up: she takes on a smaller task and her final product ends up cleaner and more cohesive. I take on a difficult task and it ends up looking disheveled.

The experience put both me and my sister in such a good mood that we took a break from our constant fighting and got Chipotle together afterwards. We even blasted Christmas music the whole drive home. Even though the concept of Ceramic Café seems kind of childish, my experience is proof that any age can have a fun experience.

Ceramic Café is the kind of place that will always be a special place to visit. My mom loved hearing about our experience, so my sister and I will definitely be bringing back this tradition every Mother’s Day. I can’t ever imagine leaving without being oddly satisfied with an awfully painted plate for the pure fact that it brings back such great memories of spending time with my mom and my sister.

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