On a Thursday night, nine of us gathered upstairs at Four Daughter’s Pub in Medford to “Paint and Sip” some fun.
It was not really painting, and I was gulping, more than sipping my Irish Stout, but it turned out to be a truly good time for a couple of hours.
Benjamin Wood, who owns Paint and Sip Pottery, offers 2-3 weekly events in the area. If you participate in one of these two-hour sessions, you will use an ancient Italian technique called “Sgraffito” to etch the surface of a pre-made pottery mug.
The concept for the business all started in Ben’s own backyard in 2017. Ben is a creative spirit who grew up in an artistic family. “My first memories are moving paint across the paper.” He has traveled the world, been to Europe and lived on the beach for a while, but he eventually came home to Ashland. And when he did, he taught art and loved it, but was not completely satisfied. His wife ultimately convinced him to “Be an artist.” So, a studio in the backyard was built and the gift of a potter’s wheel turned things around for him. “I’ve been thinking and breathing art for a lifetime.”
His business really started to take off a few months ago. From his backyard inaugural event to the Common Block Brewery next. If that brewery event did not work out, I might not have continued with the idea,” Ben explains. Alas, the get-together was a hit with the crowd and has grown to multiple events weekly at places like Liquid Assets in Ashland or Ton Ton’s in Talent.
At the start of our Paint and Sip class, Ben explained he does not like to provide a step-by-step approach but rather encourages individuality.
“No one can do it the way you do.” In fact, he says that no matter how people approach the event, they will get: “A bad-ass microwaveable, dishwasher-safe piece of pottery that they can claim as their own.”
We all sat amongst pottery tools, paint brushes (yes you can also paint on your mug), and drinks tooling away at our masterpieces; some with lofty goals of carving lion heads and others carving words or attempting to recreate famous artistic places. I went the more primitive route, scratching spirals and petroglyphs onto a dusty black surface that was surprisingly meditative to do so. As we worked on our projects, Ben offered techniques
and suggestions for making each one a real prize.
When the pottery mugs were finished, we were told that in two to three weeks, we could come back to Four Daughter’s and claim our beautifully fired mugs. My friend and I went over to peek at what had been left from previous classes at the end of the bar. They had a bright-blue shiny glaze on the inside and looked sturdy and capable of holding coffee or another beverage.
For $40, you can enjoy the class and bring extra money for additional drinks because well, you know… for the sipping part.
I could see people loving this for their birthday, girl’s night out, team building, or bachelorette party. I am looking forward to getting my new favorite mug!
Check out Ben’s upcoming events at paintandsippottery.com or contact him to host your own! Call 541-601-0219.