MONTROSE – Anyone can be an artist, says Cherie McPherson, owner of Amazing Glaze on East Main Street in Montrose, where customers paint ceramic dishes or objects with their own designs
On most days at the store, visitors can be seen sitting at worktables where they use tools and supplies to create works of art on a huge variety of pieces, which include every kind of ceramic dish, like mugs, plates and bowls as well as dog and cat dishes, figurines, piggy banks, soap dispensers, margarita glasses, recipe boxes, business card holders, light switch covers, and even porch thermometers.
McPherson fell in love with Amazing Glaze, which still shares space with and was formerly owned by the Montrose Center for the Arts. She said she was sitting in a coffee shop one day when Amazing Glaze was closed, and walked over and peeked in the windows. When the shop opened, she became a regular customer, and then started working there part-time.
“It started as one day a week, then two days, then three and four and finally full-time,” she said. McPherson loved the place so much, she said, she bought the business in October of 2010.
As a niche business, McPherson said she’s amazed that business is better than ever, and sales have increased dramatically since she took over.
That may be because McPherson is passionate about getting people to be creative, and even if you can’t draw a stick, she has so many techniques and clever methods that anybody can create “a lasting work of art.”
“Anyone can create an amazing masterpiece, even if you are artistically challenged,” she said.
The shop has two kilns, and completed pieces fired and available for pickup in about a week, on Fridays.
It was McPherson’s passion that led her to buy the store. She had no prior experience owning a business, but said she learned a lot in the 12 years she worked at Scott’s Printing, and for her husband Trevor with McPherson Offroad, a company he owned for 13 years.
After leaving Scott’s Printing, McPherson stayed home with her stepkids for four years before the day she peeked in the Amazing Glaze windows and found her calling.
McPherson’s enthusiasm is evident with her bright smile and bubbly personality, which customers find contagious, and she prides herself on customer service.
In addition to regular business hours, the shop stays open late on Thursdays for Ladies Night from 6 to 9 p.m., when women can bring their own snacks, “sit back, relax and gossip while painting the night away,” she said, and it’s her busiest time of the week.
McPherson has also gotten members of the Montrose Pavilion Senior Center involved and gives them a discount card that they can use at any time. The store also hosts all kinds of parties, from kids’ birthdays to corporate events, where people of any age, any kind of group, can create art and have fun at the same time.
“We had the Connors Drilling Christmas party, and at one point had 150 people in here,” she said. “It’s not your typical corporate Christmas party.”
According its website amazingglazeart.com, the Amazing Glaze studio has idea and instruction books, stencils and stamps for inspiration. With more than 100 colors to choose from, McPherson said she can also show customers how to copy images from a computer and demonstrate fun and interesting techniques to create ceramic art that is not only beautiful, but dishwasher safe. And all the glazes are nontoxic and lead-free, and Amazing Glaze does the cleanup.
When a customer comes in for the first time, sometimes doing artwork for the first time, McPherson cajoles them into getting into a creative frame of mind.
“Go crazy! Think outside the box!” are her favorite expressions, and she encourages customers to use as many different colors or techniques as they like and take all the time they need, because “painting should always be relaxing and fun.”
Appointments aren’t necessary, and the store is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.
Customers are welcome to bring their own food and drinks when they come to paint, even beer or wine, because the main goal is to relax and have fun, McPherson says.
To schedule parties or events for seven or more, call 252-7225 or drop by at 219 East Main Street.
The busiest time of year is over the winter holiday season, and scheduled workshops with a particular theme will begin once school starts.
“The day after Thanksgiving, we have a Moms Go Shopping Day, when we let the kids come in and paint, a workshop themed toward gifts for parents.”
Last year’s workshops included the No. 1 Teacher Workshop, where kids paint a keepsake ornament for their teachers, and the Can’t Catch Me Workshop, when kids hear the story of the Gingerbread Man and “decorate and devour a gingerbread cookie.”
The schedule for this year’s holiday workshops and activities hasn’t been set yet, McPherson said, but will be available on the website as the holiday season draws nearer.
McPherson works hard at her relatively new business, and may not live up to the “relax” part of her mantra, “relax and have fun,” but she’s definitely doing the latter, especially when sales are booming.
“I’m very pleased with the way business is going,” she said.