Two weeks ago, Campus Activities Board and ROC Tickets sponsored a trip to Bisque and Brush, a ceramics painting studio at 713 Park Ave. When I heard the words “ceramics” and “painting,” I immediately had a flashback to the birthday parties I attended years ago where kids filled the benches of long plastic-covered tables, wrapped in smocks, painting the most eclectic collection of ceramics pieces. Typically, the girls had the flowers and the unicorns; the boys had the racecars and the baseball mitts. However, this time, I imagined that a number of years later the experience would be different, at least to a certain extent.

While riding the bus with the 25 other students attending the event, one could feel a sense of excitement with the chatter flooding the rows from front to back. When we arrived and started filing out, I was surprised to see that the studio was built in an old two-family house. Oddly, the business that occupied the other half of the building was a tattoo parlor. So, ironically enough, in this one building you could both relive a little piece of your innocence from childhood and then go next door and end it in the form of a flower or flaming skull being branded somewhere on your body. Needless to say, I found it humorous.

When we all filed in, it was a lot less commercial than the ceramics painting studios I recalled from my past- this design certainly reflected what the house might have looked like on the inside years ago. Bisque and Brush is owned by a couple who run the studio and entertain crowds for events such as birthdays and elementary and secondary school classes up through college and beyond, as well as individuals who just need a break from the hustle and bustle world in which we live. The $5 tickets that we purchased from the Common Market included transportation to and from the studio as well as a ceramics piece that usually costs up to $15. A number of students chose pieces that were a few dollars more and just had to pay the difference.

Glancing up at all the pieces on the wall, it really felt as if I had taken a step back in time. Although many of the ceramic choices, such as teapots and plates, definitely appealed to a more practical audience, there was the occasional bunny rabbit or fire-breathing dragon that gave me a twinge of nostalgia. Once everyone picked their pieces, we got comfortable around the tables and the fun began.

As college students, you could see that we took a more planned approach toward our pieces. The owners gave us access to a number of painting magazines, sponges and jars upon jars of paintbrushes of all shapes and sizes. There were also at least 80 different colors of paint to choose from and, while the difference in the yellow shades numbered 121 and 122 might seem slight to a kid, the results after the piece was kilned would be readily apparent to somebody looking with a more critical eye.

Walking around the studio, there were basically one of two types of groups at each given table; some tables were chatting up a storm, dividing their attention between their pieces and the latest on-campus drama. Other tables, like mine, were more focused on their painting and they spoke a few words every now and then. It was funny to see the contrast and the clear representation of how different people work better under different conditions, but once I sat down with my piece, I just dove in headfirst and came up for the occasional breath of air.

All in all, everyone seemed to have a great time. We left our pieces at the studio to be kilned and received them a week later. The city of Rochester and the surrounding areas are known for their hidden treasures from restaurants to stores and other locations where people can get together, and Bisque and Brush is definitely one of them.

So if you feel like getting off campus for a few hours, stop by and the owners will be more than happy to offer you the serenity of ceramic painting in a calm and welcoming atmosphere.

Siegel is a member of the class of 2010.

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