Paint your own pottery

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The Pottery Burn, a paint-it-yourself pottery studio in the Village Square Mall, is switching ownership for a third time.

"I'm very excited to be taking it on. It's very hands-on and creative, so I think it will be an excellent fit for me," said new owner Amanda Korhonen.

The studio was opened in its former Hermantown location by Coralee Mayry of Duluth in 2007. It was then purchased by Stacie Magnuson about a year and a half ago. Magnuson moved the store from Hermantown to its new location, 2340 Mountain Shadow Drive, in January 2015. Magnuson met Korhonen when she went to Korhonen's husband's American Family agency to get insurance for the store in 2013.

"I was super-jealous that she had bought the business because I didn't know it was for sale. So when she had to sell it, she came to us," Korhonen said.

Magnuson's husband recently received an out-of-state promotion which required the couple to move. When Magnuson asked if Korhonen was interested, she jumped at the opportunity.

"There were a few things to learn. I hadn't operated a kiln. For the last month or so Stacie showed me how to work the cash register, dip the pieces in the clear glazes, how she ran a birthday party," Korhonen said.

The studio is a paint-your-own pottery shop. Customers can pick out a bisque piece such as a piggy bank, plate, coffee mug, bowl or small statue. Then they paint the piece on-site using any of the 35 paint colors and multiple different brush types.

Customers then leave the piece there for the paint to dry. Once dried, Korhonen will dip the piece in a clear glaze and fire in the kiln.

"The firing process takes about a full 24 hours before it brings up the temperature. It sets and then it cools down. People typically pick up their pieces a few days later," Korhonen said.

The benefit of taking over a studio already in business is that it already comes with some loyal customers. On Monday, two customers, 12-year-old Hailey Chandler and her grandmother, Judi Chandler, were in the studio working on a gift for Hailey's friend.

"It's for her birthday," Hailey said.

Judi Chandler has been taking Hailey to Pottery Burn since she was 7 or 8 years old. Together they've decorated wedding plates, mugs, trivets for gifts to friends and family members.

"It's a great family thing. And she's getting older so I don't get her as much. So this gives us something fun to do together," Chandler said.

A few years ago, Hailey decorated a plate with "Phineas and Ferb" characters for her Father's Day gift.

"I used to watch that show and my dad liked it too. so I made him a plate with all the characters. Grandma drew the characters and I painted them. Dad thought it was funny," Hailey said.

Prices at the Pottery Burn range from about $4 to $65. Customers also pay a $8-per-person studio fee to complete their pieces.

Korhonen is also looking to expand the business by doing more on-site parties. The studio has a separate party room to host parties. But Korhonen would like to take the projects to places like assisted living centers and daycares.

"I think it'd be fun to do right before Christmas or Mother's Day," Korhonen said.